OK I’ll say it, Josh McDaniels was right when he went for that 2-point conversion late in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in their Week 5 Monday Night Football matchup.
The Las Vegas Raiders were 1-3 entering the game, and had established an early 17-0 lead on the road at Arrowhead Stadium. Going all in on what looks like a failed 2022 campaign in order to jumpstart your team is the type of play coaches need to do to change the script on a season.
Having a one-point lead with over four minutes remaining against Patrick Mahomes is far from safe, of course. As the Chiefs have shown since Mahomes took over the starting job in 2018, no lead is safe, especially in Kansas City. The raucous crowd that has screamed themselves hoarse for so many playoff losses, has experienced much less defeat since Texas Tech’s finest became the team’s best player. In his second year as a starter, he let it be known that no early lead is too much as the 2019 Chiefs overcame a 24-0 deficit to soundly defeat the Houston Texans in a Divisional Round game. Then Mahomes’ Chiefs overcame a 10-point deficit the following week in the AFC Championship Game to get to the Super Bowl. To win their first championship since Super Bowl IV, the Chiefs came back from another 10-point deficit against the San Francisco 49ers, and secured a 31-20 victory.
Kicking the extra point to tie the game still leaves them in the late-game Patrick Mahomes scenario, but makes it more difficult to get out of the game in regulation if the Chiefs score. A Chiefs field goal and now a Raiders field goal only ties. A Chiefs touchdown and extra point, the Raiders go back down seven. Or, there is that small chance that the Raiders finally stop the Chiefs in the second half. Maxx Crosby was having another strong day, and the Raiders defense was strong in the first half.
The Raiders’ two-point conversion attempt failed, but guess what, that defense that struggled after pitching an early shutout in the first half, finally forced a punt in the second half. There was just under two-and-a-half minutes remaining for the Raiders to get in range to kick a game-winning field goal. But unfortunately for them, Adams juggled a pass while heading out of bounds, there was questionable contact by Chiefs defensive backs on a fourth down play, and the Chiefs are now 4-1 and the Raiders have the inverse record.
Mcdaniels’ goal was to apply some pressure to the all-world Chiefs who were scoring at will in the second half. For those who believe in Karma, you received a win once the Chiefs punted on the following drive. The Raiders showed guts, and were rewarded with having the game placed in the hands of their offense with a chance to win.
They came up short in the end, but that 1-3 team pushed arguably the best team in the NFL to the brink, on the road. While giving up a 17-0 lead always deserves some criticism, the decision to go for two in the fourth quarter does not.
They went for the win just like any team with its back to the wall should do looking to change the trajectory of its season. Josh McDaniel hasn’t been right much this season, but he was last night.