The Loss Of Eric Bieniemy Continues To Be Felt In K.C. While Antonio Pierce Is Locking Down Raiders HC Job

There were many storylines from Monday’s Christmas Day battle between longtime AFC West rivals the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders (formerly Oakland and Los Angeles).

The biggest storyline that’s emerged from the Raiders’ surprising upset of the Chiefs is how much the defending Super Bowl champions miss former offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Another positive storyline for the Raiders is the way the team has responded to interim head coach Antonio Pierce. Defeating a desperate Chiefs team led by Patrick Mahomes is definitely the biggest win of the season for the Raiders. Pierce’s chances of permanently landing the job at one of the NFL’s historic franchises has definitely elevated in these past few weeks.  

Kansas City Still Hampered By Poor WR Play

K.C.’s season-long funk continued, from turnovers to drops and just looking disjointed offensively. That’s something that didn’t happen much with Bieniemy in the role of offensive coordinator.

Despite not being the play-caller, he made guys accountable for their play and actions. Some of it was the Chiefs’ doing, but the Raiders definitely played a role in their demise, and that bodes well for Pierce who’s now 4-3 in his interim role. 

Chiefs Are Vulnerable

This is the most beatable the Chiefs have looked in the Mahomes era. This season they’ve lost four home games, including their last three. That’s not something we’re used to seeing from Mahomes, whose two turnovers in seven seconds turned the game in the second quarter.

Following the loss Mahomes sounded like someone who knows if things don’t change their playoff chances are minimal. 

“I still believe we can do what we wanna do,” Mahomes said in his postgame interview following Monday’s 20-14 loss.

But he’s also smart enough to know it’s going take some work.

“It’s just how can we correct it as quickly as possible,” he said. “We’re two games left that are guaranteed and then you talk about the playoffs, and so all you can do is move on to the next day, get better then, and try to be better the next time we step on the field.”

That opportunity will come next week in a big matchup against the Bengals, one the Chiefs will need to clinch the AFC West division title, which is something they failed to do on Monday. 

Chiefs Demise Is Pierce’s Gain

On one end of the spectrum, Antonio Pierce is auditioning to have the interim tag removed from his title. Monday’s win was just the latest in the audition, and thus far Pierce seems to be passing with flying colors.

Beating the Chiefs, which is something they had only done once in the Mahomes era should go a long way in helping Pierce’s campaign.

“Hell of a job by those guys, our staff, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. It’s tough,” Pierce told sideline Tracy Wolfson after the game as tears filled his eyes. 

“This is what we wanted,” Pierce said. “We said enough is enough. … It was going to take all 60 minutes, and it did. Hell of a job by our offense to finish it.”

With a passing game that couldn’t muster a completion after the first quarter, the Raiders finished things off by using a powerful running game (157 rushing yards), led by second-year back Zamir White, who had 145 of them.  

This team has taken on the attitude and personality of Pierce, and that should be enough for Raiders owner Mark Davis to do the right thing and hire him. 

As far as the Chiefs are concerned, they are still a work in progress and still in a position to defend their Super Bowl title, despite the challenges this season has brought and the loss of mastermind Eric Bieniemy.

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