By Steve Corkran
Sunday, October 13th, 2013 at 4:06 pm in Oakland Raiders.
KANSAS CITY – Coach Dennis Allen viewed Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs as a measuring stick for the progress being made by the Raiders this season.
The closer-than-it-seemed, 24-7 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium showed Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie that the Raiders are headed in the right direction, though there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“We’re close,” Raiders safety Charles Woodson said. “But when you play a good football team, they capitalize on the mistakes that you make. That’s the reason why they’re 6-0.”
And it’s a big reason why the Raiders are 2-4 as they enter their bye week, four games behind the Chiefs and the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.
The Raiders will spend the next several days trying to learn from their uneven play against the Chiefs and likely several more expelling the bitter taste from their mouths.
The Chiefs feasted upon a Raiders team that committed 11 penalties, allowed 10 sacks and served up three interceptions by quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Most of that negative stuff came after the Raiders jumped to a 7-0 lead, which they held until late in the second quarter.
The Chiefs tied the game late in the first half, but the Raiders still felt as if they controlled the game because of how well their defense played, according to Woodson and several of his defensive mates.
The game turned late in the third quarter when Pryor attempted a pass in the face of a Chiefs blitz, while throwing off his back foot and into heavy traffic.
Chiefs safety Quintin Demps intercepted Pryor’s ill-advised pass. Running back Jamaal Charles scored the first of his two touchdowns four plays later.
It was all Chiefs from there on out, with Pryor spending most of his time being sacked, harassed and frustrated by a defense he flourished against early on.
Pryor completed seven of his first nine passes for 100 yards and a touchdown and sported a 150.0 passer rating.
He completed only 11 of his final 25 passes for 116 yards and no touchdowns, while being intercepted three times. He finished with a 45.7 passer rating.
“It’s a great learning experience for him,” Allen said. “He’ll be better for it when he gets put back in this type of environment again and he’ll do a better job.”
As usual, Pryor accepted responsibility for his mistakes and shifted blame away from his teammates.
He vowed to use this game as part of his maturation into a starting quarterback and take steps to lessen the likelihood of his making the same mistakes.
“You’re going to make mistakes,” Pryor said. “Understand why it happens. Fix who is at fault, whether it’s me or whoever. That’s all you can really do. … We lost the game because of turnovers. They were on me.”
Pryor said it’s incumbent upon the Raiders offense to hold up its end in games, especially in a game like this one where the Raiders limited the Chiefs to 216 yards net offense and forced quarterback Alex Smith into more incomplete passes than ones caught by his receivers.
The big difference, of course, was Smith’s ability to remain patient, make just enough plays and avoid turnovers.
“I wouldn’t say it’s lack of efficiency,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, when asked about Smith completing 14 of 31 passes. “He’s taking care of the football. When it counts, he makes the play.
“I appreciate him. We’re winning football games, and he’s doing a nice job managing it. Everybody feeds off it on both sides of the ball.”
Smith also benefited from more continuity from his offensive line, whereas Pryor watched two starters leave with injuries in the first half.
None of the Raiders used injuries, crowd noise or questionable officiating as an excuse.
“We’re disappointed,” defensive end Jason Hunter said. “We had a chance to win the game. We played hard. We just got to find a way to get these wins. You can’t make mistakes in a game like this.”