The Chiefs hadn’t committed a turnover during their five-game winning streak, but they had two in the first half on Sunday against the Raiders.
They had one game all season with double-digit penalties. Sunday, they matched their season high with 11 flags.
And the kicking game? Two missed extra points.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “But good teams find a way to win, on the road.”
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The Chiefs roared past the Raiders 34-20, scoring three consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter, two set up by long interception returns and the third on a pick-six.
Maclin finished the first two with touchdown receptions, completing a day in which he caught nine passes for 95 yards.
The most satisfying part? He contributed to those blunders earlier in the game. On the first play of the second quarter, Maclin took a short Alex Smith pass over the middle and turned it into a 16-yard gain. But the ball was stripped by linebacker Malcolm Smith and recovered by the ageless Charles Woodson.
The mistakes continued for the Chiefs. Later in the second quarter tight end Travis Kelce was stripped by Woodson after a 16-yard gain, and Woodson’s 38-yard return set up a late touchdown that gave the Raiders a 14-7 halftime lead.
On the play, Kelce was battling for extra yards along the sideline when he could have stepped out of bounds.
“I’ve got to get out of bounds,” Kelce said. “I have to understand the situation, know that it’s 2 minutes and get myself out of bounds. Unacceptable to put the team in that position. I can’t do that.”
The Chiefs returned the favor with their ball-hawking fourth quarter. Josh Mauga’s interception set up the Chiefs at the 2 and one play later, Smith threw a horizontal dart to Maclin, who powered in from the 1 and tied the game at 20-20.
Originally, that play was called a rushing touchdown, which would have been Maclin’s first as a pro. Later it was revised to a touchdown pass for Smith and reception for Maclin.
The duo struck again after Marcus Peters’ long interception return set up the Chiefs at the 13. Again, the pass went to the outside and Maclin followed blocks by Albert Wilson and Jason Avant into the end zone, giving the Chiefs the lead.
The game marked Maclin’s first two-touchdown game as a Chief, and only once, in a loss at Cincinnati where he caught 11 passes, did he have more receptions in a game.
For a while Sunday, Maclin was Smith’s only target. Smith’s first eight attempts went Maclin’s way. The pair has developed a chemistry, and Maclin with 867 receiving yards, is bearing down on a 1,000-yard season.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Maclin said. “If we’re this late in the season and we don’t have chemistry, we’d be in trouble.”
There’s no doubt Sunday was one of Maclin’s more enjoyable days in his first season with the Chiefs. It marked his first trip to O.Co Stadium since a 2009 visit with the Eagles, and Raiders fans gave him an earful in the pregame.
Maclin tossed it right back.
“They were trying to talk to me, I just responded with some works, that’s all,” Maclin said. “When you get a chance to do something you love to do, you might as well have some fun with it.”