OAK-KC grades: Chiefs’ defense shuts down Derek Carr in win

Chiefs' defenders grade well in win over the Raiders, along with playmakers Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

| 7 months ago
(Peter Aiken, Getty Images)

(Peter Aiken, Getty Images)

OAK-KC grades: Chiefs’ defense shuts down Derek Carr in win

Kansas City Chiefs 21, Oakland Raiders 13

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from Kansas City’s 21-13 win over Oakland in Week 14:

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 74.9

Smith’s first-half performance good enough for the Chiefs to hold onto the win

Alex Smith had an outstanding first half on Thursday night, and it was largely dude to the throws he made down the field. Smith hit two post routes to rookie wideout Tyreek Hill, one of which went for a touchdown. He also connected with Chris Conley twice down the right sideline for big gains. Uncharacteristically good down the field, Smith went 7-of-8 on throws over 10 yards, and was perfect on passes of 20-plus yards. But Smith opened up the second half as poor as possible by throwing an interception and getting strip-sacked on his next two plays from scrimmage deep in the Chiefs’ own end of the field. After those two turnovers, Smith largely managed the second-half lead and was able to maintain field position to keep the Raiders with long fields, to ultimately let the defense win it.

Top offensive grades:

FB Anthony Sherman, 80.1

C Mitch Morse, 79.7

TE Travis Kelce, 76.8

QB Alex Smith, 74.9

WR Tyreek Hill, 73.8

Hill’s explosive first half enough offense for the night

Tyreek Hill seems to perform his best under the bright lights. After making his name known on Sunday night in Denver, and he had an outstanding night in another pivotal divisional game Thursday night. His night opened poorly with a muffed punt that put the Raiders in field-goal position. But he came back with Kansas City’s first touchdown on a post route down the middle. On the very next drive, he beat Malcolm Smith down the middle on another post route to put the Chiefs inside the 5-yard-line, from where they would punch it in two plays later. His biggest play of the night came on a 78-yard punt return touchdown that gave the Chiefs a commanding 21-3 lead.

Top defensive grades:

CB Terrance Mitchell, 91.7

LB Ramik Wilson, 85.5

DE Chris Jones, 83.4

S Eric Berry, 83.4

S Ron Parker, 79.3

Mitchell surprises in excellent performance

Terrance Mitchell, a third-year cornerback out of Oregon with 133 snaps to his name before last week, was forced into action against Atlanta and held up admirably, allowing 19 yards in 35 snaps. This week he played 72 of a possible 76 snaps and did more than just play admirably — the former seventh-round pick dominated. He was targeted seven times on the day, yielding only three catches for 14 yards. Mitchell capped it off with the game-ending pass breakup in one of the most impressive cornerback performances all season.

Oakland Raiders

Quarterback grade: Derek Carr, 45.3

Carr flustered all night

This was not MVP Derek Carr. This wasn’t even competent Derek Carr. This was rookie year Derek Carr all over again, as he looked trigger-happy and jittery as could be all night. He was making silly mistakes like throwing to blanketed receivers in the flat consistently, and on top of that, he was missing wide open targets. On throws 10-plus yards down the field, he was only 2-of-13 for 32 yards.

Top offensive grades:

RB Latavius Murray, 83.0

C Rodney Hudson, 80.6

LT Donald Penn, 77.2

RG Gabe Jackson, 70.5

RT Austin Howard, 66.2

Receivers a no-show

You’ll notice not a single pass-catcher could crack the top-5 above, and while Carr shares some of that blame, the playmakers are equally culpable. Amari Cooper notably failed to separate from man coverage on multiple occasions, and on the one deep ball he did get free from cornerback Marcus Peters, he completely misjudged it (although a wobbly pass may have contributed). Seth Roberts, Michael Crabtree, and Cooper were targeted a combined 25 times, and only hauled in 11 passes for 62 yards.

Top defensive grades:

ED Khalil Mack, 87.3

CB TJ Carrie, 87.2

LB Perry Riley, 79.1

LB Malcolm Smith, 77.2

CB Sean Smith, 76.9

Mack’s outstanding game not enough for Raiders defense

Khalil Mack started to make his impact in the second half of this one, opening the Chiefs’ second drive of the half with a strip sack that put the Raiders in scoring position. Mack posted one sack and four hurries on the night for a pass-rush grade of 80.8. Mack was also dominant in run defense, notching four run stops, and earned a run-defense grade of 91.4. The Raiders defense did not allow any points in the second half, largely dude to Mack’s performance, but in the end, it was not enough to come away with a win.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Chiefs cornerback Terrance Mitchell

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Wasn’t able to watch the game so I don’t know what the overall quality of play was like. I just wish the league would dump these Thursday games that ask players to deliver a top performance off a short week. It’s an especially bad idea with games like this where long time division rivals are facing each other and playoff seeds are at stake.

    • 24AHAD

      Cool story bro.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Not sure why so many people are reluctant to give Andy Reid the credit he deserves. His players will play for him the way the lovable “rats” use to play for Hank Stram.

        • 24AHAD

          He has the best interpersonal skills in the nfl hands down. When Jovan Belcher wished to end his life he didnt go to his best friend, or father, or mother.. he went to Andy Reid. He helped Mike Vick redeem himself into a man and mvp candidate. Tyreek Hill, Marcus Peters… more people he’s made into better men.

  • a57se

    Too bad for Oakland Carr messed up his pinkie, they probably win this game otherwise.

    • Robert

      No they don’t. The pinky didn’t cause any problems in his last two games.
      The pass rush beat him, not his pinky.
      Stop with the excuses. Raiders have only scored 23 points in two games with the Chiefs. Chiefs are just the better team.

    • Die-hard Chiefs fan

      Is that Carr’s excuse last time when we beat them at home? No way Carr was going to win. His record when 50 degree’s and below is 0-4.

    • Sand Ripper

      He seemed fine against Buffalo.

  • Dollar Flipper

    Carr and his WRs didn’t seem to be on the same page. Few wide open Carr misses and a bunch of drops too. Probably the cold weather made it harder, but Carr’s finger was definitely hurting. Chiefs went pretty vanilla after the two turnovers. Loss of DJ is a big deal.

    • 24AHAD

      I think Ramik in DJ’s spot will improve on our run defense actually. Since our base is essentially a nickle with Sorenson playing as an lb I think we will be just fine. DJ has been slightly overrated this year I’ve seen him miss alot of tackles. Where I’d be most scared is Ramik 1 on 1 with a back lined up out wide

  • Charles Brown

    Merry Christmas KC! I hope that you are grateful for that gift. It wasn’t you defense that beat the Raiders, it was Carr not being able to hit the side of the barn last night. In addition, Murray gashed the chefs overrated defense line for over 100 yard all while in pistol formation. Yeah, KC won the game fair and square, but it wasn’t a dominant win. That’s why I see the Chiefs as a one-and-done team in the playoffs. There is no way Chiefs can play this type of game in the playoff and win. The Chiefs doesn’t have a potent offense because they rely heavily on TE play-making and defensive turnovers. However, the Chiefs secondary can create a lot turnover, but they are not true shutdown corners because they get burned more than they make plays. KC’s offense and defense are ranked in the 20s overall. Hell, Murray already proved that KC defensive line can’t stop the run. It really took the elements, bad pinky, and luck to beat the Raiders. The Raiders had 3 takeaways and the Chiefs had 0. Luck!

    • 24AHAD

      You are a sore loser sir. Everybody has ran and gained yards on the chiefs yet we rank near the top in redzone defense. We also have the best special teams in the nfl. Its our winning formula. It’s called complimentary football. You had 13 pts. Blaming it on his pinky is pathetic bro. He finished his last game when the injury occured just fine. The raiders offense has no tight end or 3 down back. I’m sorry that Alex Smith hurt your feelings. Maybe a couple more chief cast offs free agent signings will help you beat the chiefs next year

      • Richard Nixon

        The Ravens have the best special teams in the league year in and year out. Everyone else is just fighting for second.

        • 42DAHA

          No, you just have the best kicker.

    • Supychou

      Funny! I think exactly the same about the Raiders. One of the most overrated team in the NFL. When you don’t have a defense (except the amazing Mack), you go nowhere. And when you face a defense with good passrush and CBs, they do nothing.
      One and done in the PO. For sure.
      (And btw, not even a Chiefs fan but all this cockiness is too much.)

    • crosseyedlemon

      I’ve always been a fan of your blues Charles Brown but after reading this comment I’m wondering if maybe you’ve had a bit too much of that “Bad Bad Whiskey”.