OAKLAND — With a herd of reporters surrounding him as he stood in front of his locker, Bruce Irvin was at a total loss.
“I mean, we go over this every week,” the linebacker said when asked to explain the ongoing struggles of the Oakland Raiders’ defense.
The defensive unit had once again let down the Raiders in a big way on Sunday afternoon in a 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The defense, which entered the day having allowed the most yards per game in the NFL, let the Chiefs pile up 406 yard of total offense.
“It’s the same [thing],” Irvin added. “I don’t know what else to tell you.”
The afternoon had began in a promising fashion for Oakland. With a light but steady rain falling at the Coliseum, Jalen Richard broke off a 50-yard return on the opening kickoff.
The early burst from Richard set up a three-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Andre Holmes — the team’s only touchdown of the day.
“It hurts, man. It sucks,” said Carr who threw for 225 yards — his second-lowest total of the season. “We didn’t do good enough at all. I mean, that was bad.”
Losing to the Chiefs means the race for the top spot in the AFC West is suddenly a lot more crowded. A win would have put the Raiders in sole possession of first place, but the defeat drops the team to 4-2 and into a tie with the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs improve to 3-2 with their road win.
Head coach Jack Del Rio brushed aside the question when asked if his team had failed to capitalize on the situation.
“Every game is important all year long,” Del Rio said. “You never know which one is more important than the others. So, that’s it. It’s one game.”
Second-year receiver Amari Cooper was more forthcoming.
“We didn’t really take advantage of the opportunity, but it’s a long season,” Cooper said. “We have 10 more games left. We have to go out there and do what we’re supposed to do, what we know we can do, and we’ll be all right.”
Cooper ended the game with 129 yards on 10 receptions, but only 12 yards came in the second half — a stat line indicative of the afternoon for the offense at large.
After scoring on the opening drive, the team’s next three possessions resulted in an interception, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs.
Oakland headed into the locker room only trailing 13-10 thanks to a rough first half by Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos, who missed an extra-point and a 38-yard field goal attempt.
The second miss led to a furious final drive, capped off by a 45-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.
The Raiders offense remained quiet to begin the second half, as they punted on each of their three drives in the third quarter. The team didn’t get past midfield until just under nine minutes to go in the fourth.
By that point, the visitors had stretched their advantage to 26-10, thanks to a couple of field goals from Santos and a one-yard touchdown rush for Dontari Poe, the Chiefs 6-foot 3-inch, 346-pound nose tackle.
The Chiefs effectively clinched the win with just over seven minutes to go on the clock. Trailing by 16 points, the Raiders needed Carr to deliver one of the those late-game comebacks he’s become famous for.
Instead, the quarterback scrambled into traffic as the pocket collapsed near the Chiefs’ 20-yard line and fumbled the ball away as linebacker Dee Ford dragged him to the ground.
“We’re sitting here at 4-2 right now. Coming off a day that didn’t go the way that it needed to go on for us to go home with a big smile on our face,” Del Rio said. “We’ll get ready for the next opportunity.”