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Defense steps up as Chiefs hammer Raiders 35-3 to win the AFC West

Yes, Virginia... your AFC West champions will play at Arrowhead Stadium throughout the postseason.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs defense took the lead in the first half — notching four turnovers and a touchdown — and the offense played consistently enough throughout to run up a 35-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders to finish the 2018 season 12-4, winning their third consecutive AFC West title.

First quarter

The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half. Tremon Smith returned the opening kickoff to the 26-yard line, but a holding penalty on Demetrius Harris started the Chiefs at the 15. Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass on the first three plays. On the first, Demarcus Robinson was wrapped up, and couldn’t bring in the ball. The second pass to Tyreek Hill was off-target, and nearly intercepted. On the third, Mahomes was chased and enveloped by the Raiders pass rush, but still managed to get a pass off to Anthony Sherman, who rumbled for 12 yards and a first down. Damien Williams picked up four on first down, another yard on second, and on third down, Mahomes went for broke — dropping a dime into Hill’s arms for a 67-yard touchdown that gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead with 12:43 left in the first quarter.

With the reception, Hill set a Chiefs franchise record for receiving yards.

After a touchback, the Raiders handed off to Doug Martin for a four-yard gain, and picked up a first down with a sideline pass to Jordy Nelson good for 12. Derek Carr connected with Seth Roberts on an eight-yard pass play. Then the Raiders went back to Martin up the middle, but Allen Bailey stopped him for a three-yard loss and forced a fumble, which the Chiefs recovered at the Oakland 45.

Hill gained five yards around left end, but then Mahomes couldn’t connect with Travis Kelce on consecutive passes, and the Chiefs were forced to punt. Dwayne Harris fair-caught the kick at the Oakland 12.

Carr opened with a four-yard completion to Nelson, and then handed off to Roberts, who was dropped for a four-yard loss. Carr tried Roberts with a pass that was good for 10 yards and a first down. Then Martin found running room on the inside, and broke for a 15-yard gain. Carr couldn’t connect with Marcell Ateman, and then got eight yards on a pass to Nelson, which brought up third-and-two.

Oakland took a time out and decided to try a handoff to Martin, who gained five yards to convert the first down. Carr then tried a deep pass to Nelson down the right sideline, but Charvarius Ward broke up the play. On the next snap, Carr saw a one-and-one matchup with Jared Cook against Daniel Sorensen on the right side — but Cook apparently didn’t get the memo, allowing Sorensen to make a heads-up interception that he returned for a 54-yard touchdown. That stretched the Chiefs’ lead to 14-0 with 5:44 left in the first quarter.

Harris returned the kickoff to the 25-yard line, and the Raiders got 10 yards and a first down on a pair of runs by Martin. Carr found Nelson with a six-yard pass, and got another first down with a four-yard pass to Darren Waller. Atemen got seven yards with a completion that put the Raiders across midfield, and Martin picked up another first down with a four-yard run up the middle. Then the Raiders were called for delay of game.

Carr hit Roberts for a five-yard gain, and then Nelson for another nine yards just short of the sticks. Oakland was called for a false start as the quarter came to a close.

Second quarter

When play resumed, Cook had a completion good for seven yards and a first down, and Carr couldn’t connect with Ateman. On the next play, Justin Houston broke through and sacked Carr for a seven-yard loss — and forced a fumble that he recovered at the Kansas City 40-yard line.

Mahomes started with a miss to Kelce that was nearly picked off. Williams gained six yards around right end, and Mahomes picked up a first down with a eight-yard pass to Kelce, followed by another one to Williams. Then Kelce got 19 yards on a pass across the middle that put the Chiefs in the red zone, and Kelvin Benjamin hauled in a nine-yard pass that put the Chiefs on the 10. Darrel Williams came in and gained six yards off left tackle, Mahomes scrambled for two, and Damien Williams powered through the middle for a four-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 with 9:31 left in the half.

Harris returned the kickoff to the Oakland 34. Martin ran for four up the middle, and Carr hit A.J. McCarron for a 10-yard gain that put the Raiders at midfield with a first down. Martin went around left end for seven yards, and then Carr tried a pass to Nelson across the middle — but Reggie Ragland intercepted the ball, and returned it 67 yards to the Oakland four-yard line.

Mahomes’ pass to Chris Conley in the end zone bounced off his hands, Damien Williams was stuffed for no gain, and then the Chiefs tried a shovel pass to Kelce that was stopped within inches of the goal line. The Chiefs elected to go for it, but Williams was stopped for a one-yard loss, and the Raiders took over tat their own two-yard line.

Martin gained four on an inside run to the left, and another eight on one to the right. Then he gained 13 yards up the middle before giving way to DeAndre Washington, who gained 11 yards around left end. Carr’s first pass of the drive fell incomplete, and then he found Waller for an 11-yard gain that put Oakland at midfield. Marin went off tackle right for four yards, and Carr found Roberts with a pass just short of the first down as the two minute warning sounded.

When play resumed, Waller got a first down with an eight-yard pass, and Carr went incomplete to Nelson. Jalen Richard gained two on an inside run, but on third down, Carr couldn’t connect with Cook, and the Raiders had to settle for a 50-yard field goal that made the score 21-3 with 1:09 left in the half.

The Chiefs started at the 25 after a touchback, and Kelce started with a nine-yard reception. Hill got 10 yards with another pass. The Mahomes went deep — but not quite deep enough. His pass to Hill at the goal line was underthrown, Gareon Conley intercepted the ball. and the Raiders had the ball at their own three-yard line with 42 seconds left in the half.

The Raiders went three-and-out on consecutive running plays — as the Chiefs burned up their timeouts — and punted it back to the Chiefs with 24 seconds left. But after an illegal block penalty on Gehrig Dieter during the return — which pushed the Chiefs back to the 33-yard line — the Chiefs knelt to end the half on a 21-3 lead.

Third Quarter

A touchback started the second half, and Carr handed it off to Martin for an eight-yard gain to begin the drive, and then another around right end that gained three and a first down. Nelson had a ten-yard completion, and Cook had another for 13 more that put Oakland in Chiefs territory. Martin gained five up the middle, and then Carr went deep to Nelson on the right sideline to the Chiefs 10 — but the play was called back when Brandon Parker was called for holding. On the next play, Dee Ford strip-sacked Carr, but the Raiders recovered the loose ball. That brought up third-and-20, and Carr’s 10-yard pass to Nelson in the flat wasn’t nearly enough. The Raiders downed their punt at the Kansas City one-yard line.

Damien Williams gained two up the middle, and Mahomes hit Hill for eight yards and a first down. Mahomes’s pass to Conley was incomplete, and then he missed another pass to Kelce that brought up third-and-10. The Raiders brought pressure, but Mahomes stepped up in the pocket and went deep to Demarcus Robinson, who broke away from coverage and danced backwards into the end zone. which extended the Chiefs’ lead to 28-3 with 6:33 left in the third quarter.

The 89-yard touchdown pass gave Mahomes 50 touchdown passes and more than 5,000 yards on the season, becoming only the second in NFL history to accomplish the feat — and at 23 years old, the youngest.

Starting at their own 43 after a 34-yard kickoff return by Harris, the Raiders handed off to Richard, who tried the left and and was pushed out of bounds for no gain. Carr hit him with a pass good for eight yards, but on the next play, Richard was stopped for a loss of a yard. That brought up fourth-and-3, and the Raiders converted it with a three-yard pass to Roberts.

On the next play, Houston and Xavier Williams combined to sack Carr for an eight-yard loss. Carr’s next pass to Martin went incomplete, and the third-down nine-yard pass to Richard wasn’t enough to move the sticks. The Raiders punted, and Hill fair-caught the ball at the Chiefs eight-yard line.

Damien Williams gained a tough yard, and Hill got a first down with an 11-yard completion. Mahomes tried Conley, but the ball was knocked away. Then Williams broke for a 15-yard gain off right tackle, repeated for six more, and went up the middle for five more. Darrel Williams came in to gain a yard as the third quarter ended.

Fourth Quarter

As the quarter began, Damien Williams returned to get another first down with a 13-yard run around right end. Under pressure, Mahomes escaped the rush and found Kelce in the middle, who stiff-armed his way to the Oakland 15 for a 25-yard gain.

That completion gave Kelce 62 yards in the game, surpassing the NFL single-season record for receiving yards for a tight end.

On the next play, Hill went around left end for a 15-yard touchdown run, which gave the Chiefs a 35-3 lead with 13:25 left in the game.

Starting at their 25 following a touchback, the Raiders went to Martin for six yards up the middle, and then gained nine with a pass to Nelson. Carr tried a short pass to Martin that gained a yard, and then handed to Martin, who tried the right end and was dropped for a five-yard loss. That brought up third-and-14, and Cook’s eight-yard reception wasn’t enough to convert. Johnny Townshend punted into the end zone.

Chad Henne came into the game at quarterback and handed off to Damien Williams, who lost a yard on first down. Then Henne found Gehrig Dieter across the middle for a 22-yard gain. Darrel Williams gained five yards around right end, and then three yards off left tackle. Henne found Anthony Sherman for a seven-yard pass good for a first down. Charcandrick West came in and lost two yards on a handoff. Williams gained six around right end, five off left tackle — and on fourth-and-1 — gained two up the middle for a first down. Henne gained three yards on a keeper around left end, and Williams gained a yard as the two minute warning was sounded.

A run for no gain and incomplete pass later, the Chiefs handed the ball over on downs. Three plays later, the Chiefs became the AFC West champions for the third consecutive season — and holders of the number one seed in the postseason — with a 35-3 victory.

Full game stats from

Stats Headlines

Patrick Mahomes threw for 281 yards, with 14 completions on 24 attempts, two touchdowns and one interception, compiling a passer rating of 109.9 on the day. He was not sacked.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr was 24 for 33, totaling 185 yards, no touchdown passes and two interceptions. His passer rating for the game was 60.8. The Chiefs sacked him three times, and he fumbled twice.

Tyreek Hill led Chiefs receivers with 101 yards on five receptions and a touchdown. Demarcus Robinson had 89 yards a touchdown on one catch, and Travis Kelce had five receptions for 62 yards.

Damien Williams rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries — along with a recption good for eight yards — and had a rushing touchdown. As a team, the Chiefs gained 99 yards on the ground on 27 attempts.

The Chiefs allowed 292 total yards to the Raiders — 127 yards rushing, and 165 through the air.


Jeff Allen left the game in the first quarter, and was replaced by Cameron Erving at left guard. Reggie Ragland injured his hip during his interception return in the second quarter, and was listed as a questionable return.


Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, offensive linemen Kahlil McKenzie and Jimmy Murray, safety Eric Berry, running back Spencer Ware, tight end Deon Yelder and linebacker Tanoh Kpassagnon were all inactive for the game. Derrick Nnadi left the game with a concussion.

Next week

The Chiefs have the week off — yes, the BYE WEEK — before playing the lowest remaining AFC seed AT ARROWHEAD in two weeks.

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