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Gruden: Raiders gave Chiefs too many ‘mulligans’

December 4, 2018
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Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, left, shakes hands with Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden after an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Coach Jon Gruden knows the Oakland Raiders aren’t nearly good enough to overcome a litany of mistakes if they want to be able to beat one of the top teams in the league like the Kansas City Chiefs.

So when the running backs lose three fumbles, a key penalty wipes out a fourth-down conversion and a player jumps offside on a third-down stop that denied Oakland a chance to try to put together a game-winning drive, the Raiders ended up on the short end of a 40-33 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.

The loss made the Raiders (2-10) the first team to be officially eliminated from the playoffs, although Gruden is not quite ready to turn his focus to the draft and the future.

“We don’t look ahead right now. We are looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s all we are doing,” Gruden said. “I’m really proud of our team. We fought back yesterday and made it 33-30 in the fourth quarter. We got them third-and-5, we get a stop and we jump offside. We gave Kansas City too many mulligans. We fumbled the ball to them three times. We had a fourth-and-1 called back, and we gave them first downs by jumping offside. We are not looking ahead to nothing except the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can assure you that, at least on our side of the building.”

Despite another loss that sent the Raiders to their 12th season of at least 10 losses in the past 16 years, Gruden was able to glean some positives, especially with the play from the offense.

Oakland ran for 171 yards for its biggest day on the ground since Week 2 in 2017. The Raiders averaged 6.1 yards per carry but were hurt by the fumbles from Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

Quarterback Derek Carr had one of his best games yet, throwing for 285 yards and three touchdowns, while extending his streak of games without an interception to seven in a row, tying Rich Gannon’s franchise record.

Carr even managed to stretch the field a bit, completing five passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield, tied for his most in a single game in the past two seasons.

“I think the offensive line has gotten healthy. I think that helps,” Gruden said. “I think we’re healthier up front. Derek has played good football. I think that’s a great combination. When you’re healthy upfront and you’ve got some continuity with your linemen, you’re able to pass-protect and block better. It has an effect on every phase of your offense. Derek has been hot. He’s been playing well. He’s really picking up the system well. He made some great audibles yesterday. He made some great throws. I’m excited about that.”

But it wasn’t enough in part because of the fumbles, the holding penalty on center Rodney Hudson that wiped out a fourth-down conversion on the opening drive and the offside penalty against Fadol Brown that extended Kansas City’s game-sealing touchdown drive.

NOTES: Gruden explained why he used a challenge after Kansas City scored a TD late in the first half on a pass to Travis Kelce, even though coaches aren’t allowed to challenge scoring plays. “I knew exactly what I was doing, by the way. It wasn’t a very sensible thing to do but I wanted to challenge Al Riveron in New York City to look at it because I have people in the press box telling me that’s not a catch. Seeing plays overturned by somebody you can’t even see, I thought with three timeouts and seven seconds left I’d use one of my timeouts by giving Al a little extra time to look at that play. I knew exactly what I was doing.” ... Gruden said he wasn’t sure if either OL Donald Penn (groin) or RB Marshawn Lynch (groin) will be able to return from IR and play down the stretch. ... Oakland claimed OL Denzelle Good off waivers from Indianapolis and waived Ian Silberman.

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