Chiefs down Raiders, 35-31
LAS VEGAS - Forget any potential victory bus ride around Allegiant Stadium.
The Chiefs earned a well-deserved rest on the plane ride home.
The Chiefs and Raiders traded punches Sunday night while seeking the knockout blow in an AFC West heavyweight fight.
In the end, it was the Chiefs who survived with a thrilling 35-31 win in one of the more entertaining games around the NFL for Week 11.
The two teams traded early touchdowns and the Chiefs found themselves down 17-14 at the half before taking a 28-24 lead in the fourth quarter. Las Vegas battled back and retook the lead when tight end Jason Witten hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, however, stepped on the field with less than two minutes remaining in the game and led the team on a game-winning drive. Mahomes finished the drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce.
The win ensured the Chiefs, now 9-1 on the season, kept pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0) in the chase for the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC. The Chiefs also opened a three-game lead over the Raiders (6-4) in the division.
Here's what we learned from Sunday night's game.
The late-game drama produced good feelings for Kansas City, but if there's a big takeaway from Sunday night, it's the Raiders figured out the Chiefs' defense this season.
In two games, the Raiders have produced 854 total yards and 71 points.
The Chiefs allowed seven explosive plays, which are defined as 20 yards or more, in the Week 5 loss to the Raiders, and apparently didn't fully apply lessons learned early in the game.
Las Vegas produced a 26-yard catch by tight end Darren Waller and a 29-yard catch by wide receiver Nelson Agholor on their opening possession to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs.
Throughout the first half, the Raiders offense had their moments in the spotlight and scored on their first three possessions en route to a 17-14 halftime lead. The Chiefs' inability to apply pressure on Carr had a lot to do with it, too, as he completed 13 of 16 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown with a 135.2 passer rating in the first half. Carr wasn't sacked in the game and the Chiefs recorded just one quarterback hit.
Any hope of halftime adjustments from Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo didn't materialize in the third quarter. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow came up with a 21-yard catch to set up a wide open tight end Darren Waller's 3-yard touchdown catch. Waller proved a thorn in the Chiefs' side throughout the game and he finished with seven catches for 88 yards and the score.
Agholor also came up with another play for 20 yards in the fourth quarter on a third-and-5 play.
Defensive penalties also haunted the Chiefs in the fourth quarter, as defensive tackle Chris Jones was flagged for being offsides and cornerback Bashaud Breeland drew a pass interference infraction in the end zone on the same drive.
Ultimately, the Chiefs won. But they can't feel good about the overall defensive effort.
CHIEFS OFFENSE DOES ITS PART
While the defense had issues, the Chiefs offense didn't have troubles keeping pace with the Raiders and produced an eye-popping 36 first downs on the game while averaging 6.3 yards per play.
Mahomes completed 34 of 45 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, just his second of the season. Both of his picks this season have come against the Raiders. Mahomes extended his streak of games with a touchdown to 20, which is the longest active streak in the NFL.
Tight end Travis Kelce continued to feast on the Raiders, producing eight catches for 127 yards. Kelce closes out the two-game annual series against Las Vegas with 16 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was plenty involved in the passing attack, totaling 11 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. Hill now has a team-high 10 receiving touchdowns on the season.
CLYDE PLOWS THROUGH VEGAS
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire made up for producing 40 yards rushing in the Week 5 matchup against the Raiders.
Edwards-Helaire gashed the Raiders with 69 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
The Raiders didn't have an answer for the Chiefs' rusher, who showed power on his first touchdown run, which came from 3 yards out. Edwards-Helaire took the handoff and appeared to be stopped a yard short of the goal line, but he kept his legs moving and bounced off the contact before powering through at least two more attempted tackles for the score.
Le'Veon Bell also got into the action with a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, marking his first trip in the end zone in a Chiefs uniform. Bell finished the game with 25 yards rushing and the score on seven carries.
Wide receiver Mecole Hardman spent the past two weeks on the COVID-19 list and missed all the game-week preparation before being activated Saturday.
Sammy Watkins' hamstring and calf injury might have forced the Chiefs' hand to activate Hardman for depth purposes, but Hardman's absence from practice meant he didn't have the opportunity to absorb the game plan.
Hardman didn't step on the field until the fourth quarter when Byron Pringle, who started the game alongside Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson, suffered an ankle injury. But his ability to be included in the game scheme was affected by the missed time.
Hardman, though, came up big late in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard catch, which helped extend the Chiefs' game-winning drive.
Pringle did not return to the game with the ankle injury.
The Chiefs travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11.