ReFo: Chiefs @ Raiders, Week 15
Kansas City at Oakland began as a blowout, suddenly became a one-score game before going back to being a blowout by the end. Each of those sequences happened extremely rapidly and in condensed periods of play, leaving much of the game with essentially little happening except the odd horrendous play from an Oakland quarterback.
The story of the game was Jamaal Charles who posted five touchdowns and was just lethal in space, gliding his way past Oakland defenders as if they weren’t there any time he got the ball in his hands. The Raiders couldn’t rely on either passer to throw the ball to their own players and when they did finally have to sit McGloin down (through a poke in the eye, not poor play) Pryor came in and managed to throw an interception in garbage time.
But let’s look at a few of the standout performances.
Kansas City — Three Performances of Note
Charles As Good as He Looked
PFF has been accused of hating on Jamaal Charles in the past, largely through shunning him from the PFF Top 101 list when his numbers looked pretty spectacular, but this grade (+4.4) is proof that we’re happy to dish out the love when needs be. That he did it on just 30 snaps before being rested for the garbage time at the end is all the more impressive. He only rushed the ball eight times for 20 yards as the Chiefs were unable to get any kind of rhythm going with their run blocking, but seemingly every time he saw the ball in space he scored. In addition to those rushing carries he caught all eight passes thrown his way for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Smith had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when throwing to Charles, despite averaging just 2.5 yards downfield on those targets. Sometimes it’s best to let somebody else do the hard work for your stats.
It’s taken a while, but Eric Berry is finally earning the Pro-Bowl place that seemed to be his automatically any time he was healthy. His +2.6 grade in this game adds to his season total to put him fourth among safeties this year, just a little back from Donte Whitner in the third spot. Berry had an impressive game thanks to some extremely iffy quarterback play, picking off a pair of passes and allowing just four yards in coverage, though he was controlled at the line of scrimmage by linemen on more than one occasion, something he is usually able to avoid. Berry has found himself this season, finally mastering his skills and performing to the kind of level people expected when he was drafted. Knee injuries can be tricky things to come back from, especially for defensive backs, and it’s possible that we’ve all been a bit guilty of expecting too much too soon. Perhaps this is indeed the real Eric Berry.
Push Up Front
At the start of this game it looked as if the Chiefs line was going to have its way with the Raiders, but though the starting trio of Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe and Mike DeVito all made plays, they also had stretches where they were relatively anonymous and the weight of snaps they were asked to play probably held them back from better grades. The fact that they combined for just a single hurry all game won’t have helped either, but Poe and DeVito in particular were impressive in the run game. DeVito’s +3.0 grade in that are was the best of the three and he was routinely collapsing the point of attack and blocking holes in the Oakland front.
Oakland — Three Performances of Note
Train Wreck Passing
Terrelle Pryor managed a -1.8 grade from just 16 snaps and six passes, and that might be the high point of the Oakland passing game. While Matt McGloin did throw for almost 300 yards, he also managed to throw four interceptions, each seemingly more disastrous than the last. He was saved from an even worse grade (-7.0 as it stands) by having one of the interceptions deflected at the line by Jackson that sent it into the arms of LB Derrick Johnson instead of its intended receiver. The worst aspect of it all was that he was kept clean virtually all day, and most of what little pressure there was (he felt heat on just five drop-backs), he invited on himself rather than fell victim to poor blocking. It wasn’t too long ago the Raiders felt a glimmer of hope between Pryor and McGloin at quarterback, but this game showed how far off that might have been.
Who’d have thought Hillsdale College would have produced two of the better performers on one team in this game? Jared Veldheer (+1.3) and Andre Holmes (+1.9) attended the Division II college together and both guys had impressive performances against the Chiefs. Veldheer kept a clean sheet pass blocking despite being asked to do it 47 times in the game and Holmes came down with four catches for 48 yards and a touchdown including a David Tyree-esque one-handed reception that he trapped against his helmet and brought in as he was going to ground with a defender all over him. It may not have been in the Super Bowl like Tyree’s, but he Holmes also did it with just one shoe on, so we’ll call it a tie.
I said before the game that despite beasting against the Jets, FB Marcel Reece would likely lose his carries again to a healthy Rashad Jennings. So it proved. Reece had 19 carries against the Jets and earned 123 rushing yards, but in the rest of the games he has played this season he has averaged just four carries, and he rushed just five times for 18 yards in this one while Jennings had 23. Reece wasn’t without big plays, though, catching a 45-yard pass and taking advantage of some overly cute special teams play when Kansas City elected not to cover one of the Oakland gunners at all on a punt. Reece took the snap as the up-back and fired off a quick pass to convert the easy first down. I think Jennings is actually a pretty good running back, but there is no way the ratio of carries between him and Reece should be 23:5, rather it should look far more even.
– Alex Smith’s average depth of target in this game was just 6.4, down half a yard from his league-low 6.9 on the season.
– Smith Attempted just one pass over 10 yards between the left sideline and the right numbers. It was incomplete.
– The Oakland linebackers surrendered 203 yards in coverage between them.
PFF Game Ball
Easy. Jamaal Charles. How could it be anybody else?