OAKLAND – The Raiders entered Sunday’s game alone atop the AFC West.
They had pole position with four wins in five tries and Denver’s loss to San Diego on Thursday night.
They weren’t on top for long. The Kansas City Chiefs took care of that.
Chiefs dominated the biggest game in Oakland since 2011, beating the Raiders 26-10 at a waterlogged Oakland Coliseum and muddied waters in the AFC West.
The Raiders and Broncos are locked at 4-2, with the Chiefs (3-2) even in the loss column. San Diego sits at 2-4.
This loss isn’t the end of the world. It certainly counts as a missed opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.
It also showed the Raiders can’t survive without an offense speeding at maximum warp.
The Raiders defense struggled yet again. They allowed 408 total yards, including 185 on the ground. Those totals aren’t unusual, though they weren’t accompanied by takeaways essential to winning early on.
The offense struggled without Latavius Murray and an on-target Derek Carr. The Raiders quarterback occasionally and uncharacteristically struggled with accuracy in a rain-soaked environment, which slowed an attack that got shut out in the second half.
Carr finished 22-of-34 passing for 226 yards, one touchdown and a lost fumble. The run game wasn’t great, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. Amari Cooper was the Raiders best player on Sunday, with 10 catches for 129 yards.
A terrible finish belied a hot start.
Jalen Richard started the game with a 50-yard kickoff return. Carr and Cooper marched right downfield. Andre Holmes scored shortly after.
It was mostly downhill from there.
The Chiefs were virtually unstoppable on offense, with a dynamic run game and a short-passing attack that worked well. Their defense made just enough stops early on and grated on the Raiders attack long enough to slow things down when the Silver and Black needed to score in a hurry.
The Raiders were down only two scores entering the fourth quarter, though there was little to suggest a comeback was imminent.
It never materialized, tightening up this division and making Chiefs head coach Andy Reid 16-2 coming off a bye.
Slippin’ and a slidin’: The first half was played with a heavy dose of rain that saturated the playing surface and had an impact on the game. Raiders players especially were slipping on the turf, and it was likely a factor in missed field goals for both sides and a missed extra point by Kansas City.
Quarterback Derek Carr threw an uncharacteristically bad interception in the first half that led to a Kansas City touchdown.
Oakland Coliseum staff removed the tarp just before game time but the middle of the field, which was exposed longer to facilitate pre-game warmups, was particularly messy.
Sitting it out: The Raiders got tight end Clive Walford back after a week out with a knee injury. They preferred to keep inside linebacker Malcolm Smith on ice another week, but he was active and entered the game in the second quarter.
The Raiders were thin at offensive tackle, with Menelik Watson, Vadal Alexander and Matt McCants inactive with injury. Cornerbacks Antonio Hamilton and Dexter McDonald, quarterback Connor Cook and running back Latavius Murray were inactive. So was former Raiders linebacker Sio Moore, who signed with the Chiefs earlier this practice week, was also inactive.
What’s next: The Raiders will spend a week-plus in central Florida, bookend by games at Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. That road trip could bring home a bounty, assuming the Raiders stay focus and healthy to beat inferior teams.