Don't Kill The Mellinger

Chiefs 31, Raiders 13: Insta-reaction!

The Chiefs likely control their playoff chances – I haven't gone through all the tiebreakers – and this is a heck of a way to end a three-game losing streak.

The Chiefs probably can't have a water-treading half like they had in the first half in either of their next two games, but whatever, they won a game they had to win and they won it by a bunch.

This is actually a sort of dream for Andy Reid and his assistants, I'd think. They won the game, but there were enough mistakes – drops, penalties, missed plays – that the coaches will have plenty to hold the players' attention this week.

You see, that's the Raiders I thought we'd see in Oakland. They have some pieces – Khalil Mack is a star, Derek Carr could develop, etc. – but man that's a bad team and worse organization. I'm not sure I've ever seen an easier fumble recovery than when Carr botched the snap and basically laid the ball down in front of Frank Zombo.

You could do this with most any team in any season, but watching this just makes it more inexplicable that the Chiefs lost to these guys. Playoff chances would be much different with that. Aggravating.

The offensive line is bad. I know this isn't news, but I do think we forget about it sometimes when we complain about Andy Reid giving up on the run too much or too soon. There's just no push at the line of scrimmage. Well, that's not true. The push is backward. That's part of why they've had a lot of success with misdirection runs, and why a lot of the runs are on the perimeter with jet sweeps to De'Anthony Thomas and such.

It's a heck of a thing when you have to constantly scheme around crap receivers and worse offensive linemen, is what I'm saying.

Jaye Howard is having a really good run at it, especially the last few weeks. He's gonna kick himself this week for not holding onto that interception, though.

Jamaal Charles looked to be going through the concussion protocol. Returned, but perhaps something to keep an eye on. That guy takes a lot of punishment.

Overall defensively, it's tough to divide how much of giving up just six points is the Chiefs playing well and how much is the Raiders being a rotten team. The Raiders had trouble with the pass rush, something they've actually been pretty good at this year. Defensive backs made some nice plays, but man, the Raiders stink.

De'Anthony Thomas' touchdown on the punt return was beautifully set up. He made, maybe, one move to set up a block and then basically was on a people-mover down the left sideline. Absolutely terrific blocking. The summersault in the end zone was a nice touch, too. Reggie Bush move.

Coming off his worst game of the season, Alex Smith had another game that's probably a bit of an Ink Blot test. For people dedicated to hating on him, there was one drive in the second quarter, in particular, he didn't see Travis Kelce break open on the left side of the field – in fairness, it looked like the play was designed to go right the whole way – and then just bad a crap pass to De'Anthony Thomas, who was wide open down the left sideline on a wheel route. Hit either of those passes, and the Chiefs would've had a touchdown. Instead, Cairo Santos missed a 44-yard field goal.

For the rest of us, we saw enough good, in particular decision making and a great throw to Dwayne Bowe on an out route in the third quarter, among others. The deep ball to Wilson could've been better thrown, there's always good and bad that you can pick out. To borrow the cliché, I'll have to look at the tape, but Smith had a nice bounceback game against a dog team.

One of the emerging subplots of following the Chiefs this season is a divide between blaming Smith or the receivers for the offense not being better. The truth is that both need to better. It's easier to notice the quarterback's shortcomings, always, but it's also true that there were three dropped passes on the drive late in the second quarter that ended with a holding penalty and a punt.

The Chiefs did throw deep more than perhaps any game this season. Albert Wilson broke wide open on a post route and a 48-yard gain, the second week in a row that the Chiefs had their longest pass of the season. They also had a big play to Bowe, 31 yards, open over the middle. Missed on a couple more that could've been big plays.

Travis Kelce has a lot of strengths, particularly in route running and making plays after the catch. He broke somewhere between two and four tackles on that touchdown catch in the third quarter. But there are still some rough edges to smooth in what is basically his rookie year. He had another false start in the second quarter, his third penalty in the last two weeks, and then the fumble in the third quarter. In the loss to Arizona, of course, he had a drop on a ball that hit him in the belly button and the could've-maybe-been fumble in the fourth quarter.

Speaking of Kelce, the twitter consensus seemed to be that he was celebrating that touchdown before he scored, and I'm looking forward to seeing it again, but watching live and the replays it looked to me that he was holding the ball out to break the plane. Maybe that's careless, maybe he has to protect the ball that close to the goal line, but I didn't see that as premature celebration.

Hoo boy, the Raiders are awful. How did the Chiefs lose to these guys three weeks ago? I'd like to see the 2014 Raiders play the 2012 Chiefs.

Actually, I would hate to watch that game. But I'd be curious enough to check the score.

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