News & Analysis

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

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 8: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders is sacked by defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches #99 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium during the first quarter of the game on December 8, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

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.

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