LAS VEGAS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce with 28 seconds to play, and the Kansas City Chiefs avenged their only loss in the last 12 months with a 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night.
Mahomes passed for 348 yards and led two go-ahead scoring drives in the frantic fourth quarter for the defending Super Bowl champions, who split their season series with Las Vegas (6-4) in dramatic fashion.
Kelce caught eight passes for 127 yards for the Chiefs (9-1), who are in firm control of the race for their fifth straight AFC West title — but only after another comeback led by their Super Bowl MVP, who rebounded impressively from his second interception of the season late in the first half.
“I’d take him over everybody,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes. “And I’m lucky to have him, as we are as a football team, as we are as a city. When you’re behind, he can make things happen. And he sees. He’s got great vision in the things around him.”
The Raiders led 24-21 on Darren Waller’s TD catch on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Mahomes led a 91-yard scoring drive midway through the period capped by Le’Veon Bell’s first TD for Kansas City.
Derek Carr and the Raiders replied with a crisp drive ending on Jason Witten’s 1-yard TD catch with 1:43 left.
But the Chiefs’ powerhouse offense needed only 75 seconds to go 75 yards for another score, with Mahomes going 6 of 7 on the drive. Kelce got open across the middle for a comfortable score.
“The whole thing I was saying on the sideline is, we’ve got Patrick Mahomes,” running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire said of watching the Raiders’ last scoring drive. “I’m not worried about anything.”
Daniel Sorensen then picked off a heave to midfield by Carr with 19 seconds left, and the Chiefs kneeled out their 18th win in the last 19 games since Nov. 10, 2019.
“Proud of our football team and the job they did, reaching down when needed against a good football team,” Reid said. “The rivalry between the Raiders and the Chiefs, I think, is a great thing for football. It’s great to be a part of it. I look forward to more future challenges like the ones they presented against us.”
Carr passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in a strong performance, but the Raiders couldn’t match their offensive excellence in their 40-32 win at Kansas City last month. The Chiefs have won five straight since that defeat.
“It’s as good as you can play,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Carr. “He had four or five balls that were magnificent throws that we could have caught that we didn’t make the play on. He played tremendous tonight. He played almost flawless.”
Nelson Agholor also caught a TD and Josh Jacobs rushed for a score for the Raiders, who dropped to 2-3 at Allegiant Stadium in their new hometown.
Tyreek Hill caught an early TD pass for the Chiefs, and Edwards-Helaire rushed for 69 yards and two TDs as Kansas City responded to a rare defeat with an inspired performance. These rivals’ mutual distaste was obvious throughout the night, with plenty of confrontations and yapping after whistles. Kelce and Johnathan Abram had particularly active mouths.
The Raiders capped their win in Kansas City last month with a victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium in their team buses, a swaggering gesture that annoyed the Chiefs and Reid, who improved to 19-3 after his bye week with this payback victory.
Las Vegas’ defense hung in against the high-powered Chiefs despite having nine players on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, essentially preventing the defense from practicing for its toughest opponent. Six of those players returned for the game, but the Raiders still played without starters Cory Littleton and Clelin Ferrell.
“It’s hard to swallow right now,” Gruden said. “We’re giving great effort. We’ve got to get some people back out on the field playing. Hopefully we can.”
With two touchdowns apiece on their first two drives, both offenses started even more impressively than they did in their first meeting, which was tied 24-all at halftime after 645 total combined yards.
Las Vegas opened the rematch with a 75-yard TD drive, and Kansas City replied with an 85-yard march ending in Hill’s short TD catch. Agholor made an exceptional toe-tap 17-yard TD catch to end the first quarter, but Edwards-Helaire’s first TD evened it again.
Mahomes drove the Chiefs deep into Raiders territory right before halftime, but Trayvon Mullen snared a pass intended for Demarcus Robinson to preserve Vegas’ 17-14 lead. Mahomes had matched Drew Brees’ NFL record by throwing 26 touchdown passes this season before his second interception.
Kansas City matched its lowest first-half point total against the Raiders since Reid arrived in 2013, but the Chiefs calmly went 93 yards after halftime. The drive was extended by an incredible one-handed catch by Robinson and capped by Edwards-Helaire’s 14-yard catch-and-run TD.
The Raiders responded again, with Carr going 6 for 6 and finding Waller all alone for a 3-yard TD on the first snap of the fourth quarter.
Chiefs: WR Byron Pringle hurt his ankle, but returned to the game.
Raiders: RT Sam Young missed the game with a knee injury, forcing Vegas to use its seventh offensive line combination in 10 games. … DL David Irving injured his knee.
Chiefs: Visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.
Raiders: Visit the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
KICKOFF: Raiders receive the opening kick.
FIRST QUARTER: Josh Jacobs with a 2 yard TD run on the Raiders opening drive. RAIDERS 7, CHIEFS 0, early 1Q
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes with a 3 yard TD pass to Tryeek Hill. RAIDERS 7, CHIEFS 7, 4:01 left in 1Q
Raiders Derek Carr to Nelson Agholor 17 yard TD pass. RAIDERS 14, CHIEFS 7 after 1Q
SECOND QUARTER: Chiefs Clyde Edwards-Helaire with a 3 yard TD run. RAIDERS 14, CHIEFS 14, 11:40 left in 2Q
Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 35 yard FG. RAIDERS 17, CHIEFS 14 with 4:36 left in 2Q.
THIRD QUARTER: Chiefs Clyde Edwards-Helaire with a 14 yard TD run. CHIEFS 21, RAIDERS 17 midway through 3Q
FOURTH QUARTER: Raiders Derek Carr with 3 yard TD pass to Darren Waller. RAIDERS 24, CHIEFS 21, early in 4Q
Chiefs Lavian Bell with a 6 yard TD run. CHIEFS 28, RAIDERS 24 with 5:54 left in 4Q
Raiders Derek Carr with a 1 yard TD pass to Jason Witten. RAIDERS 31, CHIEFS 28 – 1:48 left in regulation
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes with a TD pass to Travis Kelce with :28 seconds left in game. CHIEFS 35, RAIDERS 31.
FINAL: CHIEFS 35, RAIDERS 31
The Las Vegas Raiders needed to alter their style when they finally broke through last month with their first win in Kansas City in eight years.
Derek Carr delivered the most prolific deep passing game of his career, coach Jon Gruden called for two successful fourth-down gambles and a much-maligned defense came up with a couple of key defensive stops to outpace Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Pulling off the season sweep against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (8-1) will be an even taller task for the Raiders (6-3) on Sunday night.
“They’re the world champions. You have to do whatever it takes to try and win the game,” Gruden said. “That particular day, it just seemed to be a shootout. There’s no guarantee we’re going to make a first down this time. We’ll see how it goes.”
Carr, who has been criticized throughout his career for being too quick to check the ball down, was as aggressive as ever during the 40-32 win in Week 5. His 219 yards passing on deep throws were 79 more than his next biggest game of his seven-year career as he connected on long scoring strikes to Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor, as well as two other deep throws to Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow.
The ultra-aggressive approach appeared to catch the Chiefs by surprise that day as their defensive backs seemed to jump at underneath routes and leave room to operate deep.
“They made some good plays, they came out on fire,” cornerback Charvarius Ward said. “They had a good game plan. They had an answer for the things were doing, but this week we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The Raiders’ defense is playing its best football in years heading into this game, allowing 14.7 points per game and a 68.1 passer rating the past three weeks after forcing five turnovers in a win over Denver last week. Slowing the Chiefs will be much harder, especially since most of the defense missed practice all week on the COVID-19 list.
Starting defensive end Clelin Ferrell tested positive early in the week, joining linebacker Cory Littleton on the list. Eight other defensive players were placed on the COVID-19 list as “high risk” close contacts, including starters Lamarcus Joyner, Maliek Collins, Johnathan Abram and Johnathan Hankins. Those players could return by Sunday if they keep testing negative, but won’t be able to practice all week.
LINE ’EM UP
It remains to be seen who will start on the offensive line for Kansas City with right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and left tackle Eric Fisher joining Martinas Rankin on the COVID-19 list this week. Schwartz also has been out with a back injury.
“I’m just going to take it day by day, but we’ll see how that goes, see how they feel and everything else,” said coach Andy Reid, who did say he’d be willing to play someone who missed an entire week of practice. “We’ll just see how everything works out.”
WIDE OPEN SPACES
The Chiefs also could be without wide receiver Mecole Hardman because of COVID-19, but his absence should be offset by the return of Sammy Watkins. The former first-round pick has been dealing with a hamstring injury since the early part of October, but he returned to practice before the bye and was involved in game prep this week.
“He’s someone who is a threat in every way,” Mahomes said. “Hopefully he’ll be back out there.”
The Raiders have gone to a throwback style during their three-game winning streak, rushing for 190.7 yards per game, while gaining only 138 per game passing. That’s the second highest rushing total and second lowest passing total in the league in that span. This is the fifth time in Raiders history they have run for at least 150 yards and passed for fewer than 200 in three straight wins in a season.
“If we have to do that to win, awesome. If we don’t, awesome,” Carr said. “There have been times against the Chiefs where it’s been shootouts. I’ve done it against Alex (Smith), with Patrick, and there’s been games like that. There’s also times where the running game is there, so it just really depends. Whatever we have to do to win, that’s what I’m ready to do.”
For the fourth time in five seasons, the Chiefs will have a bye before playing the Raiders. Kansas City won all four of those contests, part of Reid’s 18-3 record in the regular season after a week off. The Raiders haven’t had a bye before playing the Chiefs since but then again it might not be an advantage if they did. They are 3-15 following a week off since 2003.
“I’m sure that’s just a coincidence,” Gruden said. “I don’t know. I don’t think about it. The schedule is the schedule. You have to adapt to it and that’s what we’ll do.”