The Chiefs proved, Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum, that even without recently released running back Kareem Hunt they are able to put the ball in the endzone. The Raiders proved that it is tough, if not impossible, to win in the NFL when you are unable to hold onto the ball.
Oakland (2-10) fumbled away three possessions, resulting in 13 points for the Chiefs (10-2) en route to a 40-33 victory for the AFC West division leaders.
The Raiders’ issues went far beyond the inability to keep hands on the rock.
Facing a Kansas City offense absent Hunt, who was released this week after video of him striking a woman in an altercation surfaced, the Oakland defense still could not keep tabs on one of two Pro-Bowl weapons in red and white.
Travis Kelce looked less like an All-Pro tight end marked by the opposition and more like a wild animal galloping in open pastures.
Even with one touchdown recalled after booth review — and another Jon Gruden wanted reviewed but was unable to challenge with less than two minutes left in the first half — Kelce finished a busy afternoon in the East Bay with career highs in receptions (12) and yards (168) to go with two touchdowns, and he did all that on just 13 targets. None of his contributions, though, were more back-breaking for the silver and black than a 25-yard catch and run 10 minutes into the final period.
Attempting to chase down the Chiefs, who entered the fourth quarter up 33-16, Oakland scored 14 straight to pull within three, and had Kansas City in a third-and-five situation.
A field goal would have given the Raiders red-hot offense a chance to go ahead with a touchdown. Instead, Patrick Mahomes evaded the pass rush, the way he had all afternoon, and flipped a pass into a soft spot in the Oakland zone to his tight end to set up a first and goal, and eventual clinching Chris Conley clinching touchdown catch.
The Raiders put three more on the board, but were unable to recover the ensuing onside kick.
Derek Carr was once again efficient in defeat. The Oakland quarterback completed 29 of his 38 for 285 yards — including 10 catches and 97 yards from Jordy Nelson — and three scores. He was also the only Raider credited with a rushing attempt to not suffer a fumble lost — though he did put the ball on the ground as well.
Doug Martin once again got the lion’s share of the carries, gaining 61 yards on 18 attempts. His fumble came near midfield early in the first quarter, and set up a Chiefs field goal. DeAndre Washington gained just seven yards on three carries, and gave Kansas City three points when his fumble came early in the second.
Once again, it was Jalen Richard who was most effective in the Raiders ground game, taking his six totes for 95 yards. But his giveaway proved most costly.
Following a touchdown pass from Carr to Jared Cook, who enjoyed another monster performance hauling in seven passes for 100 yards, the Raider defense forced a quick three and out, but a 17-yard run by Richard ended in a rolling pigskin scooped by Kansas City and turned into seven points.
The result was as good as the Chiefs would have expected: a win behind 295 more yards and four more touchdowns from Mahomes. It was far from clean, though.
Without Hunt, Kansas City had just one runner go for more than 50 yards — Mahomes (52) — and Tyreek Hill, who did run for 37 yards on two carries, caught just one pass, a should-have-been interception that rattled off the hands of Tahir Whitehead.