This game, as most will be during the regular season, was just another hurdle in the battle for home field advantage. The New England Patriots have the easiest schedule in the NFL so it will be tough for the Chiefs to host the AFC Championship game but not impossible.
This was also the first full game the Chiefs would play without Tyreek Hill since his injury in week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The question this week was how would the Chiefs utilize their talented receiving core without their best receiver in the game. The answer turned out to be that Mahomes would just throw to the other receivers without too much trouble, at least in the second quarter.
With the rest of the AFC West losing in week 2, the Chiefs move into solo possession of first place in the division. They are tied with New England, Buffalo and Baltimore for the best record in the conference.
Patrick Mahomes had a great game in the second quarter alone. He threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns in the second quarter after the offense struggled to get much of anything going in the first quarter. Mahomes finished the game with 443 yards passing. He didn’t scramble as much as he normally does which was a sign that he’s still dealing with the hurt ankle as we expected. However, he stepped up in the pocket really well and the receivers got open for him early enough that Mahomes didn’t need to do too much running. His limited mobility did end in two sacks on the day.
Non-Mahomes Player of the Game:
Demarcus Robinson stepped up big in the first full game the Chiefs played without Tyreek Hill. Apparently Patrick Mahomes told the CBS crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo that Robinson would have a big game and once again he was right. Robinson was targeted six times and came down with six receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chiefs offense struggled against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter. They had two possessions, each of which ended in a punt. Meanwhile the Raiders kicked a field goal on their first possession and followed that up with a touchdown on their second possession. So with the Chiefs down 10-0 to start the second quarter, Patrick Mahomes hit Demarcus Robinson for a 44-yard touchdown pass. That play seemed to kickstart the offense for the Chiefs. The Chiefs offense then went crazy for the rest of the quarter as they scored all four of their touchdowns in the second quarter.
Chris Jones caused trouble for the Raiders offense on Sunday. The Raiders started the game with a long drive that started at their own 25 but stalled when Jones broke through the offensive line to tackle Josh Jacobs for no gain on 3rd-and-1 forcing the Raiders to kick a field goal. In all, Jones had five tackles, three of them solo tackles, and one sack. He had three quarterback hits in the game.
Travis Kelce had seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. It was typical Kelce. The defense struggled to cover him and when Mahomes put the ball where Kelce could touch it he hauled it in.
The Chiefs defense, after allowing scores on the Raiders first two possessions, pitched a shutout the rest of the game. They held Derek Carr to just 178 yards passing and the team to 129 rushing. Coverage down field was better than almost every game we saw in 2018 with possibly the exception of the playoff game against Indianapolis. The coverage even allowed time for a coverage sack. The Raiders aren’t the best offense but they moved the ball easily on their first two possessions and not much at all after that.
Bashaud Breeland led the team in tackles with eight. Seven of those tackles were solo tackles.
Kendall Fuller had six tackles on the game. He also added a sack.
Room for Improvement:
The Chiefs lacked discipline in this game. They had multiple block in the back penalties that brought back big gains. Overall the Chiefs had ten penalties for 114 yards! The Raiders had just seven for 52 yards. When you have more penalties than the Raiders you did not play a very disciplined game.
Although the second quarter was outstanding, the Chiefs offense will need to continue to develop an identity with Tyreek Hill. The team did not score at all outside of the second quarter.
The Chiefs running game was non-existent in this game. They had 22 rushes for just 31 yards. LeSean McCoy did get the majority of the carries as I expected but by just two over Damien Williams. But McCoy could only manage 23 yards on 11 carries. Damien Williams had eight yards on nine carries. Was it because the Raiders were playing closer to the line? Did it have to do with the Chiefs’ offensive line not being able to open holes with so many Raiders in the box? Did Mahomes’ ankle and therefore reduced mobility hurt the running game?
This Chiefs come home next week to host the undefeated Baltimore Ravens in the home opener. The Ravens are 2-0 and lead the AFC North. It’s hard to say how good Baltimore is since they have just played at Miami and home against Arizona but Lamar Jackson will be a challenge to contain.