By Nick Avila
In Kansas City, with AFC West supremacy on the line in below freezing temperatures the Oakland Raiders couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities and fell to the Chiefs 21-13.
The win for the Chiefs not only gave them their 10th win of the season, but it also put them into a tie for first place with the Raiders, who fell to 10-3 on the year. With the Chiefs winning the season series 2-0, it also gave them the tiebreaker in the series. To add insult to injury, the loss dropped the Raiders from first place in the AFC to fifth place and ousted them from the first-round bye position they had comfortably found themselves in for over a month.
The Raiders rolled into Kansas City on a six-game win streak and the Chiefs boasted seven wins in their last eight games as well. The Raiders were missing their starting offensive guard, Kelechi Osemele, due to an illness as well as safety Karl Joseph, who was injured last week.
The Raiders caught a break when Chiefs’ punt returner Tyreek Hill muffed a punt in the first quarter, but Oakland was unable to punch the ball into the end zone after recovering the fumble in Kansas City territory. This would be a repeating story as the game went on.
The first quarter was quiet from both sides as the Raiders went into the second quarter with a 3-0 lead, however, the Chiefs made their presence known in the second when quarterback Alex Smith connected with Hill on a 42-yard touchdown to give Kansas City the lead.
After a Raiders punt, the Chiefs would once again march down the field for their second score of the game to take a 14-3 lead. One more punt from Raiders’ Marquette King set up a Hill punt return to the house, which gave the Chiefs a commanding 21-3 lead.
With the Raiders faltering after what had to feel like a hard left hook, Derek Carr led the Raiders on a 14 play, 92-yard touchdown drive to beat the imaginary 10-count. Amari Cooper on the drive was able to beat Chiefs cornerback Terrance Mitchell for two receptions and 19 yards as well as a pass interference in the end zone which set up a Latavius Murray (who finished the game with 22 carries for 103 yards) touchdown run. At the half, Chiefs led 21-10.
The Raiders magic seemed to be in full effect to begin the second half as Kansas City had two turnovers in their first two drives, but the Raiders were only able to get three points off the pair of turnovers and the Chiefs still held a 21-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
One of the turnovers was forced by defensive end Khalil Mack, who earned his third strip sack in three straight games.
With only six points resulting from the Chiefs’ three turnovers, the biggest miss for Oakland had to be in the fourth quarter when Carr had a wide open Cooper down the middle of the field on third down but he lost sight of the ball somehow, resulting in another Raiders’ punt.
It was an uncanny off night for Carr who was limited by the Chiefs defense to just 17 of 41 passing and a lowly 117 yards.
With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter and the Raiders driving, a false start penalty (the 10th penalty of the night for Oakland) would turn a 4th and 1 to a 4th and 6 and a pass breakup from Mitchell would give the Chiefs the ball back. A first down for the Chiefs allowed Kansas City to settle into victory formation.
The Raiders will have a long break before heading to San Diego to face the Chargers in another AFC West battle.