Chiefs

Chiefs’ report card vs. the Raiders

Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo (center) recovered the ball after Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled the snap in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo (center) recovered the ball after Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled the snap in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. The Kansas City Star

First quarter

Key play: De’Anthony Thomas returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown.

Key stat: The Chiefs committed two penalties in their first three offensive plays.

Second quarter

Key play: Alex Smith hit rookie Albert Wilson for 48 yards, setting up a Cairo Santos field goal.

Key stat: The Chiefs dropped three passes — by Jason Avant, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe — on a their last possession of the half.

Third quarter

Key play: Oakland QB Derek Carr fumbled a snap from center, and Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo recovered at the Oakland 21.

Key stat: The Chiefs scored three touchdowns in a span of 4 minutes, 42 seconds.

Fourth quarter

Key play: Backup quarterback Chase Daniel entered the game with 3:47 left, signaling the game was in hand.

Key stat: The teams were assessed 21 penalties (11 on the Chiefs), making it a long game lasting 3 hours, 24 minutes.

Player of the game: Alex Smith stayed the course when passes were being dropped and penalties kept setting the offense back. He threw for 297 yards, his most since Oct. 7, 2012, when he passed for 303 yards against Buffalo while with San Francisco.

Reason to hope: The Chiefs stayed in the thick of playoff contention, and as long as they win, they should be in.

Reason to mope: Beating Pittsburgh and San Diego in the final two weeks will be monumental tasks.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs visit Pittsburgh at noon Sunday in a game that will have huge playoff implications.

| To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to rcovitz@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.

Report card

B-

Rush Offense

The Chiefs didn’t do anything spectacular, but tough inside running by Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis made the play-action passing game effective. De’Anthony Thomas looked dangerous on a pair of sweeps.

B+

Pass Offense

Alex Smith missed some receivers, and the Chiefs dropped at least three passes, but Smith completed passes to 10 different receivers for a season-best 297 yards and two touchdowns. Smith was sacked just once and tossed the two longest pass plays of the season — 70 yards to Knile Davis and 48 yards to Albert Wilson.

B

Rush Defense

After surrendering 100-plus yards to running backs in each of the last four weeks, the Chiefs made Latavius Murray battle for every inch. Aside from a 25-yard run, Murray, who rushed for 112 yards last month against the Chiefs, carried 11 times for 34 yards. This was a much-improved effort.

B

Pass Defense

The Chiefs still can’t come up with an interception, but they sacked Raiders rookie Derek Carr four times, and hurried him a total of 11 times. Unlike the first meeting, Raiders receivers weren’t running wide open, and most of Oakland’s 222 yards passing came after the Chiefs were well ahead.

B-

Special Teams

Earlier in the week, special-teams coordinator Dave Toub called the shot, and De’Anthony Thomas delivered an 81-yard punt return for the team’s only first-half touchdown. Thomas’ 156 punt-return yards were second-most in club history. Dustin Colquitt pinned five of his seven punts inside the 20, but Cairo Santos missed field goals from 44 and 47 yards.

A

Coaching

It took a while, but Andy Reid had the right game plan for the Raiders, jabbing with the run and hitting them deep with some passes. His challenge of a pass to Dwayne Bowe that was ruled incomplete was worth taking. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme was creative, and Toub made good on his punt-return prediction.

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