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Derek Carr hopes to get out of first gear against Chiefs

Chiefs week used to be a special time around the Raiders facility. The intensity would be turned up, and anyone wearing red would be greeted with a scowl.

But quarterback Derek Carr admits a bit of the sparkle has been removed since the rivalry became so one-sided in recent years.

“If we’re being honest, to make it a rivalry, we have to win some games,” he said. “That would make it a lot nicer. They’ve had our number for a little bit, and it kind of makes us mad.”

Carr is 2-10 against the Chiefs, who have won nine of the last 10 meetings. He has 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his 12 games against the Chiefs and has never won at Arrowhead Stadium.

“They don’t like us. We don’t like them,” Carr said. “There’s not a lot of handshaking between the two. Never has been, never will be probably, even though there are friends on each side.”

Things have turned particularly ugly in recent meetings as the Chiefs reign over the NFL while the Raiders continue to rebuild.

Kansas City, which leads 67-53-2 in the series that dates back to 1960, has outscored the Raiders 103-22 in the last three meetings.

Still, the bully has no sympathy for its victim.

“The Raiders will always be a rival,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said Friday.

Here are three keys to watch for as the Raiders and Chiefs renew their rivalry at 10 a.m. Sunday in Kansas City:

Reverse the trend

It’s not just that the Raiders have struggled to win at Arrowhead Stadium. They’ve been bad.

That starts with Carr.

He has completed just 55.5 percent of his passes in the six games there and never has thrown for as many as 225 yards in those meetings. Carr has three touchdowns to seven interceptions in those six games.

The Raiders and their quarterback do have the benefit this year of playing in front of a limited number of fans, so the environment may not be as intimidating as in years’ past.

“Going to Arrowhead against the defending Super Bowl champs, it will never be an easy task,” Carr said. “especially against that coaching staff and that team.”

Coach Jon Gruden said the only way for Carr and the Raiders to change the narrative in Kansas City is to go out and get a win.

“Derek’s going to hear it until we do,” Gruden said. “But he’s the biggest reason I think we have a chance to do it. We have to play better around him. We can’t turn the ball over. … We have to take the ball away. That’s not illegal.

“Yeah, I think Derek would certainly benefit from a big win like this, but so would we all.”

Run for your life

Perhaps the most important thing the Raiders can do to help Carr get over the hump in Kansas City is to run the ball effectively.

It makes the passing game operate more efficiently and keeps the potent Chiefs offense off the field.

The Raiders weren’t able to establish the run in the way they like the last two weeks, largely because of game script.

“To be honest with you, we’d like to stay with the run opportunities,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “We have to stay within our game plan and score dictates that sometimes. We’re always going to be a heavy run emphasis for us. It’s more of staying on track, being able to stay on track in terms of the down and distance.”

Oh yeah, that guy

Gruden bristled at a question this week about what makes Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes so difficult to stop.

“Come on, you don’t need to ask me that,” Gruden said. “Just pick up the film.”

Mahomes is an otherworldly talent that gives opposing coaches nightmares with his ability to make plays in such a variety of ways.

“He does it all,” Gruden said. “He’s a great scrambler. He’s a great passer. He’s a great competitor. He’s a great quarterback. He’s a world champion. He has a great resume, a great future and a great contract to prove it.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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