The Las Vegas Raiders hosted the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night in a pivotal AFC West division matchup with sole possession of first place in the division up for grabs. Despite both teams entering the game with winning records, both teams entered the game with serious question marks hanging over their heads. In the end, the Chiefs answered those questions, and the Raiders may have created even more they will need to find answers to.
The Chiefs looked like the unstoppable force of years past as they turned a competitive game early on into a 41-14 blowout. The Raiders were beat in all aspects of the game as they failed to contain the Chiefs offense and struggled to move the ball on their offensive chances.
“Guys were getting open,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said after the game. “Guys were beating double teams, guys were getting open in their zone coverages and I was getting the ball to them.”
The Raiders defense got off to a hot start as they forced a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession. Among the Chiefs’ first three plays was a scramble by Patrick Mahomes that ended with a left-handed completion.
The Raiders would drive halfway down the field on the following possession and punt after a false start by rookie RG Alex Leatherwood on 4th down. The Raiders were lined up in a Marcus Mariota sub-package with Carr split out wide and brought out the punting unit after the penalty.
The Chiefs would drive down the field on the following possession with big plays to TE Travis Kelce and RB Darrel Williams before Mahomes threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to WR Tyreek Hill for the first score of the game.
Momentum appeared to be swinging in the Chiefs’ favor after the Chiefs forced a three-and-out on the following drive, forcing a punt. But Chiefs CB Mike Hughes fumbled at the end of a long return and the Raiders recovered. Unfortunately, Raiders FB Alec Ingold was injured on the play and is feared to have suffered a season-ending torn ACL.
On the next play after the fumble, Carr connected with WR Bryan Edwards for 27 yards to set the Raiders up at the edge of the redzone. Carr would cap off the short drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to WR Hunter Renfrow to get the Raiders on the board and tie the game.
The Chiefs offense continued to look hot as they quickly moved the ball deep into Raiders territory, but they would settle for a field goal from Harrison Butker to take a 10-7 lead.
The Chiefs appeared able to move the ball at will against the Raiders defense throughout the first half and scored another touchdown before half. Mahomes capped off a 10-play, 58-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Hill once again with under two minutes to play in the first half.
Chiefs would get the ball one last time in the first half but Butker would miss a 46-yard field goal as time expired. Chiefs took a 17-7 lead into the locker room, and the score could have been much more lopsided. The Chiefs dominated the half other than the Raiders’ lone scoring drive.
The second half opened in a flash for the Raiders as they quickly executed a 5-play, 75-yard drive capped off by Carr throwing a 37-yard bullet to WR Bryan Edwards for a score.
But the Chiefs offense looked just as sharp as they did in the first half as they executed a 13-play, 82-yard touchdown drive that ended in Mahomes’ third touchdown pass of the night to rookie TE Noah Gray, the first of Gray’s career.
New Raiders WR DeSean Jackson had his first catch as a Raider spoiled, getting stripped by Chiefs CB Rashad Fenton when Jackson appeared to be running free to the end zone after bringing down a deep ball from Carr. Chiefs would recover and take over while holding a two-possession lead. Eight plays later, the Chiefs would extend their lead to 27-14 with a 35-yard Butker field goal.
Carr would be picked off after chucking up a prayer to nobody in particular while under pressure, and the turnover would prove costly. Chiefs would execute a fake punt to extend their drive, and Mahomes would eventually find Darrel Williams deep for a 38-yard touchdown as Williams made a phenomenal 1-on-1 catch against Johnathan Abram in the endzone, extending the Chiefs lead to 34-14.
The Chiefs would truly turn the game into a blowout when Mahomes threw his fifth touchdown and 400th passing yard of the night on the same play, a 22-yard touchdown to WR Byron Pringle that made the score 41-14.
“Very disappointing performance today by all of us,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said after the game. “Start with certainly minus again in turnovers. Just way too many penalties… This is the kind of game you really got to play well in all three phases, playing against a team like this, and we really didn’t play well in any of the three phases.”
The Raiders will have some serious soul searching to do following this loss to the Chiefs. The offense has not looked the same since the release of Henry Ruggs III, and the early season “Derek Carr for MVP” conversations are a distant memory. Things are not going right for this team right now, and they’ll have to respond quickly. The Cincinnati Bengals come to town next Sunday. The Bengals are a young team coming off a bye and are hopeful to make the playoffs.
The Chiefs got a vintage Patrick Mahomes performance and now hold sole possession of first place in the AFC West. Although the standings are much closer than many predicted when the season began, the Chiefs once again look like the favorites to win the division. If Kansas City wins the division this year, it would be their sixth-straight AFC West title.
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