OAKLAND – The Raiders played consecutive games without running back Latavius Murray. The primary option in a three-man rotation has been out with turf toe, and hasn’t practiced since playing Baltimore in Week 4.
They certainly could’ve used him on a rain-soaked Sunday against Kansas City, where the run game never got going in a 26-10 loss to the Chiefs.
They gained 65 yards on 17 carries, three of which were quarterback scrambles. The Raiders averaged 3.8 yards per carry, and haven’t cracked four yards per rush with Murray out.
That’s a particular issue in inclement weather, where passing is harder. A steady run game can be a quarterback’s best friend in bad weather.
“That always helps,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “The run game will open everything up. I don’t know if was the field, us as players or what it was. But anytime you can have that in the rain, sleet or snow, it’s always going to help.”
Kansas City certainly benefitted from ground game that churned out 183 yards on 40 carries (4.6 ypc).
It wasn’t there for the Silver and Black and proved harder to sustain with the Raiders playing catch-up in the second half.
Murray can be a physical runner, and his size and style might’ve helped the Raiders in this one. They’re received solid contributions from rookie Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington – bruiser Jamize Olawale didn’t have a carry in this one – but a Pro Bowl back may have been an asset on a sloppy field.
“I think (Richard and Washington) are doing a fantastic job,” Carr said. “If you lose a starter, it’s always going to be hard on you. It’s going to be hard because ‘Tay is such a good player, Pro-Bowl running back. He’s had over 1,000 yards over this last year, been in some tough games, ran the ball really hard for us. You can never just replace people and just think ’yes we’ve got it.’
“Then again, that has nothing to do with the (rookie) running backs. I think they do a great job. I thought they ran really hard all day. I thought they did a great job.”
Alex Smith, Raider killer: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has owned the Raiders during his career, and earned another pelt on Sunday improved his record to 8-1 against the Silver and Black.
He was efficient and mistake-free in this one, completing 19-of-22 passes for 224 yards and a 109.1 passer rating. He benefitted from a stout run game and pushed his team on to a key AFC West victory.
“I talked about Alex leading up to the game; he’s a good football player, a little underrated,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “If he’s got to rely on throwing the ball, it’s really not his strong suit, but if you allow them to run the ball, do some of their gimmicky things, then he comes to life. That’s what they were able to do today.”
Oakland’s own hopes Raiders stay: Proud Oakland native and current Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters had another banner day against the Raiders, with two tackles, his fifth interception this season and a pass defensed.
Afterward he touched on the Raiders stadium issue, saying he said he hopes they don’t leave for Las Vegas and stay in his hometown.
“They better not go anywhere,” Peters said. “They better not go anywhere. But we’ll see.”
Carr’s ill-advised INT: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn’t have his best day in the Chiefs loss, completing 22-of-34 passes for 225 yards, a touchdown and one costly interception.
Receiver Michael Crabtree beat Peters on a double move, and Carr heaved a wet football towards him. He threw off his back foot and didn’t get enough on it, leaving an easy interception for Peters that ultimately resulted in a Chiefs touchdown.
It was wet, first of all, and Crabtree beat me on a double move, but I knew that (Carr) wouldn’t be able to throw the ball that far,” Peters said. “I knew the ball was going to hang. So as soon as he got passed me, I just looked up. I trusted my instincts. And I knew that I had somebody over the top.”
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio thought the throw was ill-advised.
“It was probably a bad decision,” he said. “Based on the circumstances of the rain and the sloppiness there, to try to get that much out of his arm, I think he probably overestimated his ability to just flip it down there with it being wet and sloppy there early in the game.”
This ‘n that: The Raiders had two turnovers, the first time this season they’ve given possession away multiple times in the same game. … Carr threw a touchdown pass to Andre Holmes early on, marking the 12th straight game he’s thrown a TD. That’s the third longest active streak in the NFL. …Khalil Mack notched his second sack this season, and had seven total tackles. …Chiefs 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe caught a lateral from Alex Smith and took it a yard into the end zone. Del Rio said the Raiders were ready for that play, just “maybe not that much beef.”