Raiders lament missed chances in loss at Kansas City
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Four days after losing control of the AFC West race with a loss at Kansas City, Oakland coach Jack Del Rio is still lamenting some missed opportunities that helped cost the Raiders the game.
A pass that mysteriously changed directions, turning a potential touchdown into an incompletion. The failure to capitalize on three turnovers in Kansas City territory. The decision to pass on third-and-1 late in the game instead of trusting the running game.
That last decision might have been the most costly. Despite the earlier problems, the Raiders (10-3) were in position for a potential tying score late when they drove to the Kansas City 14 with just over two minutes to play.
Facing a third-and-1, Oakland called for a pass to Andre Holmes in the end zone that Marcus Peters broke up . Del Rio said he considered calling a timeout after hearing the play call to go for a run behind a powerful offensive line that had produced 135 yards on the ground but didn't want to squander a second timeout at a crucial spot.
''It would've made a lot of sense to run right there,'' Del Rio said. ''As we look at it as a staff we're going, `Geez, what the heck?'''
Del Rio figured that in the worst-case scenario, Oakland could run it on fourth down but right tackle Austin Howard was called for a false start before that play and Derek Carr's fourth-down pass to Seth Roberts fell incomplete. Kansas City ran out the clock to seal the 21-13 victory .
''You have to go with your gut,'' Del Rio said. ''I went with it trying to keep both options alive figuring that worst case we'd go on fourth and get it. Then we went a delayed cadence and just really missed an opportunity. There were several throughout the game. You just don't know which one is going to be the one.''
The Raiders could have taken control of the division by beating the Chiefs to take a two-game lead with three games to play. Instead, Kansas City is tied with Oakland for first place and owns the tiebreaker by virtue of sweeping the season series.
If the Raiders want to win the division they can ill afford any more slipups starting with Sunday's game at San Diego and will also need the Chiefs to lose at least one game.
''My approach is really simple,'' Del Rio said. ''I tell our guys, `We're not going to lay around and bathe in the adulation of a win. Look how good this is.' We're also not going to sit and wallow in misery when we lose. We're going to be matter of fact.''
There were plenty of other issues earlier in the game. The Raiders had three drives start in Kansas City territory after turnovers and turned them into only six points as Oakland settled for two field goals and then botched a snap on the third.
A penalty on Taiwan Jones forced the Raiders to punt a second time and Tyreek Hill took advantage with a 78-yard return for a score. Making matters even worse, punter Marquette King was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the return, his second straight week with a personal foul.
''We can't have routine 15-yard penalties out of our punter,'' Del Rio said. ''We've got two in a row, two weeks in a row, and that's got to come to a stop.''
Then on Oakland's second-to-last drive in the fourth quarter, Carr appeared to have Amari Cooper open deep for what could have been a touchdown. But the ball changed directions at the last moment and Cooper couldn't adjust , leading to an incomplete pass and a punt.
There was speculation that the ball might have hit a wire for one of NBC's cameras but the network said that was not the case and the coaches film revealed no reason for the altered flight of the ball.
''The angel in the outfield,'' Del Rio said. ''I mean, it moved. I don't know if it hit a wire or the angel in the outfield moved it, a gust of wind. I don't know. It moved. To me, it was like one of so many plays that could have gone differently. I'm certainly not sitting here hung up on that play.''
NOTES: DL Mario Edwards Jr., who has been out since the preseason with a hip injury, looked good in practice last week and could be activated from IR this week. ... OL Kelechi Osemele is expected back at practice this week after missing the game with an illness.
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