While the Las Vegas Raiders had a commendable story, their recent success seemed more like playing with house money. In contrast, the Kansas City Chiefs entered their Week 12 game with tangible objectives and aspirations for a repeat championship. Ultimately, the home team lost momentum, and the Chiefs, after making necessary adjustments, secured a crucial Week 12 triumph.
The Raiders had an admirable story midway through the NFL season. They won two of their initial three games under interim coach Antonio Pierce. However, the limitations of an interim coach became evident, and teams that have already dismissed their head coach mid-season typically face challenges in advancing further.
On the other hand, the Chiefs had been struggling with lackluster offensive performances, leading to losses against the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. Although there were initial concerns in Vegas, the Chiefs sprung to life after the first quarter. As such, they clinched their eighth win of the year with a final score of 31-17. They also maintained a perfect 4-0 record at Allegiant Stadium.
Chiefs Triumph in Week 12
The Kansas City Chiefs' win against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 12 of the 2023 NFL Season served as a significant morale boost. Despite a sluggish start, the Chiefs orchestrated a turnaround, securing a convincing victory. This win not only showcased the team's resilience but also underscored potential areas for improvement. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes played a pivotal role, exhibiting his trademark skill and composure under pressure. Furthermore, the Chiefs' defense notably improved, particularly after the first quarter. They effectively thwarted the Raiders' offense and set the stage for the team's comeback.
Played our cards right 🃏 pic.twitter.com/PTafUw4N6G
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 27, 2023
However, despite the triumph over the Raiders, the Kansas City Chiefs still face several concerns that need to be addressed.
Coming off a game where he didn't record a single reception and made a crucial drop in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, expectations were high for Marquez Valdes-Scantling's redemption. However, the seasoned wideout only managed one catch here. This resulted in a one-yard loss against the Raiders. Sure, Valdes-Scantling contributes with his understanding of the playbook and blocking skills. However, his offensive production remains limited this season. This is a trend that persisted in the recent game.
Valdes-Scantling deserves recognition for his blocking, though. He notably contributed to significant gains for the Chiefs, including Rashee Rice's touchdown. Nevertheless, his performance as a receiver continues to be lackluster. His performance this week emphasized a shift in offensive focus.
Despite Mahomes being sacked only once in the game, Jawaan Taylor faces issues with penalties. Taylor's holding penalty nullified an 11-yard Clyde Edwards-Helaire run in the third quarter. In addition, a false start set the Chiefs back on a critical third-and-goal situation. It ultimately led to a field goal after initially having first and goal from the one-yard line. Even with his overall contribution to protecting Mahomes, Taylor's status as the most penalized player in the NFL places him on the negative side, despite fulfilling his primary duties.
In Richie James's defense, he performed well on special teams. He even returned a kickoff for 29 yards and a punt for 10 yards. However, his total offensive impact was minimal. He received no targets in his nine offensive snaps and encountered redirection on pre-snap plays. Given the absence of Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney, this game presented an opportune moment for James to make a significant offensive contribution. Unfortunately, this did not materialize, raising doubts about his long-term role.
The entire Chiefs team faced challenges in the initial phase of the game. The offense struggled to gain traction in the opening quarter, amassing a mere 11 yards. This was largely due to limited possession time as Las Vegas controlled the ball for over 13 minutes. Defensively, the Chiefs yielded 144 total net yards at an average of 6.5 yards per play. Although the team managed to stabilize as the game progressed, the slow start initially placed them in a precarious position.
The Chiefs had been the lowest-scoring team in the second half before the Raiders game, experiencing a scoring drought for three consecutive games. However, against the Raiders, the offense found momentum midway through the second quarter and maintained it. Isiah Pacheco scored a third-quarter touchdown, Rashee Rice caught a 39-yard scoring pass from Mahomes, and Harrison Butker contributed a 32-yard field goal. These allowed Kansas City to pull away.
In conclusion, despite the Kansas City Chiefs securing a vital victory against the Raiders in Week 12, the team grapples with pressing concerns that warrant attention. From Marquez Valdes-Scantling's limited offensive output to Jawaan Taylor's penalty struggles and Richie James's missed opportunity on offense, there are areas demanding improvement. The slow start against the Raiders highlighted initial challenges. However, the team showcased resilience, turning the game around and dispelling concerns about their historically low second-half scoring. As the Chiefs navigate these challenges, their ability to address and overcome these issues will be crucial in shaping their trajectory as they strive for success in the remainder of the 2023 NFL season.