There are plenty of winners and losers to choose from. Here are a few that stood out:
- Safety Juan Thornhill: First, he shed a block and forced a turnover on downs with a crucial tackle. Then, he read a a Raiders pass play beautifully, and turned it into six points for the Chiefs with an interception retrun for a touchdown. It was a big game for the Chiefs rookie.
- Defensive Lineman Chris Jones: A sack, a batted pass, a tackle for loss — and continued consistent disruption from number 95. The guy just makes plays — and it makes the defense fun to watch. The Chiefs will need him down the stretch, so hopefully Jones earns himself a big contract.
- Darwin Thompson: The little guy runs hard. After an injury to Darrel Williams took him out of the game, the rookie stepped in and helped close out the game. Thompson capped off a long drive with his first NFL touchdown. With two injured backs ahead of him, perhaps Darwin is showing he’s strong enough to survive — and contribute — into the postseason.
- The Chiefs secondary: In addition to the aforementioned Thornhill, the rest of the secondary deserves some credit. Tyrann Mathieu had an interception to end the Raiders first drive. On numerous other occasions, Carr was buying time to throw but there wasn’t anyone open. Coverage was generally very good on Sunday — and all of a sudden, this group is looking competent and confident.
- Dave Toub’s special teams: We’ve been critical of this group for good reason, but we have to give credit when it’s due. These guys picked up a fumble and blocked a an extra-point conversion that Charvarius Ward returned for two points. Perhaps they are starting to figure things out?
- Chiefs fans: We needed this one. This season has been brutal — with injuries, losses to inferior teams and an inability to close out games. We finally got to watch a game where the Chiefs took it to a division opponent at home — and it was never in doubt. Some of us almost forgot what it was like to not have to hold our breath in the fourth quarter.
- Chiefs run defense: They made some plays today — and shut them down in the second half — but allowing Josh Jacobs to run for 100 yards in the first half means there is still plenty to clean up. A few missed tackles (and a couple of edges not set) is all it takes for things to go bad.
- Sammy Watkins: Three targets, no catches and another invisible week for Watkins. He’s capable of going off at any time, so perhaps he’ll still step up and help this team again. But after a hot start, it’s been frustrating to watch him not contribute for much of the season.