Raiders D-Line Showed Signs Of Growth Against Chiefs

Not many gave them a chance, but the Las Vegas Raiders shocked the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. While quarterback Derek Carr arguably played the best game of his career, he didn’t do it alone. His wide receiver corps and the running game played a huge role in the upset. However, it wasn’t just the offense, the Silver and Black’s defense and their front four also played a key role in the victory.

The defense took a stand after a slow start

There are many ways to slice the Raiders’ defensive performance against the Chiefs. On one hand, they were the same leaky self and surrendered 32 points. They are giving up 30.4 points per game and currently rank 27th in points allowed after five weeks of football.

On the other hand, the Raiders defense looked completely different in the second half. After scoring 24 points in the first half, the Chiefs could only muster a field goal for most of the second half. The Raiders forced the Chiefs to punt in three straight possessions and intercepted quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the following one. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter when they were able to score another touchdown.

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The Raiders D-line had one of their best games in the season

One big reason the Raiders stopped the Chiefs offense was their defensive line. Although Clelin Ferrell didn’t register a sack, he played one of the best games in his career and registered nine pressures. For his effort, Pro Football Focus graded him as the third-best edge defender in Week 5. Ferrell wasn’t the only player in the Raiders defensive line to have an impact though.

Defensive end Maxx Crosby also recorded a quarterback takedown and two quarterback hits. Defensive end Chris Smith dressed up for the first time in the 2020 season and had a sack. The team originally signed him on Aug, 24th and later released him on Sept, 5th. They would then sign him to their practice squad but hadn’t taken the field before Week 5. Looking back, Smith made the most out of his chance against the Chiefs.

Defensive ends, Arden Key and Kendal Vickers also made sure to rattle Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and combined for eight hurries. All in all, this was the kind of performance the team’s brass surely expected from their defensive line all along. They had probably one of their best games of the year and they did so without Maurice Hurst and Maliek Collins.

Against a superb Chiefs team, the Raiders front four showed what they can do when they play up to their potential. Crosby credited their effective performance to ‘getting it loose’. Regardless of the reason, if they keep performing the way they did in Week 5, they will create difficult matchups for opposing offenses the reminder of the season.

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Top Photo: Jeff Robertson/Associated Press

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