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Raiders vs Chiefs

Wade Vandervort

A Las Vegas Raiders fan holds a sign during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.

Effort can’t wane regardless of the situation. Same for attitude.

Those are the two foremost tenets interim coach Antonio Pierce has installed with the Raiders since taking over nearly two months ago. The Raiders have never breached the first mandate, as playing with a renewed spirit has been the foundation of the team under Pierce, but they may have come close on the second.

In the aftermath of a Week 12 loss to the Chiefs, the players left in the locker room postgame were gutted. The team seemed to take the loss much harder than their other two defeats under Pierce.

And it wasn’t just because of the way they squandered a 14-0 lead to lose 31-17, but more because of the opponent it came against.

“It’s a team that I’m just tired of losing to,” cornerback Amik Robertson. “I’m so competitive, and (I know) we’ve got the guys, we’ve got the pieces to be able to beat that team. Unfortunately, we took an L and that’s something I thought about for a long time. I’m happy that it’s back and we’ve got another opportunity.”

The opportunity comes at 10 a.m. Monday in Kansas City when the Raiders kick off the NFL’s three-game slate on Christmas Day against the Chiefs.

The team isn’t getting sentimental about the holiday assignment or stand-alone television. There’s too much business at hand, too many demons to exorcise.

No one on the Raiders’ current roster has beaten the Chiefs more than once, and only a handful of players were even around for that 40-32 victory in 2020. Las Vegas has since fallen to Kansas City six consecutive times, and each loss in some ways has hurt more than the one prior.

“I have one wish and present that I want — to win,” Pierce said. “I just want to win.”

Pierce has been around for the last three losses in the rivalry series, and two of them gnaw at him. This year’s defeat and last year’s 30-29 loss in Kansas City are a pair he feels like Las Vegas let get away in many ways.

The Raiders went up 17-0 in the latter game, meaning they’ve gotten off to big leads they couldn’t maintain twice in the last three meetings. Pierce believes the fast starts show the gap between Las Vegas and the defending Super Bowl champions isn’t as wide as outsiders perceive.

“I feel for us, as Raiders, we have to make up our mind and say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Pierce said. “I mean, if we can do it in the first quarter…we have to strain as players and coaches to do it for 60 minutes.”

The two big leads are a major topic among the Raiders’ this week, and top receiver Davante Adams’ take on what enabled them are an “aggressive mindset” the team has employed at the beginning of games. It’s something he feels like they’ve gotten away from once they’ve built a lead, but hopes they wont abandon the approach regardless of the game state on Monday.

And based on the action in the Raiders’ 63-21 win over the Chargers last week, they won’t. Las Vegas kept pouring it on Los Angeles, and not with a dumbed-down game plan despite a big early lead.

They ran gadget plays, employed unique route concepts and threw out brand-new formations. Against the Chargers, the Raiders didn’t look all that different from…the Chiefs themselves.

“I mean, these guys have a million (trick plays),” Pierce said of the Chiefs. “Every time you think you’ve seen one, you’ve seen it all, here comes another one. They’re creative and they have fun doing it.”

They’ve had fun doing them at the expense of the Raiders lately. The one lopsided game in the series Pierce has been a part of, a 31-13 Las Vegas loss in last year’s season finale, featured the Chiefs’ infamous ring-around-the-rosie play that seemed to add insult to their rival’s injury.

Then-coach Josh McDaniels was careful not to criticize or complain about the showy wrinkle. Pierce hasn’t either, but he at least hinted at some resentment over the Chiefs trying to humiliate the Raiders.

“We saw the ring-around-the-rosie deal last year — all fun and games, that’s cool,” he said. “But at some point, the best way to stop a trick play is to do what? Hit ‘em in the mouth.”

Las Vegas has landed a few blows on Kansas City recently, but has never been able to piece together enough combinations to last the duration of a game. It might be important to Pierce than anyone else that they sustain the shots on Christmas Day.

A week after his prospects for the long-term job took a fatal hit in a 3-0 loss to the Vikings, they got back up in a big way with the win over the Chargers. The former Super Bowl-winning linebacker probably only needs a strong finish to the season to emerge as the runaway favorite for the full-time job.

Nothing could be stronger for the Raiders than banking a long-awaited knockout of the Chiefs.

“We’re foaming at the mouth to get that W,” Robertson said.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Article written by #LasVegasSun