The Chiefs move to 9-1 with a 35-31 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Kansas City now has a three-game lead on the AFC West with only six games left, putting them in good shape to win their division for the fifth-straight season. However, they have bigger goals than just trying to win the AFC West, looking toward Super Bowl LV. This was a good first step as they get some revenge against the Raiders.
Here are five takeaways from the Chiefs victory over the Raiders:
Patrick Mahomes does it again
AP Photo/Jeff Bottari
It seems as if every week Kansas City gets to witness Patrick Mahomes do something incredible and this week it was a game-winning drive with less than 2 minutes left in the game. He was also fantastic throughout the rest of the game throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw the one interception to end the first half, but it looked like it was just a miscommunication between him and Demarcus Robinson. This is something they’ll need to fix moving forward, but fans shouldn’t worry about it as Mahomes usually on the same page with all of his receivers. His performance against the Raiders also helped his case for MVP, especially with Aaron Rodgers losing to the Colts and Russell Wilson still in a bit of a rut. Mahomes is on pace to throw for 43 touchdowns, 4800 yards and only three interceptions. The numbers aren’t quite as good as his 2018 season, but it’s clear that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and has a good chance to take home the MVP award.
Travis Kelce needs to be considered for Offensive Player of the Year
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In his third consecutive game, Travis Kelce recorded over 100 yards receiving and has been playing at an even higher level than usual this season. At this rate, Kelce could have over 1,400 yards receiving by the end of the year. That would be the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single NFL season. Kelce previously set the record, but George Kittle now owns it with 1,377 yards. Kelce is playing as well as any other offensive player in the NFL and should be in consideration for Offensive Player of the Year. It’s even more impressive that Kelce is playing at this level at 31 years old. He's shown no signs of slowing down any time soon which is probably why Kansas City felt comfortable extending him until 2026. By the end of it, Kelce will go down as one of the best tight ends to play the game and fans should enjoy every minute of it.
Running back group gelling
AP Photo/Isaac Brekken
The Chiefs running back group looks to be gelling, even though it may be a little crowded. Each of Le'Veon Bell, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams got snaps in crucial moments throughout the game. Together the group was able to account for three touchdowns with two coming from Edwards-Helaire, while Bell was also able to find the endzone for the first time this season. The Chiefs also got a few good plays out of Williams, who finished the night with three receptions for 22 yards. It’s encouraging that the Chiefs have a couple of reliable options behind Edwards-Helaire so that teams will need to stay on their toes, keeping track of who is in the backfield. It’ll be interesting to see how well they will be playing once the playoffs near, but it’s certain that they are one of the better running back groups in the league.
Pass rush was non-existent for Kansas City
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The Chiefs were unable to get much pressure on Derek Carr once again this season as they failed to get a sack in Week 11. This is a little concerning considering the number of resources Kansas City has used on their defensive line. They are paying a lot of money to both Chris Jones and Frank Clark to make quarterbacks uncomfortable and Carr had all day to throw the football. The times they did happen to get some pressure, the coverage wasn't there. The most noticeable thing is that when Jones was double-teamed, other players struggled to win one-on-one matchups. Clark was pushed around the arc and players like Tanoh Kpassagnon and Tershawn Wharton also didn't show up. It’s not time to panic yet, but it may be something to keep an eye on since having a good pass rush is crucial to the defense's ability to create turnovers and make stops in the secondary.
Chiefs’ secondary struggled once again vs. Raiders
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Similar to their pass rush the Chiefs’ secondary also struggled to stop the Raiders as they allowed Derek Carr to throw for 275 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn’t as bad as their performance against the Raiders in Week 5, where Carr threw for 347 yards, but it still could have been better. They allowed Las Vegas to do whatever they wanted, for the most part, struggling with missed assignments at times. It seems they did a lot to try and keep the play in front of them, which shows you how badly they got beat with explosive plays back in Week 5. One interesting storyline that came out of this game was Andy Reid’s comments on Juan Thornhill after the game. Thornhill did not play much against the Raiders. After the game, Reid called Thornhill a “situational guy right now." That's a new development as he was a key defender last year before tearing his ACL. It could be that the Chiefs are still slowly bringing him back due to the injury, but it's not ideal in the short term. Ultimately, the secondary will need to make improvements before the playoffs. This game was reminiscent of the Chiefs’ horrendous 2018 defense and we've seen them play much better this season.