The Kansas City Chiefs had two goals when they landed at McCarran International Airport to play the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18: grab the AFC’s No. 1 seed and sweep the AFC West for the third time since Andy Reid became the head coach in 2013. All it would require was a win over the Raiders in the season finale at Allegiant Stadium. But getting the 31-13 victory they earned on Saturday accomplished another goal: getting a dominating performance against a weaker team.
To begin the contest, the Raiders won the opening coin toss. They chose to push their decision to the second half, giving Kansas City possession to begin the game. Their first drive started from the 25-yard line after a touchback.
The Chiefs’ offense didn’t mess around out of the gate: on the second play from scrimmage, wide receiver Justin Watson was sent on a wheel route down the left sideline — finding space to gain 67 yards and get to the three-yard line. After two failed attempts to throw for a score, Mahomes scrambled left on third down — quickly flicking a pass forward to running back Jerick McKinnon standing in the end zone for a touchdown. The Chiefs had a quick 7-0 lead.
Las Vegas’ offense came out rolling after a touchback, moving the chains twice and passing midfield before facing a third down; Raiders’ quarterback Jarrett Stidham used his legs to gain most of those initial yards. On a third and 2, Stidham used his arm — converting with a perfectly-thrown fade route to wide receiver Davante Adams. They didn’t convert the next third down, however; Chiefs’ defensive tackle Chris Jones swallowed up Stidham on a third and 6, forcing the Raiders to settle for a field goal. Chiefs preserved their early lead, 7-3.
Looking to add to their initial lead, the Chiefs earned a few first downs — one on a 14-yard gain by tight end Noah Gray. On the next play, Mahomes looked for wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling down the field — but the Raiders’ safety was able to break it up at the catch point. That combined with an inaccurate incompletion to tight end Travis Kelce on third down to set up a punt in Las Vegas territory.
Facing an offense backed up in their own territory, the Chiefs’ took advantage — specfically the starting safeties. After Justin Reid earned a sack on one play, Juan Thornhill flew to intercept a deep sideline pass and get Kansas City the ball back.
Looking to answer quickly, Mahomes found wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster on a deep crosser to get into the red zone. Then they lined up wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the backfield, handing it off to him on a delay to gain 14 yards and be tackled at the two-yard line. That play ended the first quarter.
Running back Ronald Jones took a handoff from two yards out and punched in for the team’s second touchdown of the game. They held a 14-3 lead with the entire second quarter still to go.
Las Vegas knew they needed to answer, and got off to a good start when Stidham found tight end Darren Waller over the middle of the field; he beat linebacker Darius Harris in man coverage; he scrambled for 10 yards immediately after. They continued to march down the field, eventually facing third and short in the red zone; initial penetration by the defensive front was wasted by a good recovery by running back Josh Jacobs to convert.
After a dump off to the running back reset the downs at the seven-yard line, the Chiefs forced short gains to set up third and goal. Stidham tested cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in coverage on Waller going to the corner of the end zone — but the pass was a little too far. On fourth and goal, Chris Jones got quick pressure to force Stidham out of rhythm — and a tight-window pass fell incomplete in the end zone. Kansas City’s defense held the lead at 14-3.
To dig out of the hole, the Chiefs needed help from the Raiders being the Raiders: on a third-down incompletion, defensive end Maxx Crosby hit Mahomes late — giving 15 free yards to Kansas City. On the following play, Kelce nabbed a completion and took it another 15 yards. Two more chunk gains through the air set the Chiefs up at the Raiders’ 30-yard line when the two-minute warning hit.
A screen pass lost yards on first down, but Mahomes’ legs made up for it with a 14-yard gain on third down two plays later. In the red zone with under a minute left, the Chiefs tried to use trickery to get Toney a touchdown — then when a flag negated that score, they got him the ball on a normal jet sweep to extend their lead to 21-3.
Looking to score before halftime with 47 seconds on the clock, the Raiders started well with a 22-yard completion to Adams — then a defensive pass interference call on cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. However, rookie defensive end George Karlaftis continued his hot streak of sacks by collapsing in on Stidham to force the Raider into using their final timeout.
With just over 30 seconds to go from midfield, the Raiders were backed up with a call for illegal use of hands — then Chris Jones helped force an incompletion and set up third and 27. From there, a scrambling Stidham fumbled, and that was recovered by Karlaftis to give the Chiefs one last chance at scoring.
Butker converted the last-second kick, giving Kansas City a 24-3 lead at halftime.
The Raiders began their comeback effort with the ball, driving methodically down the field — converting three third downs and getting into the red zone after 10 plays and seven minutes of game time. Two bad plays put the Raiders in third and 15, where they checked down and settled for a field goal. The successful attempt made the score 24-6 with less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Chiefs’ first drive of the second half went nowhere, quickly. After Mahomes threw behind Valdes-Scantling on a second-down slant, Crosby beat right tackle Andrew Wylie and wrapped up Mahomes to force a three and out.
The Raiders answered with a three and out of their own, giving Kansas City the ball back immediately. Their punter pinned the Chiefs at their own three-yard line.
Digging out of the field-position hole, the Chiefs looked to have a promising drive going — avoiding third down until they got out to the 35-yard line. However, a quick pass to McKinnon came in too hot and couldn’t be handled, leading to a punt.
Starting from their own four-yard line, the Raiders lost a yard on a run as the game turned to the fourth quarter.
After a Raiders three and out, the Chiefs took over from their own 38-yard line and looked to add to their lead. Big completions to Kelce and Valdes-Scantling got them past midfield, then Pacheco found space through the defense to gain 31 yards and get to the Raiders’ two-yard line. A few snaps later, the Chiefs gave Pacheco the rock to score — pushing Kansas City’s lead to 31-6.
Las Vegas put together a good drive, marching 64 yards in 7 plays before entering the red zone. From the 11-yard line, Stidham misfired to the end zone twice — but on third down, he found wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on a route to the corner of the end zone; he beats rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie to the spot. The Chiefs’ lead was scrunched to 31-13.
Looking to run out the rest of the game’s time, the Chiefs were met with a timeout by the Raiders — so they decided to take a shot at scoring. A deep throw to Valdes-Scantling fell incomplete however. On the next snap, Mahomes was sacked — leading to a punt with over five minutes to go in the game.
The Raiders’ attempt to get closer on the scoreboard failed, nearly with an interception by rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie. He dropped it — but it just set up Chris Jones to earn sack number 15.5 on the season. It tied his career high for one season.
The Chiefs took the ball back and handed it to backup quarterback Chad Henne, who managed a drive that ended in the victory formation. The 2023 regular season was officially done, with a 31-13 Chiefs victory.
Defensive end Frank Clark left the game in the second quarter; it was later announced that he would be not return with a groin injury.
Kicker Harrison Butker nailed his first extra-point attempt on the team’s opening drive; he also converted his second and third before halftime. Butker nailed a 44-yard kick right before halftime. Butker converted a fourth extra-point attempt in the fourth quarter.
Punter Tommy Townsend landed his first punt inside the five-yard line in the first quarter. Townsend had another punt downed at the Raiders’ four-yard line later in the game. Three of his four punts landed inside the 20-yard line.
Punt returner Kadarius Toney got one opportunity, returning a punt five yards.
|Yards per play||6.2||4.2|
|Yards per rush||6.00||4.00|
|Passing Gross Yards||202||219|
|Passing Net Yards||181||180|
|Yards per pass||6.50||4.30|
|Rushing first downs||11||6|
|Passing first downs||9||13|
|Penalty first downs||1||2|
|Third down (Made/Att/Pct)||5/9/56%||8/16/50%|
|Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct)||0/0/0%||0/2/0%|
|Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct)||3/4/75%||0/1/0%|
|Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct)||4/5/80%||1/3/33%|
|Extra Points (Made/Att)||4/4||1/1|
|Field Goals (Made/Att)||1/1||2/2|
|Two-Point Conv (Made/Att)||0/0||0/0|
|Gross Punting Avg Yds||49.0||61.0|
|Net Punting Avg Yds||47.0||58.5|
|Total Rtn Yds (No KOs)||5||8|
|Punt Returns (Num/Yds)||1/5||2/8|
|Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds)||0/0||1/25|
|Int Returns (Num/Yds)||1/0||0/0|
|Time of Possession||25:47||34:13|
|Ronald Jones II||10||45||4.5||1||13|
|CHIEFS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|RAIDERS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|Carlos Dunlap II||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0||1||2||0||0||0|
|Sidney Jones IV||4||2||2||0.0||0.0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Neil Farrell Jr.||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|CHIEFS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|RAIDERS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHIEFS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|RAIDERS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|