Raiders key matchup No. 1: Run defense vs. Jamaal Charles

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Raiders key matchup No. 1: Run defense vs. Jamaal Charles

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Chiefs matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the O.co Coliseum

Raiders defense vs. Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles

Tale of the tape
Raiders run defense: Ranked No. 28 against the run
Jamaal Charles (25): 5-foot-11, 199 pounds, fifth season, Texas

ALAMEDA -- Perhaps the biggest mystery to emerge from the Raiders' 26-16 victory at Kansas City on Oct. 28 was this -- why did Jamaal Charles only carry the ball five times for the Chiefs that day?

Don't bet on that same question being asked after Sunday's rematch.

"Jamaal, he's a guy, when he touches the ball, he's a threat to go all the way," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel told Bay Area reporters on a conference call this week. "He's had two more-than-80-yard touchdown runs this season which has definitely helped us. He's been the consistent guy in the running game. If we can get him the ball, get him a seam and get him to the second level, then he has a chance for a big play."

In his past five games, Charles has averaged 117.2 rushing yards per game. His 1,220 rushing yards lead the AFC and is fifth in the NFL and Charles is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, second only to Adrian Peterson's 6.0-yards average among backs with at least 200 carries.

"His ability to make those plays also helps the mindset of the whole team because they feel good about what he's able to do, feel good about changing field position and feel good about putting points on the board," Crennel added. "The defense feels good about all those things as well. Having him on the team and coming back off the injury is a positive for us."

The Raiders run defense, which has been an Achilles' heel for the better part of a decade, ranks 28th in the NFL. And by the Raiders' definition of an explosive play -- one which gains at least 16 yards via pass or 12 yards by run -- they have surrendered 34 such explosive runs, including seven touchdowns on those plays.

Kansas City had four explosive runs in the last meeting, though none by Charles, who had only four yards that day.

Of course, the Raiders want to keep him bottled up.

"We want him to turn back into the mouth of our defense," said strong safety Tyvon Branch, "and get some hits on him."

Added rookie defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi: "We don't want to find out how fast he is, we want to find out how tough he is."

Carr takes responsibility for poor Raiders passing game, 'We played awful'

Carr takes responsibility for poor Raiders passing game, 'We played awful'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Derek Carr has made 44 starts as Raiders quarterback. They all haven’t been pretty. Most of them have, but the 25-year has hit a few bumps during what is generally considered a sterling start to his career.

He threw some costly interceptions in 2015, and was learning on the job as a rookie. He’s been nothing short of awesome this season. Until Thursday night, certainly one of his worst as a professional.

Ponder this stat line: 17-for-41, 117 passing yards, no touchdowns, no picks. His 49.1 passer rating was career low.

That’s un-Carr-like, to say the least.

While his receivers dropped four passes, there were many others not in the tally that should’ve been caught. Special teams made some costly mistakes and the defense had some first-half lapses.

Carr wasn’t afraid to say quarterback play had a huge impact on a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a nationally televised game that dropped the Raiders to 10-3 and into second-place in the AFC West.

“It was definitely a bad night, no way of getting around that,” Carr said. “I hate to have a bad night coming on this one, out of all the games we’ve had. Obviously, we didn’t do enough. 

“I feel very responsible for that because of being the leader of the offense and the team. I feel sick to my stomach when we put something like that out there on film. It hurts, I can promise you that. I put too much time into this to go do something like that.”

Carr didn’t want to make excuses after this loss. He didn’t blame his right pinky, which he dislocated in two places against Carolina, which still causes discomfort.

“It definitely wasn’t the finger’s fault,” Carr said.

He didn’t blame frigid temperatures, or whether that had an effect on his grip or his ailing digit. It certainly might have, but the Raiders quarterback never plays the blame game.

Despite the passing game’s struggles, Latavius Murray ran well and the defense clamped down in the second half. That kept the Raiders down one score most of the second half, but they couldn’t cross the goal line.

The Raiders had more than eight minutes to put a game-trying drive together, but stalled at the Kansas City 19-yard line and turned it over on downs.

Carr put one touchdown drive together, late in the first half that made it 21-10. The defense forced two turnovers in the red zone early in the third quarter, but the Raiders only got three points from those opportunities.

That, much like everything else that happened in the passing game, was uncharacteristic of an explosive unit.

“Everything about tonight was unusual, to be honest,” Carr said. “To have our defense step up for us and make plays, and for us to go out there and not execute, do things we don’t do… That’s why it’s frustrating. That why I promise you I’m not worried.

“We played awful. It wasn’t good enough, but I’m not worried because I know the guys in the locker room. I’m not worried one bit, but it just sucks. We have to take it. We have to take the punch, but I’m not worried. I think we’re going to bounce back.”

Instant Replay: Raiders offense hits wall in loss to Chiefs

Instant Replay: Raiders offense hits wall in loss to Chiefs

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Raiders had a lot working against them Thursday night. They had to travel two time zones on a short week to play the biggest game of the season in bitter cold.

The uphill climb proved too daunting for the Silver and Black, who snapped a six game win streak with a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

This result puts the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Both teams are 10-3, but Kansas City owns an all-important tiebreaker with a season sweep over Oakland with three games to play.

The Raiders now need help to win the division. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll likely end up in the Wild Card pool, where they would likely spend the playoffs on the road should they qualify for the postseason.

The Raiders were down eight points for most of the second half, with the Oakland defense holding the Chiefs down and the Raiders offense scuffling along in the cold. The passing game was disjointed at times, a complete mess at others with everyone save the line sharing in blame.

The offense had an important shot to score, with a drive that started at the Raiders' 26-yard line with 8 minutes, 26 seconds remaining.

The team with six fourth-quarter comebacks couldn’t secure a second. The Raiders marched down to the Kansas City 19-yard line but couldn’t punch it in. Derek Carr and Seth Roberts couldn’t hook up on 4th-and-6 and the Raiders turned it over on downs.

The Raiders offense struggled through this game. Quarterback Derek Carr was off most of the night, without the pinpoint accuracy characteristic of his throws.

Receivers weren’t helping him out either, with several drops in key moments. That was especially true of Roberts and Michael Crabtree, who couldn’t corral golden opportunities.

The biggest belonged to Amari Cooper, who was wide open deep and couldn’t track down a floating pass that likely would’ve been a touchdown had he caught it.

That unit was just 5-for-18 on third down, a clip that doesn’t help win games.

The Raiders scored just six points off just three turnovers, which is the main reason why they lost this pivotal contest.

The defense tightened up in the second half especially, with a pair of third-quarter takeaways followed by solid third-down defense that gave the offense plenty of opportunities.

Latavius Murray was running strong, and finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Carr really struggled, with his worst game of the year. That was evident in his stat line: 17-of-41 passing for 117 yards, no touchdowns and a 49.1 passer rating.

The first half did not go the Raiders’ way. They were down 21-10 after two quarters, a stretch only salvaged with a last-second touchdown from Latavius Murray before the half.

Before that, it was all Chiefs. The Raiders opened scoring with a field goal following a muffed punt recovered by James Cowser.

Then Kansas City rattled off 21 unanswered points, including a 36-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill and 78-yard punt return by the same guy and a 3-yard TD run by Charcandrick West.

Things got better in the second half thanks to defensive takeaways. TJ Carrie intercepted a pass deep in Chiefs territory, and the Raiders left with a field goal. Khalil Mack had a strip sack on the next series that Denico Autry recovered, but the Raiders squandered a shot at points when Marquette King couldn’t corral a slightly errant snap in time for Sebastian Janikowski to put a boot on it.

Kelce mocks Marquette:Tyreek Hill returned a Marquette King put 78 yards for a touchdown, something the Chiefs surely enjoyed. Afterward, tight end Travis Kelce found King and did a bronco riding dance – King dances after good punts, and did that one versus Denver – King ended up chasing down Hill and taunting him. That action drew a flag.

Sitting it out: Left guard Kelechi Osemele was a late scratch due to illness. He was replaced by Jon Feliciano and Vadal Alexander on the inside. The Raiders were also missing two other starters in safety Karl Joseph and defensive tackle Stacy McGee. Defensive tackle Darius Latham missed a second straight game with ankle injury, the Raiders thin on the defensive interior.

What’s next: The Raiders will have a mini bye over the weekend, giving them an extended stretch before playing their second road game in as many weeks. The travel to San Diego for another AFC West showdown against the last-place Chargers.