Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs now control the AFC West.
Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City’s defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs held off the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to move into a first-place tie with their longtime divisional rivals.
But with two wins over the Raiders this season, the Chiefs (10-3) hold the tiebreaker over Oakland (10-3), giving them a leg-up not only in the division race but for a first-round playoff bye.
“This was as big as it gets for a regular-season game,” said Alex Smith, who had 261 yards passing with a touchdown and interception. “We don’t get caught up in all the must-win stuff, that’s not how we operate, but we knew the stakes for sure.”
Charcandrick West had a touchdown run for the Chiefs, who returned home after back-to-back road wins to beat Oakland for the seventh time in their last eight meetings.
It came at a big cost, though: The Chiefs lost Derrick Johnson for the rest of the season after the star linebacker ruptured his left Achilles just before halftime.
“I felt a little bit of a letdown when it happened,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “But the last thing D.J. would have wanted was a letdown.”
Carr was 17 of 41 for 117 yards passing for Oakland, though the ugly stat line wasn’t entirely his fault. Seth Roberts dropped just about everything thrown at him, Amari Cooper couldn’t adjust to a long throw for a would-be touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and several more passes were dropped to the rock-hard turf of Arrowhead Stadium on a night when wind chills approached single digits.
Latavius Murry led the Raiders with 103 yards rushing and a touchdown.
“I liked our effort, just didn’t like the execution,” said Jack Del Rio, who remained winless in four tries against Kansas City as the Raiders’ coach. “In all three phases we came up a little short.”
Hill didn’t seem bothered by the cold, scorching the Raiders for a 36-yard TD reception before bringing a punt back 78 yards for another score. It made him the first rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 with touchdowns on the ground, through the air and on punt and kickoff returns in a single season.
It was still 21-3 when Johnson went down, and his injury seemed to briefly deflate them. Oakland proceeded to march 92 yards for its lone touchdown just before halftime.
But the Raiders kept coming up empty with their chances in the second half.
Smith threw a pick on the second play of the third quarter, but Oakland had to settle for a field goal. And when Smith was strip-sacked by Khalil Mack on the next play, the Raiders again had to try a field goal — only this time, holder Marquette King couldn’t get the snap down.
The Raiders’ last chance came with about two minutes left, when a questionable pass interference penalty and a fourth-and-4 conversion got them deep into Kansas City territory. But after a false start on fourth-and-1, Carr’s pass toward the end zone was batted incomplete.
The Chiefs went on to pick up the first down they needed to put the game away.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had five catches for 101 yards, his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 yards receiving. That matches the franchise record set by former tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Mack had a strip-sack for the third straight game, and a sack in his eighth straight dating to the Raiders’ loss to Kansas City in October. That matches Lance Johnstone for the longest streak in franchise history since sacks became official in 1982.
Johnson appeared to know he had ruptured his Achilles the moment he went down. He ruptured his other Achilles in 2014 and missed the remainder of the season. … Defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches left with back spasms and did not return.
Raiders offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele was a late scratch with an illness that sent him to the hospital, though Del Rio said he’ll be able to travel home with the team. Safety Karl Joseph was inactive with a toe injury and defensive tackle Stacy McGee was sidelined by an ankle injury.
Oakland remains in the AFC West when it heads to slumping San Diego on Dec. 18.
Kansas City continues its three-game homestand Dec. 18 against Tennessee.
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