They took the field Sunday with the swagger of that 5-0 group and quickly reminded Derek Carr and the Raiders how unhospitable Kansas City can be. After Carr opened with an incompletion, the Chiefs stuffed Marshawn Lynch for a 1-yard loss and Chris Jones followed with a sack.
“When I see him, it’s like, ‘I can’t let him down,’” Parker said. “That’s every man’s feeling in this building: When you see him, it’s almost like you fear letting him down.”
In other words –– is it okay to believe in this team yet? My answer, unfortunately, is not quite. I’ve seen too much bad football the last few months to absolve them of that 1-6 stretch. But while it’s definitely too early to say they have a shot at the Super Bowl again, I will say this: I have seen lots of positive growth in some troublesome spots, particularly as it relates to the run defense and offensive line. I’ve criticized the O-line plenty this year because it hasn’t played up to its talent, and the run-blocking schemes –– which were tweaked after the bye, to zero effect –– have confused me. But the O-line finally started moving people on Sunday, and the run defense has quietly been solid since the loss to Dallas on Nov. 5. Don’t bury these guys just yet, but don’t be lured back in yet, either. Make them show you more.
"There is no easy way to put this one," Carr said, per NFL Network's James Palmer. "We sucked. It sucked. It wasn't good enough and you can put it all on me. Don't put your blame on coach, one player. It's all my fault."
In Los Angeles, the Chargers continued their hot streak, winning their fourth straight game and seventh in their last nine games. They did so in convincing fashion, beating Washington 30-13. And just like the game in KC, it wasn’t even really that close.
The win also gives the Chiefs a split of their two games against the Raiders and would put the tiebreaker into place if one becomes necessary to decide the division champion. The Chiefs are 3-1 in division games, and the Raiders are 2-3.
“It was about getting to the quarterback today,” Jones said. “We know he likes to get the ball out fast, and we affected him.”
Player of the game: This was a team effort, perhaps more than most. But defensive lineman Chris Jones was terrific. He recorded three tackles, including a sack, and two quarterback hits, with one that directly led to an interception.
Hunt surpassed 1,000 yards for the season, becoming the Chiefs’ second rookie to surpass the milestone.
"To play the way we know we can play early, then to get challenged and get a rough patch and find our way out of it, I think guys have that confidence now," said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who threw for 268 yards. "All three phases were playing off each other, all three playing good team football."
"We don’t deserve to be No. 1 in our division when we just went out there and pissed on our leg," said tight end Lee Smith.
“Everybody rallied together and supported each other,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Not that they haven’t before, but if something didn’t go quite right (today), they were all in there. They made a point to do that.”
Carr has now lost all four career trips to Kansas City. And despite his final stats and 60.1 passer rating, this one was even worse than his previous career worst performance in KC late last season.