KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Raiders quest for .500 fell just a game short. They secured a losing record with Sunday’s 23-17 failing against the Kansas City Chiefs in the season finale at Arrowhead Stadium.
They finished the season with a whimper, continuing a late-season offensive swoon with unsteady defense to help the Chiefs win their 10th straight.
The run game never got rolling and protection was spotty at best in a dismal showing to close out the year. The Raiders cut the lead to a single score with two minutes left, but couldn’t seal the deal.
Kansas City was the better team in most every phase until the end, and will move on to the postseason. The Raiders’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed by the Chiefs back in Week 13, but the Raiders grinded out a pair of wins after being formally eliminated the following week.
The Raiders scored their first offensive touchdown with roughly two minutes remaining courtesy of a 31-yard pass from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree, but couldn’t complete a comeback drive to take their first lead. The game ended when Mychal Rivera couldn’t get out of bounds and the team didn’t have a timeout remaining.
They were largely outclassed here despite a late-game comeback attempt, making Kansas City the only AFC West team the Raiders couldn’t beat.
The Raiders’ troubles started early. They didn’t play particularly well in the first half, but found themselves down just 14-10 after two quarters. That was due to David Amerson’s 24-yard interception return for a touchdown, a play completed by baiting Alex Smith into an ill-advised pass, jumping the route and sprinting for the end zone.
He was the only Raider to hit pay dirt in the first half. The offensive continued its late-season swoon, with just a field goal to show for first-half efforts.
The Raiders went down 14-0 in the first quarter thanks to a pair of lengthy drives. Jeremy Maclin opened the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown and Spencer Ware doubled the total with a 3-yard touchdown run that capped a 12-play, 87-yard drive.
Kansas City made a big special teams play that turned the tide early in the third quarter. D.J. Alexander came free and blocked Marquette King’s punt deep in Raiders territory, knocking it out the back of the end zone for a safety.
Kansas City capitalized on the free kick, using four plays to complete a touchdown drive punctuated with a leaping 15-yard touchdown catch from Demetrius Harris.
The Raiders scored their first offensive touchdown with roughly two minutes remaining courtesy of a 31-yard pass from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree.
No sacks for Mack: Khalil Mack entered Sunday’s NFL action as the league leader with 15 sacks, but J.J. Watt took that spot with three sacks in the morning game. Mack didn’t have a sack against Kansas City, leaving him with 15. That’s good enough for second place, just one behind the franchise record.
Three picks in a row: Quarterbacks Alex Smith and Derek Carr threw interceptions on three consecutive pass attempts in the second quarter. TJ Carrie got Smith, the Carr underthrew Amari Cooper in the end zone and ended up finding Ron Parker. Then David Amerson ended the run with a pick six, jumping a route and returning the interception 24 yards for a touchdown.
Carr gets hand examined: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr appeared to have injured his hand while getting sacked in the fourth quarter, but he didn’t miss any time. Trainers looked at his hands and arms after the sack and backup Matt McGloin started warming up, but Derek entered on the next drive and looked fine.
Thorpe out again: The Raiders have Neiko Thorpe healthy for the first time in a few weeks, but DJ Hayden remained the No. 3 cornerback. He was also questionable with an ankle injury, but played through it and completed the first complete season of his career
Raiders inactives: S Nate Allen, RB Roy Helu, CB Neiko Thorpe, LB John Lotuleilei, OL Matt McCants, WR Rod Streater, TE Gabe Holmes
What's next: The Raiders are headed for the offseason. There’s nobody left to play, with the playoffs long out of the picture and the AFC West rival Broncos and Chiefs both headed to the postseason.