The key plays, stats and grades from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Player of the game: Receiver Tyreek Hill continues to make a splash. He finished with six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, while also returning a punt 78 yards for a touchdown.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs showed tremendous mental toughness by holding on to win after the loss of inside linebacker Derrick Johnson to a left Achilles injury. The last time that happened – the season opener against Tennessee in 2014 – the Chiefs looked deflated, failed to bounce back and lost. They also seized control of the AFC West race with the win.
Reason to mope: The Chiefs lost Johnson to an ruptured Achilles tendon. Anything can happen in professional football, but he will be extraordinarily difficult to replace long-term.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs, 10-3, will have some time to recuperate before their next game, a home game against the Tennessee Titans, who currently sit in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC South at 6-6.
Rushing offense: The Raiders ranked 29th in rushing defense (124.8), but the Chiefs only finished with 65 yards on 27 carries. Charcandrick West scored a touchdown, but lead back Spencer Ware only rushed for 56 yards on 20 carries. But when the game was on the line late in the fourth quarter, the offensive line came up big, churning out a first down thanks to three consecutive running plays.
Passing offense: The Raiders ranked 24th in passing defense (264.8), and quarterback Alex Smith completed 17 of 26 passes for 264 yards. He also threw a gorgeous 36-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill on a post route, but he also had an interception to open the second half, which led to a Raider field goal. Travis Kelce posted his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game. Smith was sacked once.
Rushing defense: The Raiders ranked seventh in rushing yards (114.6) entering the game and finished with 135 yards on 31 carries. That’s a little too high, but the Chiefs’ defense helped preserve the win.
Passing defense: The Raiders ranked fourth in passing yards (277.1), but the Chiefs’ pass defense was fantastic on Thursday as quarterback Derek Carr completed only 17 of 41 passes for 117 yards. He was only sacked once, but Carr is in the midst of a MVP-caliber season and the Chiefs completely shut him down.
Special teams: Tyreek Hill muffed the first punt of the game, which led to a Raider field goal. Hill, however, made up for it in the second quarter with a 78-yard punt-return touchdown. Punter Dustin Colquitt also dropped all five of his punts inside the 20.
Coaching: The offensive and defensive play calling was pretty good, for the most part, though Andy Reid’s decision not to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Raiders’ 41 late in the third quarter was worthy of debate. A couple of other notable decisions: Reid challenged a fairly-apparent first-down catch on the Raiders’ second drive, which cost the Chiefs’ a timeout and a challenge. Also, on their first offensive drive, Reid eschewed a 44-yard field goal and went for it on fourth-and-1, but was denied. Regardless, the Chiefs stayed mentally tough after Johnson’s injury and Reid and the coaching staff deserve some credit for that.