The Las Vegas Raiders finally got over the hump against the Kansas City Chiefs, winning their first road game at Arrowhead Stadium since 2012 and inching closer to K.C. in the AFC West.
Don’t suggest to safety Johnathan Abram that the Raiders made ground in their quest to chase down the Chiefs for the division title.
“No. We’re not chasing anybody,” Abram retorted, via ESPN. “We’re chasing perfection, honestly. That’s the only thing we’re chasing. If we continue to do that, we’ll end up where we want to be at the end of the season. That’s holding up the Lombardi Trophy.”
For a team that has one winning season since 2002, some might laugh at Abram’s suggestion. Truth is every professional athlete has that mentality. Otherwise, they’d be selling insurance, not competing on the gridiron.
The Raiders played their best game of the season, with the offense marching up and down the field with precision passes from Derek Carr and splashing big plays mixed in. Las Vegas scored five TDs and generated 490 yards of offense, a whopping 7.3 yards per play, all better than the explosive Chiefs offense.
The defense was able to keep Patrick Mahomes quiet for long stretches. The Raiders D gave up some big plays but held K.C. out of the end zone on six straight possessions from mid-second quarter until late in the fourth quarter when their double-digit cushion was enough to secure the victory.
The Raiders knew Sunday’s game would be a pivot point for their season.
“We are in a production-oriented business where we have to win football games,” Carr said. “We’re sitting there, we lose two. We lose against the Patriots, we lose against the Bills and now the world champions are staring you in the face … you sit there and you’re like, ‘What better opportunity?’ We’ve been punched in the mouth. What better opportunity to see what this team is made out of?”
The best news for Raiders fans: Sitting at 3-2, Vegas has played its toughest stretch of the season and come out on the other side in great shape.
The Raiders have the easiest remaining schedule. Their opponents the rest of the way have a .377 winning record, including the winless Jets and Falcons.
With another bout against Mahomes and four other AFC West games remaining, coach Jon Gruden knows his team still has a lot to prove as it strives for perfection.
“I hope we gain confidence,” Gruden said. “We got Tom Brady coming in here [after the bye]. We have seen Drew Brees. We have seen Cam Newton. We have seen one of the hottest quarterbacks in [Josh] Allen, now we have seen Mahomes. We have already seen [Teddy] Bridgewater. We need to get healthy. We need to stay focused and be true to ourselves. We can still get better. We are going to have to get better if we are going to stay in the hunt.”
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