Kansas City Chiefs: Defense stepped up when needed vs Raiders

Bashaud Breeland #21 of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepts this pass (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Bashaud Breeland #21 of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepts this pass (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs defense wasn’t looking so hot to start things off on Sunday against the Raiders, but they turned it around when they needed to and it made all the difference.

With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt sent the ball down the field to the Raiders. Oakland had moved the ball almost at will through the first two drives and had a 10-0 lead with a chance to throw a haymaker at the wobbly Chiefs.

All across the country, Kansas City fans were making excuses, which included, but weren’t limited to:

With Raiders quarterback Derek Carr jogging out with the ball at the 40, many Chiefs fans prepared for the worst as Oakland was poised to go up three scores.

Then the darndest thing happened; The Chiefs halted the Raiders and sent them back to the bench with a three and out.

It was astounding.

The Kansas City defense, to this point in the season, had been a complete disappointment. After the unenthusiastic performances in the three preseason games they participated in and then getting shredded by a rookie backup quarterback the previous week, it wasn’t crazy that the most popular topic of conversation in Kansas City is what the Chiefs could do to bring in one of the talented defensive backs in Miami.

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But on a baseball diamond in Oakland, this unit came alive, sandwiching a stuffed run in between two quick incompletions.

It didn’t stop there though.

After Patrick Mahomes completed a long touchdown to a wide open Demarcus Robinson, it was very easy to see Oakland marching down the field again to steal the momentum. But again the defense clamped down, allowing one first down before sending the Oakland offense again to the sideline and from there, the KC Chiefs offense was off and running.

After scoring on two straight drives to the start the game, Oakland didn’t get another point for three and a half quarters. They only had one solid drive in that stretch, which ended with a poor pass by Derek Carr in the end zone.

The Chiefs much maligned cornerbacks had much-needed breakout games. After nearly getting burned early, Bashaud Breeland looked exactly like the player Chiefs fans envisioned when he first visited Kansas City two summers ago, as he got the aforementioned interception as well as blanketing Raiders top receiver Tyrell Williams, keeping him under 50 yards.

On the other side, Charvarius Ward showed some of the promise he demonstrated last year, taking away an interception as well as forcing a fumble (although Oakland recovered).

Finally, there’s Kendall Fuller. Fuller gave up the only touchdown after falling over, but from then on was a menace. He was solid in coverage, came up to make some big tackles, and even got a sack to cap it off.

Last week Oakland did not give up a sack to Denver’s intimidating pass rush, but this week was a different story. The Chiefs forced three sacks and kept Carr running for his life throughout the final three quarters. Chris Jones in particular was a force in the middle constantly forcing Carr to move off his spot and improvise plays.

With all that being said, we still don’t know if this was a one time event or the start of a trend for the Kansas City Chiefs defense.

While Oakland is by no means dynamic, they did put up 24 points on a talented Denver defense. But on the other hand, the Chiefs still feel a bit thin in the secondary.

The Kansas City defense will have its first real test next weekend when they welcome undefeated Baltimore and breakout star Lamar Jackson to Arrowhead for the home opener. Jackson brings a unique challenge with his natural arm talent and unmatched running ability.

Whether Kansas City is up for that challenge and whether they should still be looking for more talent to bring in for the secondary are two questions that will hotly debated both locally and nationally in the coming days.

But one thing that is absolutely true is that KC Chiefs fans everywhere should sleep better feeling a little better about this defense.