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Long ago were the days of a 3-4 Kansas City Chiefs team under the microscope of the NFL and fielding questions on whether they still “had it.” Included in this critique was a renewed evaluation of the $500 million man, Patrick Mahomes.
Sunday night’s 41-14 win against the Las Vegas Raiders was a response to the skepticism, a reminder that Andy Reid is still an offensive guru who can deliver the football, thanks to generational talent Mahomes. The revered offense was back Sunday, after nine weeks of mostly lukewarm performances.
For the first time this season, Mahomes went over 400 yards passing (406) and five touchdowns, completing 35 of 50 passes. The 400-yard performance is the sixth of his career, and the five scores eclipsed his total from the past four games combined (4).
Las Vegas held in tight for two quarters, entering halftime down 17-7. The Chiefs began to pick up their scoring in the third, heading into the fourth on a 27-14 advantage and escalating to a 34-14 lead in the first two minutes of the final quarter.
Throughout the night, quarterback Derek Carr became the de facto scapegoat for the Raiders. However, what stood out most from the losing effort was the misguided offensive game plan executed by Las Vegas.
The Chiefs’ run defense is normally a vulnerability that opposing offenses exploit. Kansas City is tied for third-highest yards allowed per rush (4.7) in the NFL and surrenders the fourth-most touchdowns on the ground (11). However, on SNF, they did their job. Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake in the LV backfield were held to 11 rushing attempts, and Carr led the team in rushing with 18 yards on three scrambles.
The Chiefs’ offense was led by Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, who combined for 202 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Running back Darrel Williams, still filling in for Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, ran for 43 yards and also caught nine passes for 101 yards.
Carr’s errant throw to end the third, an interception to Chiefs’ Daniel Sorensen with the team trailing 27-14, did justify calls for Carr to clean up the miscues since it thwarted a comeback attempt, but Las Vegas as a collective was undisciplined all night. The team garnered nine penalties that accounted for 68 yards given over to a Pat Mahomes offense.
An appearance from Marcus Mariota late in the game sparked some replacement talk on social media.
Carr ended with 25 of 35 passing, 261 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Interim coach Rich Bisaccia is still looking for an identity for the Raiders to cling to after a rough couple of weeks, so a QB competition may not be in his best interest. Carr will likely be around for the eight games left in the 2021-22 season.
Kansas City, which is on a three-game winning streak, now sits at the top of the AFC West at 6-4, while the Raiders’ loss puts them third in the division (5-4), ahead of the Broncos (5-5).
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela