One of the biggest on-paper mismatches of the week had the script completely flipped as the heavy underdog Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 40-32. It’s a statement game for the Raiders, who have struggled with the Chiefs in recent years — they showed off an explosive offense that is capable of hanging with the best in the league.
Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.
Story of the Game
The Raiders came out aggressive and were able to match the Chiefs’ explosive offense with big plays of their own. First-round pick Henry Ruggs returned from injury and made an immediate impact with two catches for 118 yards and a score — just his presence has made the Raiders’ offense scarier when he’s out there.
Quarterback Derek Carr generally lands on the more conservative side, but he pushed the ball down the field in this one. His average depth of target of 9.7 is the highest he’s posted under head coach Jon Gruden. Other than a turnover-worthy play for an interception, Carr played a clean game. Of his 347 passing yards, 201 came on third down, which is ultimately the biggest story of the game.
On the other side, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had over 100 passing yards negated by penalties, including a 65-yard bomb that was one of the best throws of the week. However, the Raiders did a fine job of handling Mahomes’ pocket movement, remaining sticky down the field to take away many of the easy throws the Chiefs create on a weekly basis. Mahomes also put the ball in harm’s way multiple times — the second straight week he’s forced the ball more than usual, though there’s only one interception to show for it.
Overall, Mahomes was pressured on 23 of his 57 dropbacks and completed just 38% of his passes to go with three sacks on those plays.
Second-year edge defenders Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby were consistently in the Kansas City backfield, while the Raiders’ coverage unit made life difficult down the field and made just enough plays to seal the deal for the upset.
Las Vegas finished with 265 yards on six explosive (15-plus yard) pass plays, while the Chiefs finished with 263 yards on their 11 explosive pass plays. That’s exactly what the Raiders envisioned when they drafted Ruggs last April— they deserve credit for beating the Chiefs at their own game.
Ruggs is a clear game-changer for the Raiders — three of his six career catches have gone for at least 45 yards.
The Raiders also got a solid performance from CB Amik Robertson, who got in on a stop and didn’t give up anything in coverage on 15 snaps.
For the Chiefs, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire didn’t force a missed tackle on his 10 carries and has only forced nine on his last 56 carries after forcing seven on opening night. He did force three defenders to miss on three receptions.
Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. played 34 snaps, including a career-high 11 in coverage. He got in on one defensive stop in the run game.