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Chiefs vs. Raiders: 10 Observations

Posted Dec 10, 2017

Here are some things that stood out Sunday afternoon

The Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) seem to have their swag back as they beat the Oakland Raiders (6-7) by a score of 26-15 Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

Among other things, the win moved Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid to 5-0 in his career against the Raiders at Arrowhead, and it also allowed the Chiefs to maintain their division lead over the rest of the AFC West.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

1. The Chiefs revived their swag, and it started early

The tone of the game was set early by the Chiefs’ defense, which held Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr and company to just 68 yards of total offense in the first half.

Carr was 5 of 12 for 31 yards and an interception in the first 30 minutes of play.

The guys were flying around and making plays, undaunted by the moment or the fact that this was a defense that had struggled recently. The Raiders’ first nine offensive possessions consisted of seven punts and two turnovers, which came via an interception and a fumble.

Led by a pregame speech from injured veteran safety and one of the unquestioned team leaders in Eric Berry, the Chiefs’ defense played inspired football on Sunday, which was evident by the reaction of every player after every big play. They were juiced.

The guys didn’t seem to be waiting for someone else to make a play. They just went out and made it happen, which seemed to be the recipe needed to cook up a win that resembled much of what we saw from this group early in the year.

2. Kareem Hunt and the offensive line got it done

For the first time in the last eight games, Chiefs’ rookie running back Kareem Hunt rushed for more than 100 yards in a game, finishing with 25 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown.

What’s even more impressive is that 71 of those 116 yards came in the second half after the Chiefs had already established a big lead, which meant the Raiders had a pretty good idea that they’d be running the football.

But it didn’t matter to the guys along the offensive line, and Hunt, who went over 1,000 yards rushing on the season—making him just the second rookie running back in franchise history to accomplish that feat. The late-Joe Delaney rushed for 1,121 yards in 1981.

3. Albert Wilson’s day was defined by two plays

Early in the third quarter with the Chiefs already holding a 10-0 lead, Albert Wilson made the best play of his young career.

On first-and-10 from the Chiefs’ 37-yard line, Wilson took a deep throw down the left sideline from Alex Smith and went up and over a defender and somehow managed to get both feet down in bounds.

It’s as athletic of a play as you’ll find around the NFL this weekend, and it came at a huge time for the Chiefs.

Then, late in the game and with the Chiefs trying to shut the door on the Raiders, who were trying to claw their way back, Wilson came up big again.

With 5:33 left and just two plays after the Raiders had scored a touchdown and converted their two-point attempt to make the score 26-15, there was a chance for the Raiders to get the ball back with more than five minutes left and trailing by two possessions.

The Chiefs faced a third-and-5, and Smith, who faced heavy pressure up the middle, found Wilson scurrying across the middle of the field and hit him for what looked to be just short of the first down, but Wilson fought his way across the marker.

The gain of seven yards kept the Chiefs’ drive going, and more importantly, kept the clock moving. The Chiefs took an additional two minutes off the clock after the play and the Raiders had to use one of their timeouts before the Chiefs eventually punted it back with 2:45 left in the game.

Wilson finished with five catches for 72 yards, which makes it the third-highest number of yards he’s had in a game in his career.

4. Derrick Johnson’s hit on Marshawn Lynch will be remembered

It wasn’t the first time we’ve seen veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson come up with a huge hit on a Raiders’ running back—he did something similar to Jalen Richard last year, but this one may be a little more memorable simply because of the recipient.

Johnson leveled Marshawn Lynch on a pass to the flat in the fourth quarter. The balls’ placement didn’t do Lynch any favors, but the optics of the play made the Arrowhead Stadium faithful go crazy.

Johnson read the play the whole way and came flying downhill like a missile before sticking his facemask in Lynch’s chest, knocking the ball loose for an incompletion and seemingly making a statement in the process.

Lynch finished the game with seven carries for 61 yards and a touchdown.

5. Chris Jones gets the hit, Terrance Mitchell makes the play

As it relates to the energy the Chiefs’ defense brought Sunday afternoon, there’s little doubt that the always-animated Chris Jones was probably somewhere right in the middle of the mix.

He normally is, and this was true again on Sunday.

There was a time early in the game that the Raiders had a chance to make it a completely different ballgame, but then Jones happened.

Trailing 13-0 with six minutes left in the first half, the Raiders were sitting with a first-and-10 from the Chiefs’ 24-yard line.

On the snap, Jones fought through a double-team and got to Carr, who flung the ball straight up into the air as Jones hit him, causing the ball to resemble a game of “500” that you play as a kid, and Terrance Mitchell was the proud winner as he made a fantastic diving interception.

The momentum, which was already on the Chiefs’ side, picked up even more after the Raiders’ squandered a scoring opportunity when the Chiefs were starting to pull away.

Mitchell, who was starting at the left cornerback spot in place of the suspended-Marcus Peters, had a fantastic game. He was credited with four tackles and three passes defensed on the day.

Jones also added a sack earlier in the game and was a key part of the Chiefs’ front seven stuffing a big third-and-1 chance for the Raiders late in the game.

6. Alex Smith hit Tyreek Hill for a big third-down conversion

While holding a 3-0 lead and on their second offensive possession of the game, the Chiefs faced a third-and-16 from the Raiders’ 45-yard line.

Rather than try and take an intermediate gain and give kicker Harrison Butker a chance at a long field goal attempt, Smith stayed aggressive and fired a dart to Hill for a gain of 17 yards.

It was a fantastic catch from Hill, who used every bit of his length and vertical ability in his body to make the play, which later led to Kareem Hunt’s 1-yard touchdown run five plays later.

Smith finished 20 of 34 for 268 yards and an interception, while Hill finished with four catches for 75 yards.

7. Harrison Butker finished perfect on the day, and set another record in the process

The guy has been fantastic this season.

8. Steven Nelson forced the fumble, and Frank Zombo recovered

In addition to Mitchell’s interception, the Chiefs also forced two other turnovers on the day.

Cornerback Steven Nelson, who had a fantastic game, ripped the ball out of the hands of Raiders’ receiver Johnny Holton on a first-down play midway through the third quarter.

The ball was kicked around a bit and eventually recovered by linebacker Frank Zombo.

Then, late in the game, Chiefs’ safety Steven Terrell sealed the deal with his interception of Carr in the end zone as the Raiders were trying to make a late comeback.

It marked the third game this season in which the Chiefs had multiple interceptions. The other two games were also divisional ones—the game on the road against the Chargers, and then at home against the Broncos.

9. Charcandrick West wouldn’t be denied the end zone

Late in the third quarter and with the Chiefs holding a 19-0 lead, running back Charcandrick West put the exclamation point on the win with his 13-yard run up the middle.

West broke several tackles and ran over a Raiders’ defender on his way to the most physical score of his young career.

It was a microcosm of the day. The Chiefs imposed their will on the Raiders.

10. The Chiefs’ defense got pressure on Carr all day

The Chiefs’ defense finished the day with three sacks, which marks the first time they’ve had as many since the game five weeks ago against the Denver Broncos, which also happened to be their last win.

In addition to Jones’ sack, the Chiefs also got one from Jarvis Jenkins, and one from Justin Houston, who now leads the team with 9.5 sacks this season.

Coming into the game, the Chiefs knew they had to get pressure on Carr, whose passer rating with pressure goes from over 100, down to 47.3 when he’s got guys around him.

The Chiefs succeeded with the pressure, and in turn, succeeded overall.

A lot of credit should also be spread among cornerbacks Nelson, Mitchell and Darrelle Revis—each of whom had nice pass breakups on 50-50 balls that went the Chiefs’ way. They were the center of attention all week, and they answered the call.

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