The Kansas City Chiefs took to Oakland on Thursday night with an opportunity to pretty much put the Raiders’ season to bed. In what was a high-scoring and drama-filled affair between the two bitter rivals, Kansas City looked like it had this game wrapped up.
That’s when Oakland drove 85 yards on 11 plays for a game-winning score that came on a Derek Carr touchdown to Michael Crabtree on an un-timed down for a 31-30 Raiders win.
Both Alex Smith and Derek Carr played high-level football. The top receivers for each team also stepped up big time. Meanwhile, one member of the the Raiders lost his cool.
Here are seven players who stood out the most in the Raiders’ win over Kansas City on Thursday Night Football.
Kareem Hunt, running back, Kansas City Chiefs
After a ho-hum rushing performance that saw him put up 21 yards on nine attempts last week against Pittsburgh, this rookie was right back up to his old tricks again Thursday against the Raiders. In the first half alone, Hunt put up 48 yards on seven attempts. That included a 34-yard run midway through the first quarter, which led directly to the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the game.
All said, Hunt would put up 117 yards on 22 touches in a narrow Chiefs loss — the team’s second consecutive defeat. He now has an absurd 1,002 total yards through seven games. That’s about as good as it gets for a rookie running back.
Derek Carr, quarterback, Oakland Raiders
Carr did everything possible to lead his team to victory following a four-game losing streak. And we mean everything. Oakland ultimately came out on top after seemingly scoring twice on the final drive. Then, after two defensive holding penalties on un-timed downs, Carr hit Michael Crabtree on a two-yard touchdown for the game-winning score (watch here).
It was a game the Raiders simply needed to win, and Carr came up absolutely huge. The numbers tell us one story. He completed 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the monumental win. Leadership tells us another story. Carr came up big in that area after drama filled the team early in the game. Carr showed himself here big time.
Jared Cook, tight end, Oakland Raiders
Sure Cook wasn’t able to hold on to a potential game-winning touchdown prior to Crabtree accomplishing said feat. But he came up huge a couple plays prior to that.
On third and long with just over 20 seconds left and the Raiders in desperation mode with zero timeouts, Cook came up with a 28-yard catch that looked to be the go-ahead score. The call was overturned, setting Oakland up inside the Chiefs’ one. Ultimately, the Raiders would score the eventual game-winning touchdown. Cook ended the night catching six passes for 107 yards on seven targets.
Amari Cooper, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders
Cooper entered Thursday’s game having caught 18 passes for 146 yards in six games. He surpassed his yardage total in this game alone, putting up 210 yards and two scores on 11 catches. Cooper’s first score didn’t come without controversy, but he’s finally at the level we’ve seen in the past.
Now at 3-4, that’s huge news for a Raiders team that needs to come up big here over the next several weeks in order to have a shot at a playoff spot. If Cooper’s Week 7 performance extends to the rest of the season, this team will be in good shape. He was an absolute monster on Thursday night.
Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is a gem. He’s proven this time and again during his young career. Thursday against the Raiders was no different. After being held without a catch for the first 20-plus minutes of the game, the second-year receiver put on an absolute show.
It started with this 64-yard touchdown catch from Smith in the second quarter, but didn’t end there. Hill would ultimately tally six catches for 125 yards and a score in the 31-30 loss. He’s proving himself to be an elite No. 1 receiver for Smith, which will come in handy as the season progresses.
Alex Smith, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Continuing with what might very well be an MVP season, Smith was on absolute fire early and often Thursday against Oakland. After opening the game 1-of-3 passing, Smith completed 15-of-18 passes for 187 yards and two scores to close out the first half. His best pass of the game came on a long 64-yard touchdown strike to Tyreek Hill.
Kansas City would come out on the losing end here, but it wasn’t due to Smith’s performance. He completed 25-of-36 passes for 342 yards with three scores and zero picks. Now, through seven games, the veteran is on pace for 4,523 yards with 37 total touchdowns and zero picks. Can you say MVP?
Marshawn Lynch, running back, Oakland Raiders
Lynch stood out for all the wrong reasons on Thursday. While we’re sure that the veteran running back was simply attempting to protect his quarterback, Lynch’s actions were not acceptable. He was ejected from the game in the second quarter after making contact with an official. That carries a large fine and a likely suspension from the NFL.
Then, after being ejected, Lynch originally seemed destined to head to his car and vacate Oakland Colisuem altogether. But he ultimately continued to watch from the stands. This came while the game itself was still taking place. We’re sure to hear a lot more about the incident in question, but there’s no reason to believe the Raiders’ brass will find Lynch’s actions acceptable in this regard.