On Monday Night Football back in Week 5, the Las Vegas Raiders defensive line came up big time but lacked the firepower to stop the Kansas City Chiefs. Even Chandler Jones appeared to finally look terrific, with Maxx Crosby once again playing his heart out.
The Las Vegas Raiders pass rush looked good in the first half
For the Raiders, the early pass rush by Crosby set the tone. Crosby got through the offensive line during the Chiefs’ opening offensive series and sacked Patrick Mahomes on third down to force a punt. During the second half, Crosby sacked Mahomes a second time.
As Jones consistently beat Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to apply pressure on Mahomes, he appeared to have rediscovered his form. The Raiders’ defense was shutting down the Chiefs’ attack until late in the second quarter, which was evidence that Jones had finally arrived for the team.
Mahomes was feeling the pressure because he knew that either Jones or Crosby would be pressuring him in the backfield. To pressure a quarterback like Mahomes and force him out of his comfort zone is the key to stopping him. It’s unfortunate for the Raiders that their energy seemed to drain throughout the game’s second half.
Where did the pass rush go in the second half?
Mahomes was able to make throws and ultimately win the game in the second half because he had time in the pocket. Where did Crosby go after a first-half effort that included two sacks?
The Raiders’ pass rush was hindered by plays like this one in which the officials kept their whistle and failed to declare a hold on Crosby. The Chiefs’ Jerick McKinnon was able to get the run game going, which helped to counteract the Raiders’ pass rush. For the Chiefs, he carried eight times for a team-high 54 yards.
It was Jones and Crosby’s aggression that made this run effective. They were going up field, and in response, the Chiefs gave McKinnon the ball on the outside, where he used his speed to gain yards.
Another issue was that in the second half, the defense was out there a lot. The Raiders’ offensive problems flared back again, placing the defense in peril. In particular, during the third quarter, when the Chiefs scored two touchdowns while controlling the ball for the bulk of the period. In contrast, the Raiders offense had only one possession in the third quarter, held onto it for roughly two minutes, and then punted the ball back to the Chiefs.
It is detrimental to not give your defense a break, especially while facing Mahomes. Imagine having to chase him around and sack him while also not getting any rest.
In the second half, no Raider defensive lineman was able to sack Mahomes, keeping his jersey clean. Mahomes and a clean pocket are a catastrophic formula. Jones and Crosby both did a great job, but without much from them in the second half, Mahomes was able to get back on track and win the game.
The run defense looked good for the most partÂ
Despite a few errors, the Raiders’ run defense once again proved to be a top 10 unit. The Chiefs carried the ball 23 times for 103 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
The run defense was strong despite a few big runs by Mahomes and McKinnon. As a result, Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s runs only gained 15 yards. The offensive line’s center was clogged by defensive tackles Andrew Billings and Kendal Vickers, allowing Crosby and Jones to make plays in the run game. The Raiders’ defense currently ranks fifth in least yards allowed per carry and eighth in total rush yards allowed following their good effort against the run versus the Chiefs.
*Top Photo: Benjamin Hegar/Las Vegas Review-Journal