The Oakland Raiders escaped a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland on Thursday Night Football with a 31-30 victory. The Raiders maximized the absence of their running back Marshawn Lynch who was ejected in the second quarter. Overall, there were two main factors that contributed to the victory for the Raiders.
The first factor was the combination of Derek Carr, Jared Cook, DeAndre Washington, and Amari Cooper in the Raiders offense. Initially, there had been many doubts regarding the capability of the Raiders offensive line. Furthermore, they have to play against the leading AFC team. They have only one opportunity to defeat Kansas City, by maximizing the physical advantage of their offensive line.
The Raiders offensive coordinator, Todd Downing had to organize pure physical play in the game against Kansas City. He had no option but to arrange the running plays and exploit the physical leverage of his team.
This was clearly shown in the second quarter when Carr delivered a deep pass to Cooper. Realizing the danger, Chiefs' cornerback Marcus Peters interfered the pass, resulting in a 47-yard penalty.
On the second down after the penalty, DeAndre Washington showed his remarkable speed and agility to pass the Chiefs defense. The Raiders running back had a four-yard run to score a touchdown and bring Oakland to a lead at 21-20.
The second factor was the unprecedented ejection after Marshawn Lynch was ejected in the second quarter for shoving an official. Lynch pushed the line judge Julian Mapp who held him for running into the field from the sideline during the chaos. The incident happened after Kansas City Chiefs' cornerback Marcus Peters delivered a late hit to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
Touching an official is a clear violation of the NFL rule, so Lynch was ejected. However, this created more problems for the Chiefs, because the Raiders would maximize their younger running back, DeAndre Washington. The 24-year-old was much stronger than Lynch and none of the Kansas City linebackers could stop him.
The Raiders' strategy worked well to exhaust their opponents, but the Chiefs were still able to lead the game until the fourth quarter. However, near the end of the fourth quarter, Carr saw a window of opportunity.
Carr made a long pass to Jared Cook, who caught the ball perfectly at the two and a half yard line. Afterward, Carr made a bullet pass to Michael Crabtree, who scored a touchdown to win the game. Watch the series of spectacular plays from the Raiders at the end of the fourth quarter below.
[Featured Image by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]