Red Zone

Game report: Chiefs 23, Raiders 17

Chiefs safety Ron Parker picked off a pass in front of Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper in the end zone in the second quarter of Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs safety Ron Parker picked off a pass in front of Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper in the end zone in the second quarter of Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.

First quarter

Key play: On fourth and 1 at the Raiders’ 43, the Chiefs went for it and got the first down, thanks to a 6-yard run by quarterback Alex Smith. The Chiefs scored a touchdown on the drive and took a 14-0 lead.

Key stat: The Chiefs outgained the Raiders 162-49.

Second quarter

Key play: Raiders cornerback David Amerson scored on a pick-six off Smith that allowed the Raiders to cut their halftime deficit to 14-10.

Key stat: Smith has thrown an interception in three of the Chiefs’ last four games.

Third quarter

Key play: The Chiefs added to their lead when linebacker D.J. Alexander blocked a punt by Marquette King that went out of the end zone for a safety.

Key stat: It was the Chiefs’ first blocked punt since a 38-10 loss to Tampa Bay in 2012.

Fourth quarter

Key play: The Raiders were driving in the final minute when Frank Zombo’s sack of Derek Carr on first and 10 at the Oakland 35 drained 18 seconds from the clock and helped the Chiefs hold on.

Key stat: The Raiders converted only three of their 14 third-down attempts (21 percent).

The grades

Rush offense


The Chiefs got another solid effort from the trio of Spencer Ware, Alex Smith and Charcandrick West. They rushed 38 times for 171 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry. The Chiefs’ ability to run the ball helped drain the clock in the second half, so overall, they did a nice job setting the tone up front with the run game.

Pass offense


Alex Smith completed 14 of 24 passes for 156 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The two touchdowns were gorgeous throws — one to Jeremy Maclin and the other to Demetrius Harris — while the picks were predictably ugly. One even went for a pick-six. Smith continued to sling it after the picks, which is good — he’ll need to do that against some of the defenses they could potentially see in the playoffs.

Rush defense


The Chiefs did an excellent job against an Oakland running game that was fairly effective when they met a month ago. Latavius Murray only rushed for 31 yards in 11 carries this time, and the Raiders had 48 yards in 16 carries. It’s hard to beat the Chiefs at home when they’re stopping the run like that.

Pass defense


Oakland quarterback Derek Carr has a bright future, but the Chiefs did a nice job against him Sunday. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 194 yards, with one touchdown and an interception. More importantly, he was sacked six times by six different players. The Raiders put a mild scare into the Chiefs in the end, but the pass defense never seemed especially vulnerable.

Special teams


Linebacker D.J. Alexander’s blocked punt in the third quarter led to two points on a safety, while punter Dustin Colquitt dropped four of his five punts inside the 20. That’s a pretty good day. However, the Chiefs’ kick- and punt-return units couldn’t get anything going, and a Travis Kelce penalty negated a 39-yard field goal by Cairo Santos that could have put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Points must be deducted for those missteps.



The offensive play calling was particularly impressive over the first quarter and a half, as Andy Reid and coordinator Doug Pederson seemed a step ahead of the Raiders in guiding their team to a 14-0 lead. That was, perhaps, a taste of things to come in the playoffs — or at least Chiefs fans better hope so. Because outside of a third-quarter touchdown drive, that was all they could really get going offensively. On defense, coordinator Bob Sutton continues to bring pressure in effective ways, as evidenced by the Chiefs’ six sacks by six different players. He’s had a nice run during this 10-game winning streak.


Player of the game: Safety Ron Parker recorded his seventh career sack, the most by a defensive back in team history. He also finished with six tackles, a quarterback hit and a remarkable interception in which he baited Derek Carr into a deep throw and made a play on the ball. Nice day for the Newberry College grad.

Reason to hope: The Chiefs have the longest winning streak in football with 10 wins in a row. They’re going into the playoffs red hot and confident. Not a bad combination.

Reason to mope: Quarterback Alex Smith has thrown interceptions in three of the Chiefs’ last four games, and the special-teams units seem to average one goof a game.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs head to Houston to face the Texans in the wild-card round. The good news is the Chiefs know they can win at NRG Stadium — they beat Houston 27-20 in the season opener — but the bad news is the Texans, like the Chiefs, are a different team now. Either way, it presents another opportunity for the Chiefs to win a playoff game for the first time in 22 years.

Terez A. Paylor: 816-234-4489, @TerezPaylor