Coach Jon Gruden's goal is to build a championship team in Las Vegas and the Raiders just took a huge step in that direction.
Josh Jacobs ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and the Raiders defense shut down the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the second half to pull off a 40-32 upset victory at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The Raiders (3-2) had lost five straight games and 10 of 11 to the Chiefs (4-1), and ended a seven-game losing streak at Arrowhead.
The Chiefs, who had their 13-game winning streak snapped, lead the all-time series that dates to the founding of the American Football League in 1960 (when they were the Dallas Texans before moving to Kansas City), 67-53-2.
“I am really proud of our team,” Gruden told reporters afterward. “We beat a really good football team obviously. … We think we have been playing pretty good honestly. We played well in the opener. We played well against the Saints. Hell, we played pretty good at spurts in New England on a short week and I thought we played pretty good against Buffalo outside of some critical errors.
“We are getting better. We are finding ways to move the ball and we got some stops when we needed them, but we still have a long way to go.”
A wide-open AFL-style game broke out in the first half when quarterbacks Derek Carr of the Raiders and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs led their teams up-and-down the field to a 24-24 tie after two quarters.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Jacobs capped a 71-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders ahead, 30-24, with 14:14 left in the game, but Daniel Carlson missed the extra point.
However, Carlson made up for it by kicking a 43-yard field goal with 6:34 left and Jacobs added a two-yard touchdown run with 5:26 remaining to make it 40-24 on the first play after safety Jeff Heath intercepted Mahomes’ pass and returned it 47 yards.
The Raiders limited the Chiefs to 22 yards in the second half until then, but the world champions didn’t give up.
Mahomes, the NFL’s most valuable player in 2018, drove Kansas City 75 yards in eight plays before hitting tight end Travis Kelce with a seven-yard touchdown pass and running back Darrel Williams with a two-point conversion pass to make it 40-32 with 3:57 left.
“If you look at the number of scrambles Mahomes had today, the effort that we had to try to get him (was there),” Gruden said of his defensive line. “This is as hard as it gets; we didn’t have many substitutions available.
“Chris Smith, Datone Jones came up off the practice squad. It was their debut today, and thank God we had them. We had a lot of guys step up, play hard and finish today.”
The Chiefs kicked off deep and the Raiders took over at their own 35, with Jacobs running twice for one first down and Carr getting another on the first play after the two-minute warning with a quarterback sneak for one yard on fourth-and-one from the KC 45.
Kansas City had no timeouts left, so Carr took a knee twice to finish off the most remarkable Raiders victory in recent memory.
“It’s about time,” said Carr, who was 0-6 previously at Arrowhead. “I’ve had a few kids since we’ve won here, so it’s a good feeling. I’ve taken a lot of sad walks up that ramp, you see what I’m saying. But, not today. I’m going to enjoy this one.
“ … I think we have to be able to win football games against these guys to make a rivalry. We hadn’t done that in a long time. I know everyone talks about the history and all of that stuff. (Raiders legend) George Atkinson talked about it to the team yesterday in a team meeting. We have to make it a rivalry, and we have to win games like this to make it like that.”
Carr completed 22-of-31 passes for 347 yards and touchdowns of 72 yards to Henry Ruggs III, 59 yards to Nelson Agholor, and five yards to Darren Waller in the first half, but did throw his first interception in nine games dating to last season.
Waller led the Raiders with five receptions for 48 yards, but Ruggs returned after missing two games because of injuries and made a huge difference in the offense beyond his two catches for 118 yards.
With Ruggs opening up the field, Carr also had completions of 48 yards to Waller, 42 yards to Hunter Renfrow, and 23 yards to fullback Alec Ingold.
Jacobs led the Raiders with 77 yards on 23 carries, while Devontae Booker added 62 on seven, including a 43-yarder.
“Give it to them, they beat us,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said.
Mahomes completed 22-of-43 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns with the interception, with Kelce making eight catches for 108 yards and a score, but the Raiders held them in check for most of the second half while taking command.
“It’s every one of us out there,” said defensive end Maxx Crosby, who had a sack of Mahomes and made two tackles. “As a defense we know that Mahomes loves to extend plays, and we had to give everything we had. I know personally I’ve never been that tired.
“We stayed together, we played with confidence and we just cut it loose from start to finish.”
Las Vegas, which ended a two-game losing streak, can get even more healthy with a bye next week before hosting the Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium.
And after beating the Chiefs, the Silver and Black have to believe that they can make a run at the NFL playoffs.
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