Yes, the Oakland Raiders' offensive line has been patchwork at best this season. And yes, quarterback Terrelle Pryor is very much a work in progress, despite the fact that he's shown some good things this season. But to underestimate the Kansas City Chiefs' dominant defensive performance and pass it off as "just another day for the Raiders" is to ignore what this Chiefs defense has been doing all season -- putting opponents on lockdown and beating the heck out of their quarterbacks. Kansas City came into this game with the best defense in the NFL, per Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted metrics, and on Sunday they did nothing to dissuade the argument that there is no better defense in the league.
The 6-0 Chiefs, who were 2-14 just a season ago, amassed 10 sacks against Pryor, and picked off three of his passes in a 24-7 throttling that was actually competitive for a while, until defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's charges went in for the kill in the fourth quarter. The denouement was Hamza Abdullah's 44-yard pick-six with 1:35 left in the game. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Raiders faced a 3rd-and-48 following a three-sack, two-penalty disaster of a drive that started with 10:46 remaining in the game. Linebacker Tamba Hali led the charge overall with 3.5 sacks, fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson came in second with two, and five other Chiefs defenders contributed quarterback takedowns of their own.
That's the kind of situation that will greatly reduce an opponent's playbook. There was no such issue for Sutton and his playbook, though. The Chiefs brilliantly combined timely blitzes and gap reads to contend with Pryor's mobility, limiting him to 60 yards on six carries and allowing just 18 completions in 34 attempts for 216 yards. Thirty-nine of those yards came when Pryor dropped a pretty pass to Denarius Moore for a first-quarter score, but beyond that, there was little the Raiders could do.
That's less an indictment of their own offensive performance, and more a triumph for the peerless defense they faced on Sunday. “They’re good, really good," Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said after the game. "You look at every level of their defense and they’re an exceptional defense. I would put them at the top in the league. Where they fit in the top, I’m not sure, but they are a good defense.”