Defense, Special Teams Fuel Chiefs in 40-9 Rout Over Raiders
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Raiders' visit to Arrowhead Stadium in Week 13 loomed as a compelling matchup between the top contenders in the AFC West, but it finished with the Chiefs proving their dominance inside the division once again in a 40-9 rout over Oakland.
The Chiefs (8-4) have won five-straight games against the Raiders (6-6) and 10 of the last 11 between the two teams. The Chiefs have won 25 of their last 27 games against AFC West opponents.
Usually when the Chiefs bury opponents, they do it behind a high-octane offense. But this time the defense and special teams provided the jump start. On Oakland's opening drive, safety Tyrann Mathieu picked off a Derek Carr pass to set the Chiefs up at the Oakland 47-yard line.
That was the first of three Oakland turnovers on the day leading directly to 14 Kansas City points. The Chiefs defense generated just 12 turnovers in the team's first 10 games of the season. In the last two games against the Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers, the Chiefs have produced seven turnovers.
Left guard Andrew Wylie says the offense gets fired up when the defensive and special teams units make big plays.
"The defense plays great, started out with a pick, then got a pick-six, a fumble recovery," Wylie said. "When the defense shows up to play like that, it's not going to be close.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes concluded the team's opening 11-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Darrel Williams putting Kansas City ahead 7-0.
Mahomes extended the lead to 14-0 midway through the second quarter, scrambling 13-yards for a touchdown. Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill picked off a Carr pass on the Raiders ensuing drive, putting Kansas City ahead 21-0 at the half.
Kansas City eventually built a 31-0 thanks to a 50-yard field by kicker Harrison Butker and a 3-yard touchdown run rom LeSean McCoy. McCoy's touchdown run came after a booth review following an interception in the end zone by Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen. The reply official overturned the play, ruling Mullen committed pass interference against Chiefs receiver Demarcus Robinson. That setup Kansas City with a first-and-goal at Raiders 3-yard line.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wasn't happy with the call.
"We had an interception that we felt we did intercept that turned over by the Wizard of Oz or somebody," Gruden said. "I do not know what happened on that. That was a big play in the game, no doubt."
Oakland finally ended their scoring drought with a 34-yard Daniel Carlson field goal opening the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 31-3.
The Chiefs then worked on draining the clock, embarking on a 14-play, 75-yard drive consuming 9 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock. Rookie running back Darwin Thompson ran the ball 11 times on the drive 44 yards, capped off with a 4-yard touchdown run for a 38-3 margin.
Center Austin Reiter said head coach Andy Reid issued a challenge to his offensive line before the drive.
"Coach Reid came over and told us basically, 'End this. Be physical, let's do it," Reiter said. "We stepped up to the challenge."
The Chiefs offense mustered only 259 yards in the game. It's just the fourth time in franchise history the club scored 40 points or more while gaining fewer than 260 yards of offense. Reid said he saw enough good things to feel good about his offense despite the numbers.
"Everything is not going to be perfect," Reid said. "You're dealing with some elements right now, you got to work through those things. There was enough good there that if we start critiquing a couple bad ones, then we're missing out on some pretty good ones."
Oakland finally broke into the end zone with 39 seconds remaining with Carr tossing a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Derek Carrier. But Chiefs defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon blocked the kick on the point after touchdown try. Cornerback Charvarius Ward scooped up the ball and raced into the end zone for a rare defensive two-point conversion score.
According to Pro Football Reference, this is only the second game in NFL history to end with a 40-9 score. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints by that margin on Sept. 12, 1976.
The Chiefs now own a two-game lead over the Raiders in the AFC West with four games left to play. The Chiefs own the tie-breaker over the Raiders by virtue of sweeping the season series between the two teams. Kansas City can clinch the division title with any combination of two Chiefs wins or Raiders losses over the final four weeks of the season.