The defense of the Las Vegas Raiders finished the year poorly, as is customary for them. They permitted the Kansas City Chiefs offense, led by Patrick Mahomes, to comfortably win the game. The Chiefs played “Ring Around the Rosie” in one of their pre-snap alignments, making it clear they weren’t really trying. Patrick Graham should feel embarrassed for his awful defense’s embarrassing effort. Let’s assign the Raiders’ defensive positional groups our final defensive grades for the year. Spoiler alert: Everyone blew it on their final test of the year.
Grading The Raiders’ Defense
With the exception of Maxx Crosby, the Raiders’ defensive line underperformed once more. Crosby was doubled all game and still ended with a sack and two tackles for loss. However, the Raiders’ remaining defensive line made the decision to skip the game. The Chiefs ran wild against them, gaining 168 yards on six carries, according to ESPN. The Raiders’ defensive line’s lack of pass rush allowed Mahomes to be calm in the pocket. If not for Crosby’s outstanding performance, the Raiders would have an F here.
Luke Masterson and Harvey Langi were starting in the team’s regular-season finale. So, no surprise here, as it was another week of subpar linebacker play as the Chiefs relentlessly attacked them. They are to blame for their performance, but in back-to-back weeks, they had to start against two of the league’s top offenses. However, the cement feet of Masterson and Langi prevented them from moving quickly enough to make plays. As a result, the Chiefs continued to harass them in the pass and run games. For the 2023 season, the Raiders must get a brand-new linebacking room; otherwise, the defense won’t get any better.
The Raiders’ cornerbacks weren’t all that horrible, you know. However, it appeared they were struggling with coverage. For instance, Justin Watson sped by Amik Robertson on the second play from scrimmage for a gain of 67 yards. However, they managed to keep Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and JuJu Smith-Schuster each under 40 receiving yards. It was a catch-22 because all of these players’ catches appeared to be wide open. The Chiefs had no incentive to pass for nearly a full quarter because the game was finished at the start of the fourth. It makes it harder for wide receivers to increase their production.
Slowing down Travis Kelce was one of the game’s most major objectives for the Raiders coming into the game. The Raiders’ safeties did a good job of bracketing him. Kelce had 38 receiving yards when the game was over. Trevon Moehrig and Duron Harmon did an excellent job of keeping Kelce from beating them down the field. However, their safeties did have trouble in the run game because they took poor angles and missed tackles. They performed poorly, but they were undoubtedly the Raiders’ defense’s bright spot.
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