Final score: Kansas City Chiefs 41, Las Vegas Raiders 14
Offense (Talon Graff)
There was a hiccup at the start, as the Chiefs’ offense went three-and-out to open the Sunday night contest. However, the Chiefs would go on to score on 7 of their next 8 offensive drives. Had we not witnessed a rare Harrison Butker miss, they would have been a perfect 8-for-8. This was the perfect performance to silence the doubters.
Given the fact that Las Vegas sported one of the worst rushing defenses around, it was reasonable to expect Darrel Williams to go over 100 yards. I can’t say I recall anyone predicting him doing it as a receiver, though. Williams caught the ball nine times for 101 yards. He also made an incredible touchdown catch that would is a Play of the Year candidate. He added 43 yards on the ground as Kansas City’s leading rusher.
Tyreek Hill found the end zone twice on seven catches for a total of 83 receiving yards. He also turned in a single two-yard carry. Hill had a solid outing as the offense appeared in rhythm early. Byron Pringle added another big game to his resume with four catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Mecole Hardman nearly broke completely loose on a big play that went for 27 yards — but otherwise, he and Demarcus Robinson were relatively quiet.
Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes are on the same page once again. The Chiefs dynamic duo appeared to shed whatever has been causing them problems. They were in sync from the early stages of the game and continued to look that way until the final snap. Kelce led all receivers with 119 yards on eight catches.
The offensive line dealt with a good pass rush all night but handled it as well as anyone could have asked. They prevented the Raiders from getting any sacks — and the most encouraging thing was how well Mahomes did within their clean pockets. Andrew Wylie wasn’t excellent, but he stepped up in a gigantic way, handling his former college teammate Maxx Crosby fairly well. The rest of the offensive line played a heck of a game too. It’s one of the best groups in football — and once once Remmers (and/or Niang) get healthy, it will get better.
Offensive Player of the Game: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
He’s baaaack. Patrick Mahomes finally broke out of his slump by casually tossing more than 400 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw the ball over 50 times as the coaching staff rode the wave of confidence that overtook No. 15 throughout the contest. This is not a guarantee that there will be smooth sailing ahead, but this game felt like the old Mahomes.
Defense (Bryan Stewart)
The Chiefs defense continues to stack up impressive performances consecutively. It wasn’t perfect — but as a whole, it was a sound group effort to hold the Raiders to only 14 points. One of those touchdowns came off of a turnover (and therefore a short field for the Las Vegas offense). The Kansas City defense has surrendered just 38 points in their last three games — or 12.67 points per game. That’ll do.
The key stat: the Raiders offense was just 1-for-9 on third down. When Steve Spagnuolo’s unit needed to get a big stop, they were able to do so — in many different ways. Another key stat: as a whole, the Chiefs team had just four penalties for 34 yards. Very few came from the defense. It’s easy to forget, but penalties have a big impact on the outcome of football games.
Kansas City held the Raiders to just 50 total rushing yards on 14 carries, which averaged out to a measly 3.6 yards per clip. The running backs specifically averaged even less. This was critical to putting Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr ‘behind the sticks’ with several third-and-long situations.
It wasn’t a dominant pass rush by any means, but the Chiefs got enough pressure with four defenders to speed up Carr’s mental processing after the ball was snapped. He looked uncomfortable — much like the version of Carr we commonly saw play against the Chiefs before 2020.
Against the Raiders, the defense put another solid building block in place as they prepare for a huge test against the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.
Defensive Player of the Game: Jarran Reed, defensive tackle
Consideration was given to cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, but ultimately it was Reed’s key plays that won him the nod. It was certainly Reed’s most impactful performance of the season.
He did some positive things to help out against the run, but his greatest contributions came as a pass rusher. Reed logged one key sack to halt a Las Vegas drive; later, he hurried Carr into safety Daniel Sorensen’s crucial interception.
In my recent film reviews, I have noted that Reed has been having more and more success winning his one-on-one matchups. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.