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Chiefs vs. Raiders: 10 Observations

Posted Oct 20, 2017

Here are some things that stood out Thursday night

The Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) dropped a tough one Thursday night to the Oakland Raiders (3-4) by a score of 31-30.

In a game that went back and forth all night long, the Raiders made a few more plays when it mattered and that proved to be the difference.

The win also broke the Raiders’ four-game losing streak and has made the AFC West race that much more interesting as we head towards Week 8 of the NFL season.

Here are 10 observations from Thursday night:

1. Chiefs fall on last-second touchdown pass

It was one of the crazier endings you’ll ever see in a game.

Trailing by a score of 30-24 late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game.

They had an opportunity.

Led by quarterback Derek Carr, who finished 29 of 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns, the Raiders proceeded to march 85 yards down the field on 11 plays on a drive that culminated with a two-yard touchdown from Carr to receiver Michael Crabtree.

The Chiefs were unable to get much pressure on Carr on the night and finished without a sack.

The final play came on the third untimed down of the drive because of two penalties in the end zone by the Chiefs’ defense after time had expired. The absence of either penalty would have resulted in a Chiefs’ win as both of the passes were incomplete.

But they kept getting chances, and ultimately, Carr found Crabtree in the front corner of the end zone on a little roll-out play that proved to be the difference.

Kicker Girogio Tavecchio then hit the extra point, which gave the Raiders the victory, 31-30.

2. Both offenses put up big numbers, Alex Smith stays hot against the Raiders

Including his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Smith came into the game with a 9-1 overall record against the Raiders.

In those games, Smith had completed 63.1 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. That’s more touchdowns than he’d thrown against any other team.

He added to that total Thursday night.

Smith finished 25 of 36 for 342 yards and three touchdowns, which gives him 15 touchdown passes through seven games—the same number he had in 15 regular-season games last season.

It also marks the third game this season in which Smith has had at least 300 yards passing and three touchdowns—a mark he has only hit five times in his career, which spans 148 regular-season games.

Overall, the Chiefs and Raiders combined to put up 930 yards of offense and 61 points.

It’s the second-straight game in which the Chiefs’ defense has allowed at least 430 yards of offense.

3. A fortuitous bounce leads to a long Albert Wilson touchdown

The Raiders took the lead in the third quarter after a tough touchdown run from DeAndre Washington, who fought his way through a couple of missed tackles into the end zone.

It gave the Raiders a 21-20 lead with 10:45 left in the third quarter.

But the Chiefs would respond.

Facing a third-and-long, Smith threw one deep down the middle to receiver Albert Wilson, who was questionable coming into the game with a knee issue, and Raiders’ cornerback Keith McGill deflected the pass and almost made the interception. The ball flew up into the air and Wilson came down with it and raced for the end zone.

It resulted in a 63-yard touchdown and gave the Chiefs the lead back at 27-21 with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter.

It’s the longest play of Wilson’s career.

4. Smith tried to overthrow Tyreek Hill, but he caught up to it

The Chiefs responded in a big way after being backed up to their own 1-yard line to begin their drive midway through the second quarter.

While trailing 14-10, the Chiefs threw the ball on first down as Smith stood in his own end zone, and he hit Demarcus Robinson down the right sideline for a gain of 33 yards, which gave the Chiefs some much-needed breathing room.

And after a two-yard run from Hunt, Smith then hit Tyreek Hill on a go-route down the right sideline for a 64-yard touchdown.

Hill seemed to hit another gear as the ball was in the air and looked to possibly be overthrown, but that’s hard to do with the NFL’s fastest player. He caught up to it and made the fingertip catch before racing into the end zone with his patented “peace” sign.

It’s also worth noting that Hunt had a phenomenal blitz pickup on a free rusher coming up the middle on the play. There’s no way Smith has time to make that throw if it weren’t for Hunt’s block.

Hill, who finished the game with six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, now has 16 touchdowns in his career, and half of them have gone for 50-plus yards.

5. Kareem Hunt does it again

On the Chiefs’ opening drive of the game, there was obviously a concerted effort to run the football.

The first four plays of the game were all runs with rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who gained 10 yards in total after coming into the game as the league’s leading rusher.

Hunt finished the game with 18 carries for 87 yards, and had four catches for 30 yards as well, which extends his own NFL-record now to seven-straight games to begin a career with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

6. Chiefs responded with a touchdown after Raiders took an early lead

On the ensuing drive after Derek Carr’s 38-yard touchdown pass to receiver Amari Cooper, which was helped by fact that Chiefs’ cornerback Terrance Mitchell appeared to have been pushed to the ground by Cooper, the Chiefs responded with a nice drive of their own.

Smith led the Chiefs on a seven-play, 82-yard drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Smith to tight end Travis Kelce.

The drive was extended after a 15-yard “roughing the passer” penalty was called on Raiders’ defensive lineman Denico Autry on third-and-10. The Chiefs scored just two plays later.

Hunt had 53 yards on the drive, highlighted by a 34-yard run.

7. Harrison Butker continues to be steady

After the four runs with Hunt to open the game, Smith hit second-year receiver Demarcus Robinson for a gain of 16 on a nice route adjustment as Smith ran outside of the pocket.

The next play was a 12-yard reception to tight end Demetrius Harris, but that’s as far as the Chiefs’ offense would go on the opening drive, which set the stage for rookie kicker Harrison Butker, who would hit from 53 yards to give the Chiefs an early 3-0 lead.

It was the longest field goal of Butker’s short career thus far, and it was his 11th straight.

He would later hit a couple of more and extend his streak to 13-straight made field goals.

8. Phillip Gaines’ defensive play leads to blocked field goal by Eric Murray

Late in the first half and moments after an altercation that led to the ejection of Raiders’ running back Marshawn Lynch, who made contact with an official after a play in which Marcus Peters was called for a late hit on Carr, the Chiefs got a nice defensive play from nickel corner Phillip Gaines on third down.

There was plenty of tension at the time and Gaines’ play gave the Chiefs some momentum. He was in great positon on the inside hip as the pass went into the direction of Seth Roberts—the slot receiver, who was running a post as Gaines got his hand up on the ball and the pass fell incomplete.

It forced a fourth down and a field goal attempt as the Raiders trailed, 17-14.

On the game-tying attempt, safety Eric Murray came flying in from the left side and was able to get a hand on the kick and block it.

As the mood was definitely heightened with all the extracurricular stuff going on, the Chiefs grabbed the momentum back after Gaines’ play and Murray’s block.

The Chiefs then responded with a field goal drive of their own as Butker hit from 39 yards with less than a minute remaining in the first half, which extended the Chiefs the lead, 20-14.

9. Andy Reid challenges spot on key third-down reception, proves to be big decision

Late in the third quarter with the Chiefs holding a 27-21 lead, Robinson caught a key pass on third-and-6 along the far sideline and was ruled out of bounds a yard shy of the first down.

That’s when Reid challenged the spot, and won.

The ball was moved up a yard after replay showed that Robinson had extended for the first down before his heel hit the ground.

It ended up being a key decision as the next play resulted in a 33-yard throw-and-catch from Smith to Hill, which set up Butker’s third field goal of the night—a 37-yarder that made it 13 straight made field goals for the rookie kicker.

It also gave the Chiefs a two-possession lead late in the third quarter, 30-21, but the Chiefs would be outscored in the fourth quarter for the first time this season as the Raiders scored 10 unanswered in the final 15 minutes.

10. Demarcus Robinson put together the best game of his career

Coming into Thursday’s game, second-year receiver Demarcus Robinson had just four catches for 41 yards in his career.

And he more than doubled those numbers Thursday night.

Robinson, who has been the next man up after the season-ending injury to receiver Chris Conley a couple of weeks ago, finished Thursday’s game with five catches for 69 yards as he continues to build his rapport with Smith.

In addition to his key stretch to pick up that first down on the challenged play, Robinson’s other big play came on a 33-yard hookup as Smith was standing in his own end zone as the Chiefs were backed up at the 1-yard line on a drive in the first half.

Just two plays later, Smith hit Hill for the long touchdown, but the drive began with Robinson’s catch to give them some room.

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