This Thursday night game had a little bit of everything. Ejections, a fourth-quarter comeback, controversial calls, and a touchdown with no time left on the clock. Oh, and offense, did I say offense? Points were lighting up the scoreboard all night long. Led by phenomenal quarterback play on both sides, this game had it all, and there was a lot to take away from it. But here are the hottest of takes for both teams.
The Raiders are better with Marshawn Lynch off the field
Marshawn Lynch got ejected in the second quarter after shoving an official during a scuffle on the field. When Lynch left the game, the Raiders were losing 17-14 and were in the midst of their worst quarter of the game. I’m not suggesting they weren’t scoring because Lynch was still there, but Marshawn has never been much of a passing threat out of the backfield and the Raiders need to remember its Derek Carr that’s their franchise player. Sometimes it feels like Oakland gives the ball to Marshawn Lynch simply because they think they should give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, but Carr is the guy that’s going to win them games. Moving forward, expect more games with close to 50 passing attempts from Carr and more playing time to go to other guys like Jalen Richard, who caught four balls for 45 yards tonight.
Alex Smith is the MVP
Despite a second straight loss, Alex Smith is continuing his stellar season. Smith finished the night 25 for 36, a completion percentage of 69.4%, with 342 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort. The game-manager looked more like a gun-slinger at times Thursday, letting loose on deep passes on multiple occasions, resulting in a 64-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill and then a 63-yard bomb to Albert Wilson (which glanced off the hands off a defender, but when you’re hot, you’re hot). Not only is he airing it out this year, but Alex Smith has maintained his ability to take care of the ball; he is through seven now and is still without an interception, the only starting quarterback who can say that. Move over Brady and Rodgers, there’s a new MVP in town.
The Raiders saved their season
The Raiders were 2-4 heading into this game and just lost to the anemic Los Angeles Chargers at home. Oakland was in a bad place heading into this game; Derek Carr was beat up, the offense couldn’t score even 20 points in four straight games, and they were on the verge of squandering all the hype they had entering the year. But Derek Carr rallied this team and won an absurd game, against the AFC West first-place Chiefs no less, and just like that there is life in Oakland. Never doubt the momentum a win like this can give a team, in prime time against a division opponent. The Raiders are not out of the woods just yet but they certainly look a lot better than they did in the midst of their four-game slump. It’s still very possible that three teams from the AFC West make the playoffs.
This will be the Chiefs last loss
Kansas City has now lost two straight games and we’re supposed to say the sky is falling for the Chiefs. But they’ve still looked good in every game, even when they lose. Once again on Thursday Alex Smith could do no wrong, Kareem Hunt was effective despite not getting in the end zone, and Tyreek Hill was just plain explosive. I know the Chiefs play in one of the toughest divisions in football but look at their non-division games remaining. At the Cowboys, at the Giants, the Bills, at the Jets, and the Dolphins. None of those teams are particularly intimidating to the Chiefs right now. Expect the Chiefs to bounce back in a big way the rest of the season, cruising their way to a first-round bye this postseason.
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