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Raiders Pierce the Hearts of the Chiefs, 20-14

Rallying for Interim Coach Antonio Pierce and fighting for their NFL playoff lives, the Las Vegas Raiders pierced the hearts of the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-14.
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Suddenly, the Las Vegas Raiders look like a playoff team, especially on defense.

The Raiders scored two defensive touchdowns for the second straight week and upset the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, 20-14, on Christmas Day at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

“It was a helluva job by those guys, our staff, and (Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham,” said Interim Coach Antonio Pierce, who is 4-3 since taking over when Coach Josh McDaniels was fired. “We said enough is enough (against the Chiefs).

“Defense, offense, special teams, it was a team effort.

The Silver and Black broke a six-game losing streak against the AFC West arch-rival Chiefs, last beating Kansas City, 40-32, in October of 2022 when quarterback Derek Carr passed for three touchdowns and Josh Jacobs ran for two, also at Arrowhead Stadium.

Jacobs, the NFL’s defending rushing leader, did not play this time because of a quad injury and an illness, but Zamir White stepped up and rushed for a career-high 145 on 22 carries, and was especially impressive in running out the clock at the end of the game.

Las Vegas Raiders Pierce the hearts of the Kansas City Chiefs 20-14

Las Vegas Raiders Pierce the hearts of the Kansas City Chiefs 20-14

"They played a better game than we did today," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "On offense, we struggled. That's my responsibility to make sure we put the guys in the right position to make plays, and that didn't happen the way we wanted it to. I take full responsibility for the way we played offensively there."

The Chiefs (9-6) cut the Raiders’ lead to the final margin on quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ seven-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Justin Watson with 2:42 remaining in the game before White took off like his nickname, “Zeus.”

White ran for six, 43 and 15 yards on successive plays to put the Raiders at the Kansas City 11-yard line with two minutes left in the game, and rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell took a knee three times to run out the clock.

The Raiders broke a five-game road losing streak. They last won away from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas when they defeated the Denver Broncos, 17-16, in the season opener at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

Las Vegas trailed, 7-3, when running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled and defensive Bilal Nichols scooped up the ball and ran eight yards for a touchdown to put Raiders ahead for good with 4:55 left in the first half.

Seven seconds later, cornerback Jack Jones intercepted a pass by Mahomes and returned it 33 yards for his second touchdown in as many weeks to give the Raiders a 17-3 lead with 4:48 left in the half.

The Raiders scored their touchdowns on two consecutive defensive series as they did last week in a 63-21 rout of the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium.

Daniel Carlson didn’t get a chance to kick the extra point after Nichols’ touchdown because of a bad snap from center, but after Jones scored, running back Brandon Bolden took a direct snap from center and ran up the middle for a two-point conversion.

Carlson did kick field goals of 24 yards in the first quarter and 35 yards in the third quarter, which were the margin of victory.

Mahomes completed 27-of-44 passes for 235 yards, but the Raiders’ sacked him four times and forced him to scramble 10 times for 53 yards. He had won 10 of his previous 11 starts against the Silver and Black.

Pacheco rushed 11 times for 26 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs a 7-3 lead with 7:34 remaining in the second quarter, but he left the game because of a concussion in the third quarter.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice led Kansas City with six receptions for 57 yards, while All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce made five catches for 43 yards. Kelce scored four touchdowns against the Raiders in Kansas City last season.

The Chiefs finished with 308 yards after they had minus-18 yards in the first quarter against the Raiders’ pressure defense.

O’Connell improved to 4-4 as an NFL starter, even though he didn’t complete a pass in the last three quarters. He completed nine of his first 11 passes for 62 yards before missing on his last 10 throws of the game.

"Obviously this was a huge game, it's a rivalry game," O'Connell said. "We play them twice a year, every year, so to come into Arrowhead Stadium and win a game like this, it's pretty awesome. It's pretty special for our guys.

"It's a team sport. It was a team win."

Wide receiver Jacoby Meyers led the Raiders with three receptions for 42 yards, while All-Pro Davante Adams was held to one catch for four yards. Second-year tight end Cole Fotheringham made his first NFL reception six yards, and his blocking contributed to White’s success on the ground as he replaced rookie tight end Michael Mayer, who was out due to a toe injury.

Linebacker Robert Spillane had 11 tackles, including one for a loss. At the same time, cornerback Nate Hobbs also made 11 stops, one for a loss and broke up a fourth-down pass intended for Rice in the end zone, and cornerback Amik Robertson made eight stops and broke a pass intended for Rice on the three-yard-line one play before Hobbs’ play in the end zone.

Defensive end Malcolm Koonce made six tackles, including three of the Raiders’ four sacks, had four quarterback hits, and four tackles for losses. At the same time, linebacker Divine Deablo had six stops, including one quarterback hit. Defensive tackle Adam Butler had the Raiders’ other sack.

Linebacker Nick Bolton and safety Justin Reid led the Chiefs with six tackles each.

The Silver and Black continue the season on New Year's Eve versus the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. Don't miss it on Sunday, December 31, at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST.

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