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Chiefs Failed on Thursday Where They Normally Succeed

The Chiefs were not good on Thursday in a few areas they have been among the NFL’s best at this season

Almost every time Chiefs head coach Andy Reid or quarterback Alex Smith is asked about offensive success, they bring up third-down conversions and red-zone touchdown efficiency.

In the first 10 games of the season, the Chiefs were converting 48 percent of their third downs, which ranked third in the NFL, and they were scoring touchdowns almost 70 percent of the time they got inside an opponent's 20-yard line, which also ranked third in the NFL.

On Thursday against the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs offense really struggled in both of these areas.

"There are things you can do as a coach with play calls and then the guys have to execute," Reid said of the offense. "We're all in it together that way. We weren't as well coordinated as we needed to be yesterday."


It would be easy to point at the playing conditions as a reason for the struggles, but Smith said the weather isn't an excuse.

"It's the same for both teams," Smith said of the conditions. "It was raining on them, too. We put ourselves in some bad spots and didn't convert on third downs and little things that we do every day when we are executing."

On the flip side, the Raiders were executing in those key areas.

The Raiders offense converted 8 of 16 third downs and went 2 for 2 inside the red zone, which are two areas the Chiefs defense had also been very good this season.

The Chiefs defense was only allowing 35 percent of conversions on third down before Thursday's game, which ranked third best in the NFL.

In the red zone, they were only allowing 41.9 percent of drives to result in touchdowns, which ranked second in the NFL.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 12 matchup against the Raiders

"I'm not going to make excuses for our guys," veteran outside linebacker Tamba Hali said. "We didn't play well today. We didn't get the job done. We can't make excuses. We're not in the business of excuses. We have to find a solution, learn from this game and be able to move forward."

One of the most impressive streaks in the NFL this season had been the Chiefs defense not allowing a rushing touchdown before Thursday's game, and they allowed two in the first half, both to Raiders second-year running back Latavius Murray.

"We started off flat," Chiefs linebacker and leading tackler Josh Mauga said. "We started off slow and they did a great job of scheming and playing hard. They're a good team, we knew that going into here and we just have to learn from it and come back ready for next week.

"There's still plenty of football left so we just have to stay together, stay mentally focused. We're still in the hunt so we're going to come back and get ready for Denver."

Despite the loss, the Chiefs (7-4) are still right in the thick of the playoff picture and currently hold the AFC's No. 6 wildcard spot.

For the Chiefs to be successful down the final stretch of the regular season, they'll need to get back to what made them successful during their recent five-game winning streak, which means success on third down and inside the red zone on both sides of the ball. Basically the opposite of what we saw on Thursday night against the Raiders.

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