OAKLAND – An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 24-20 loss to Oakland and a fast-forward look ahead:
A is for anemic, as in the Chiefs’ offense performance in the first half, when it managed just 120 yards and three points. Yes, it was raining for much of the half, but Oakland romped for two touchdowns in the same span, and the Chiefs couldn’t overcome the combination of their slow start and the Raiders’ brisk one.
B is for big picture: The Chiefs weren’t at their best Thursday, and it cost them. But no team plays its best every game, and this doesn’t have to haunt them. They had just won seven of eight, after all, and they’re 7-4 with a dazzling 41-14 win over New England (8-2) and a gritty 24-20 victory over defending Super Bowl champion Seattle. This is a good football team. How consistently good remains to be seen.
C is for Charles, Jamaal, the force of nature who early in the fourth quarter tied the game 17-17 with a 30-yard touchdown catch-and-run to complete a comeback from a 17-3 deficit. With his 122 total yards (80 rushing, 42 receiving), Charles now has 10,006 combined career yards, behind only Dante Hall (12,356) and Tony Gonzalez (10,963) in franchise history.
D is for Denver, at 7-3 a half-game ahead of the Chiefs in the AFC West entering its game against Miami on Sunday … its final game before a showdown Nov. 30 at Arrowhead Stadium.
E is for excuses, none made by the handful of Chiefs we interviewed after the game. Oakland was the better team on Thursday night, linebacker Tamba Hali said, and deserved to win. But he did mention that he looks forward to the rematch Dec. 14 at Arrowhead.
F is for fun while it lasted – the Chiefs’ 10-game run of allowing no rushing touchdowns. The Raiders’ Latavius Murray snapped that in style with two TD runs in the first 17:32, including one of 90 yards. The Chiefs still can tie the NFL record of just two allowed in a season, held by three teams, the last of which was the 1971 Minnesota Vikings.
G is for Gatling gun, or something like a portable version of one, that a random Raiders fan was walking around with among the salty crowd. Apparently, it wasn’t real, but just how did that chat go with security?
H is for holding your breath every time De’Anthony Thomas returns a kick … not just in anticipation of breaking one but in equal concern he’ll misplay it. Against the Raiders, Thomas had a punt return for minus 12 yards that hemmed the Chiefs in at their own 5. But he later busted a 48-yard kickoff return from nine yards deep in the end zone to set up a shot at a potential game-winning final drive.
I is for inserted to return punts in place of Thomas, Frankie Hammond Jr., who ran back two for a total of 48 yards.
J is for juice, as in energy, which the Raiders clearly had more of than the Chiefs from the start.
K is for kicker Cairo Santos, who made his 12th and 13th straight fields goals, including a go-ahead 25-yarder with 9:03 left.
L is for lone sack of the game by the Chiefs, for two yards, by Justin Houston, his NFL-leading 13th of the season. The Raiders dumped Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith twice, including for seven yards on third and six on their final drive.
M is for Mauga, Josh, the Chiefs’ linebacker who led the team with 10 tackles.
N is for no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL, particularly for the Chiefs, who now are 1-4 against teams that were 0-10 or worse.
O is for Oakland, which got away with reverting to 0-10 form on the Chiefs’ last drive of the game. On a fourth and three incompletion, the Raiders committed three different penalties to keep the drive alive. After the sack of Smith, the Raiders were so busy celebrating in the Chiefs backfield that Smith was about to run the next play before Oakland was forced to call a timeout with 28 seconds left.
P is for punter Dustin Colquitt, whose 69-yard punt was his longest since he smacked one 71 yards here two years ago.
Q is for quarterback Alex Smith, who completed just eight of his first 17 passes and had thrown for only 114 yards through three quarters before throwing for 120 in the fourth.
R is for return yards by the Chiefs, 113, on three kickoff returns, including Thomas’ 48-yarder and two for 65 yards by Knile Davis.
S is for study in contrast: Against Seattle on Sunday, the Chiefs opened the game with a 15-play, 86-yard touchdown drive that consumed 9:01. Then they went 80 yards on four plays. On Thursday, they went three and out on their first two drives, didn’t cross midfield (and stay on that side) until their fifth drive and didn’t score a touchdown until more than 43 minutes had elapsed.
T is for tight ends Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano, who combined for 97 yards on five catches, including Fasano’s 19-yard TD.
U is for unknown, at least previously: Oakland’s Latavius Murray entered the game with 54 career rushing yards. He went for 112 on four carries in the first half before being knocked out of the game with a concussion.
V is for victory for the Chiefs, which despite the no-show first half likely would have happened if they had stopped quarterback Derek Carr’s quarterback sneak on fourth and one at the Kansas City 43 with 5:05 left.
W is for wide receivers for the Chiefs, who somehow still have no touchdown receptions this season.
X is for X-factor: third-down conversions. The Chiefs made good on just two of 14 opportunities (14 percent); the Raiders turned eight of 16 into first downs.
Y is for yards on the ground by Oakland, 179 on 30 carries.
Z is for Zombo, Frank, who recovered a muffed punt at the Oakland 11-yard line to set up Santos’ first field goal and Kansas City’s only first-half points.
To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com