Raiders offense struggles against stout Chiefs defense

Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his offense faced their toughest test of season as they went into hostile Arrowhead Stadium to take on the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. After giving up a touchdown, the Chiefs defense tightened and didn’t allow any more scores en route to a Raiders 24-7 loss.

Nothing came easy for Pryor from the beginning, but to make things worse, the young quarterback had an exceptionally banged-up offensive line and a Chiefs crowd that set the Guinness Book of World Record for loudest decibel record in an open-air stadium. The record was announced late in the fourth quarter as Pryor’s final drive ticked off the final seconds of the game.

The crowd proved to be a big factor as Pryor had difficulty getting the play calls out in time and had three delay-of-game penalties. the offensive line also struggled with false start penalties. The Raiders reverted to old habits, finishing with 11 penalties for 68 yards.

The Raiders offensive line has been banged up all season but the injury list found a way to continue to grow on Sunday. By the end of the game, the Raiders only had starting left tackle Khalif Barnes playing the position he started the game at.

Matt McCants was inserted for starting right tackle Tony Pashos, who has been battling a nagging groin injury. Backup center Andre Gurode, who was in for the injured Stefen Wisniewski, left the game in the first half and did not return. The injury forced starting left guard Mike Brisiel to kick inside to center, putting Lamar Mady at left tackle.

The Raiders make-shift offensive line did not prove capable of stopping Tamba Hali and the Chiefs strong pass rush. Smelling weakness along the offensive line, the Chiefs’ defense was able to get to Pryor 10 times for sacks. Hali led the defense with 3.5 sacks on Pryor.

Pryor’s lack of time caused him to force plays which resulted in him throwing three interceptions, including one pick-six, after not having thrown any since the two he threw in week one against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Raiders first-year starting quarterback was able to get the Raiders on the scoreboard first when he broke a 0-0 tie in the second quarter by finding wide receiver Denarius Moore on a slant pattern, turning on his speed to beat the defenders and get into the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown reception. Moore beat rookie Marcus Cooper on the play, who’s name was called often during the game.

But that would be the only score for the Raiders.

The Raiders defense played another stellar game, giving up only two touchdowns on just 216 yards of total offense for Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs. After holding the Chargers scoreless in the first half last week, it took until there was just 1:06 remaining in the first half for the Raiders defense to give up a score.

The Chiefs first score was set up by a pass interference penalty on rookie corner D.J. Hayden in which he failed to look back for the ball in coverage on a crucial 3rd and 10. Chiefs running back would score on the next play on a halfback draw from the seven-yard line, tying the game 7-7. Overall, the Raiders defense did a good job containing the speedy Charles as he finished with 22 carries for 70 yards but both of the Chiefs’ offensive touchdowns.

Hayden came back later in the beginning of the third quarter with what looked to be a big play in the game as he came up to hit Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery hard and force a fumble in the red zone, with veteran safety Charles Woodson recovering the ball for the Raiders.

The Chiefs second offensive touchdown occurred after an interception from Pryor forced a short field for the defense. Pryor threw up a prayer off of his back foot that was intercepted by Chiefs Quinton Demps, giving the ball to Smith and the offense on the Raiders 24-yard line. It was Pryor’s first interception in 91 pass attempts.

With the short field, Smith was able to orchestrate a five-play drive that culminated in Charles’ second touchdown run of the game, giving the Chiefs a lead they would not relinquish.

As bad as the offense played, the team still had a chance to tie the score late in the game. But the offense once again couldn’t get anything going as Pryor looked for Moore on the same slant but this time the rookie Cooper jumped the route and came away with the interception, Pryor’s second of the day. The turnover gave the ball to the Chiefs on the Raiders 29-yard line.

Though the Raiders defense was able to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone, the Chiefs still kicked a field goal to make it a two-score game at 17-7 with just over two minutes remaining.

With little time and needing a quick score, Pryor looked for tight end Mychal Rivera but was intercepted by safety Husain Abdullah who brought it back 44 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.

Down 24-7 with just 1:35 remaining in the game, Pryor tried one last time to get something going. But in what was symbolic of the afternoon’s events, the drive ended with Pryor being sacked as time ran out to get put the Raiders at 2-4 on the season and keep the Chiefs undefeated at 6-0.

With a struggling offensive line, running back Darren McFadden was once again unable to get anything going, even against a rather porous rush defense. McFadden rushed for 52 yards on 16 carries against a Chiefs defense that ranked 30th against the rush coming into Sunday.

Luckily the Raiders are heading into their bye week so hopefully they will be able to get some of their injured offensive lineman back on the field.

The Raiders take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at home when they return from their bye week on Oct. 27.


Author: Chris McClain

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