Sunday night was a shootout from start to finish, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders going blow for blow in an offensive showcase that saw both Derek Carr and Patrick Mahomes light up the scoreboard and stat sheet. Despite a nearly flawless outing from Carr and a balanced Raiders offense, however, it was Mahomes and the visiting Chiefs who came out on top, avenging an earlier-season loss to their AFC West rivals with a 35-31 decision to improve to 9-1 atop the division.
Mahomes and Kansas City’s explosive offense needed just over a minute to erase a late Raiders lead, marching 75 yards on seven plays in 1:15 to get the go-ahead touchdown and send their divisional rivals to 6-4.
Here are some instant takeaways from Sunday night’s Chiefs-Raiders rematch:
Why the Chiefs won
Who are we kidding? The answer is obvious: They still have Patrick Mahomes. The electric signal-caller wasn’t always perfect Sunday night, with a miscommunication resulting in a red-zone interception and a few iffy deliveries nearly granting Vegas more takeaway opportunities.
But, man, does anyone turn it up a notch in crunch time easier than him? This guy cannot be rattled when he’s needed most, and his arm talent, coupled with K.C.’s bountiful array of weapons, completely undid an otherwise inspiring night for the Raiders during the Chiefs’ final 75-second scoring drive. Both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill made it look easy as Mahomes’ top safety valves. And Clyde Edwards-Helaire was predictably reliable once again as the effective, if lightly used, lead ball-carrier.
Why the Raiders lost
They needed to be perfect, and they settled for nearly perfect. In other words, Vegas had a really good night, all things considered. But you just can’t expect to beat Mahomes and the Chiefs without a Grade-A performance from start to finish, and the Raiders’ few hiccups (a stalled red-zone drive, a couple of big-play drops, no apparent coverage plan for Travis Kelce) proved too big to overcome.
Jon Gruden’s play-calling was balanced and nearly got the job done, but the run game could’ve used a bit more cushion. On defense, well, things were far less encouraging: If not for a Mahomes-Demarcus Robinson error, they may not have stumbled into the Trayvon Mullen pick; and most of K.C.’s weapons just ran wild.
In a game of twists and turns, during which both the Chiefs and Raiders had a grand time moving the ball up and down the field, this was undoubtedly the moment Patrick Mahomes got his hands on the rock with 1:43 to go. The Raiders had just executed a crisp 12-play TD drive of their own, capped by a nice scoring strike from Carr to Jason Witten that put Vegas ahead 31-28. But simply allowing Mahomes a single set of downs for a potential comeback spelled trouble, and No. 15 fittingly proceeded to unleash a handful of too-easy throws to pull K.C. in scoring distance, sealing the deal with a TD to a wide-open Kelce.
Play of the game
Give this one to Carr, who showed off some elusiveness in the pocket early on to escape the K.C. rush and hit Darren Waller, who was a star for the Raiders yet again, for an important first down:
The Chiefs (9-1) will continue their road trip in Week 12 with a visit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3), who will be coming off a slightly shorter week. The Raiders (6-4), meanwhile, will leave Vegas for the East Coast, where they’ll square off with the Atlanta Falcons (3-7), who are fresh off a big loss to the New Orleans Saints.