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6 winners and 2 losers from the Chiefs win over the Raiders

The Chiefs’ win in Las Vegas did not start pretty, but it sure did end that way.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Your Kansas City Chiefs flipped the script on the season this week against the Las Vegas Raiders. The team that had struggled in the second half in recent weeks struggled out of the gate in this one.

But after the break, the Chiefs put the game on ice with 17 second-half points. The Chiefs had tried to feature 11 different receivers most weeks, but in this one, they focused their offense on their four best offensive players — and each delivered. The defense that hadn't given up big plays all season allowed two in the first half, but it responded in a big way, holding the Raiders to only a field goal in the second half.

There were plenty of good signs in this one, after several not-so-good signs early on. But, when all was said and done, the Chiefs beat the Raiders by two touchdowns — and they rolled on toward a playoff run.

Here are a few who stood out on Sunday afternoon:

Winners

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: It hasn't been the best season so far, but this game felt more like the Mahomes we know and love: 27 of 34, 298 yards and two touchdowns. Mahomes had some big plays down the field and looked confident throwing to three primary receivers, each getting five or more targets. Perhaps there is something here that the Chiefs offense can build upon.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice: We've been asking for it, and Rice delivered. The team's true No. 1 wide receiver turned 10 targets into eight receptions, 107 yards and an awesome touchdown. I don't care that he had one drop and another that could have been caught but was off target. Keep feeding the kids, and they're going to make plays.

Tight end Travis Kelce: Kelce seemed to thrive in a complementary role alongside Rice in the passing game. He found open spots, got loose in the Raiders secondary and helped move the chains. Seven targets, six catches, 91 yards is a pretty good afternoon of work for Kelce, who also became the fastest tight end in history to get to 11,000 receiving yards in his career.

Running back Isiah Pacheco: This was a solid all-around performance for Pacheco. After losing 11 yards on the first offensive play of the day, Pacheco delivered on runs and screens. He touched the ball 20 times and would have had 100 yards from scrimmage had it not been for the aforementioned loss on the opening play. Pacheco also found the end zone twice, breaking through on short yardage in ways that the Chiefs have struggled for years. Mahomes, Kelce, Pacheco and Rice. That's your offense going forward.

Cornerback Trent McDuffie: Yes, the Raiders completed a couple of passes down the field with Jakobi Meyers against McDuffie and Davante Adams against fellow stud corner L'Jarius Sneed. But McDuffie (and Sneed) would continue to fight and make plays all afternoon. His blitz and batted pass in the fourth quarter ended a drive inside of Chiefs territory while the game was still somewhat within reach for the Raiders. The All-Pro campaign continues.

Linebacker Drue Tranquill: As odd as it is to see a linebacker wearing No. 23, Drue Tranquill still looks right at home on the Chiefs' defense. He was all over the field on Sunday, attacking downhill against the Raiders, who wanted to be able to run the ball on the Chiefs. They had some early success, but in the second half, the Raiders’ drives ended like this: punt, field goal, punt, downs, downs.

One of those turnovers on downs was a huge play by Tranquill and Chris Jones, hitting Josh Jacobs in the backfield for a loss on fourth-and-1 from their own 19-yard line.

Losers

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling: We should give Valdes-Scantling credit for his blocking, as he was instrumental in a handful of big gains for the Chiefs, including Rashee Rice's touchdown. But he continues to be quite unproductive as a receiver. Valdes-Scantling had one catch on one target for a yard lost this week as the focus of the offense heads in a different direction.

Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor: Mahomes was only sacked once in this game, and Taylor has been a big part of keeping him clean all season. But he can't seem to keep himself clean regarding penalties. His holding erased an 11-yard Clyde Edwards-Helaire run in the third quarter, and a false start pushed the Chiefs backward on third-and-goal, eventually leading to a field goal after having a first and goal from the one. When you're the most penalized player in the NFL, you find your way onto the losers list even if you're otherwise doing your job.


Note: Applying the labels "winners" and "losers" is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It's just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.

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