An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 31-13 win over Oakland on Sunday and a fast-forward look ahead:
A is for Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs stilled a tough trend with an AFC West victory. Before Sunday, they had lost eight of their last nine division home games.
B is for baffling: the runaway victory only makes more puzzling the fact that the Chiefs lost 24-20 to then-winless Oakland three games back and that two of their six losses are to teams that are otherwise 2-24 (Oakland and Tennessee).
C is for costly, potentially: If the Chiefs miss the playoffs, see B.
D is for De’Anthony Thomas, whose 81-yard punt return was the only touchdown for either team for the first 38-minutes plus.
E is for empty seats at Arrowhead, 7,298 in the 79,451-capacity stadium with the Chiefs in a playoff race on a 58-degree day in December. Per Twitter feedback, top reasons not to be there:
*"Christmas season doesn’t help. And we are fickle."
*"Spent our money on Royals playoffs."
*"May be last day until March to play golf."
F is for first time since Nov. 8 against the Jets, six games back, that the Chiefs could boast more than a one-possession lead when they went ahead 10-0 on Cairo Santos’ 41-yard field goal.
G is for go figure: The Raiders ran for 179 yards on 30 carries against the Chiefs in their 24-20 on Nov. 20 in Oakland. They also scored the only two rushing touchdowns this season against Kansas City. Inexplicably, the Raiders came out determined to pass on Sunday. Derek Carr threw 56 times, completing 27, and was sacked four times as the Raiders ran just 17 times while averaging 4.6 yards a run. Some of those numbers were skewed by the Chiefs seizing a big lead late in the third quarter, but even at halftime Oakland had thrown 25 times and run just 10.
H is for Houston, Justin, the Chiefs’ linebacker who nabbed his 17th sack to maintain the league lead and inch closer to Derrick Thomas’ single-season franchise record of 20 set in 1990.
I is for interceptions thrown by Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith: none. The Chiefs are 0-4 when he throws one and 8-2 when he doesn’t.
J is for Jamaal Charles, the superstar running back who for the umpteenth time this season left a game with either an apparent or real injury. Charles cleared a concussion protocol, but it’s becoming a worrisome thing to see him go down so much — and he knows it: "These injuries this year have been killing me … It’s part of the game, but I’ve just got to find a way to get over it."
K is for Knile Davis, the reserve running back who took a Smith pass 70 yards for a touchdown, the longest play from scrimmage this season for the Chiefs.
L is for laundry list of … laundry: The teams combined for 21 penalties, including 11 against the Chiefs.
M is for mercy, which the Raiders required after the Chiefs drubbed them with three touchdowns in a span of 4 minutes 42 seconds late in the third quarter.
N is for number of punts landed inside the 20-yard line, five Sunday by Dustin Colquitt and 314 for his career, 10th in NFL history.
O is for offense of the Chiefs, which remarkably remains without a touchdown pass to a wide receiver this season.
P is for pass defense, which for a third straight week kept the Chiefs’ opponent from completing 50 percent of their passes and has yet to allow a 300-yard passing game.
Q is for question: Why didn’t coach Andy Reid take Alex Smith out after the Chiefs had secured a 31-6 lead with 2:04 left in the third quarter? The Raiders had nothing left, Smith could have gotten hurt and it would seem useful to get backup Chase Daniel more than just a late mop-up series.
R is for record in reach: The Chiefs’ defense surrendered no rushing touchdowns on Sunday, still leaving them with just two yielded this season to stay on pace to tie an NFL record-low last achieved by Minnesota in 1971.
S is for streak of successful field goals ended for Santos, who had made 15 in a row before missing from 44 yards out.
T is for tales of two halves: After outscoring the Raiders 21-10 in the second half Sunday, the Chiefs cumulatively have edged opponents 146-144 in first halves but outscored them 176-110 in second halves — including 102-48 in the fourth quarter.
U is for up next: at Pittsburgh, which is 9-5 this season after winning back-to-back games at Cincinnati and Atlanta.
V is for vertical passing game, which the Chiefs pushed for the first time all season as Smith fell just short (297 yards) of his first regular-season 300-yard passing game in two seasons in Kansas City.
W is for wild-card berth, still afloat for the Chiefs if they win their last two games against teams (Pittsburgh and San Diego, 8-6) they are directly competing with for a spot.
X is for X-factor: Thomas’ punt return again demonstrated that he’s a game-changer. A Chiefs’ offense that needs a charge would be well-advised to get him the ball more from scrimmage.
Y is for yardage receiving, career, by Dwayne Bowe, 7,068, after crossing the 7,000 plateau with 69 yards on Sunday. Only Tony Gonzalez (10,940) and Otis Taylor (7,306) have more in a Chiefs uniform.
Z is for Zombo, Frank, the Chiefs’ reserve linebacker who pounced on Carr’s fumble off a sloppy center exchange at the Oakland 21 to give him the team lead in fumble recoveries with … two.
To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com