OAKLAND – It wasn't long ago that the Raiders had lost five straight by 14 points or more, and their effort was being questioned at every turn.
They've shown fight the past three games, even if an overall lack of execution and a talent disparity has bit the Silver and Black twice in that span.
Sunday was the latest occurrence, when they kept it close against Kansas City but were ultimately felled 40-33 at Oakland Coliseum.
There was plenty of good here, even if the end result was unwelcome. That will be reflected in this week's report card:
The Raiders ran well on Sunday, with 171 yards on 28 carries. Those numbers don't matter. Not one bit. Not when you cough it up three times. The Raiders completed an unwelcome trifecta, with Doug Martin, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard all losing fumbles. The Chiefs each one into points. That was a deciding factor. Plain and simple.
Derek Carr takes heat for everything. He's either too timid or too aggressive, too eager for Jon Gruden's praise or cavalier with his execution of the scheme. Go ahead and find fault in Sunday's performance, where he went 29-for-38 for 285 yards, three touchdowns, no picks for a seventh straight game and a 123.2 passer rating. We'll wait. Oh, right. Crickets.
No Kareem Hunt? The Chiefs run game was still a huge problem. Kansas City totaled 174 yards on 30 carries, and opened things up for a dynamic passing game. Justin Ellis's return didn't solve every problem, nor was it expected to. The Raiders need upgrades everywhere in defending the run.
Patrick Mahomes is amazing. Travis Kelce is a noted Raider killer. That was trouble, even though the kept Tyreek Hill largely under wraps and made Mahomes extend plays by pressuring the pocket. This might be an instance where the performance was a bit better than the numbers suggest. Coverage was pretty good. Opposing offense was great.
Looks like the Raiders have a long-term kicker in Daniel Carlson. That can't be said about punter Johnny Townsend. Not yet, anyway, but the Chiefs punt return game was negated. That's something, even if the punts weren't deep or terribly accurate.
The Raiders are showing great fight and effort during a time when they could mail the season in. That's a credit to Jon Gruden and Paul Guenther and the rest of this coaching staff. They aren't very good, but they won't give up. That's a good sign.