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Chiefs Defeat Raiders; Lock Up AFC

The Chiefs Defeated The Raiders, Winning The One Seed In The AFC.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Saturday, January 7, 2023 in Las Vegas.

In the final game of the regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 31-13. With the win, Kansas City has locked up first place of the AFC heading into the playoffs, earning a first round bye. The Chiefs move to 14-3 while the Raiders finish off the season with a record of 6-11. Let’s break down the win.

Not much was required of Patrick Mahomes in this one. Nonetheless he played his part and put on a show. Through the air he went 18/26 for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 3 times for 29 yards. While he falls about 200 yards short of the single season passing yards record, he broke the NFL record for most total yards in a single season. It appears that he is set to win his second MVP award.

The rushing attack saw many different contributors.

Isiah Pacheco took 8 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. Jerick McKinnon saw just 4 total touches for 6 yards but still hauled in a receiving touchdown. Kansas City appeared to be resting the duo for the playoffs but received great contributes from the two nonetheless.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) celebrates a touchdown by running back Jerick McKinnon (1) during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Saturday, January 7, 2023 in Las Vegas.

Amid the resting of the duo, Ronald Jones put together his best performance of the season. He saw 10 carries in which he took for 45 yards and a touchdown.

Kadarius Toney put together a great game as well. He took 5 total touches for 44 yards and a touchdown. He looks to be an X-factor for the team heading into the playoffs.

Justin Watson saw just one catch which came on a deep pass of 67 yards. The pass came early on the first drive of the game, giving the Chiefs momentum from the start.

Travis Kelce caught 6 passes for 38 yards, ending a phenomenal regular season.

JuJu Smith-Schuster also appeared to be limited, in an attempt to stay healthy for the playoffs. He snagged two catches for 35 yards.

The biggest highlight for Kansas City in this one came on the defensive side of the ball.

The safety duo of Justin Reid and Juan Thornhill stole the show, putting together a spectacular performance.

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Chris Lammons (29), safety Justin Reid (20) and linebacker Leo Chenal (54) prior to the snap during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Saturday, January 7, 2023 in Las Vegas.

Juan Thornhill had 7 total tackles, including a pass deflected and an interception. He flew around the field and constantly made plays. Undoubtedly proving why he deserves a contract extension.

Justin Reid had arguably his best game as a Chief. He contributed 6 total tackles – including a tackle for a loss, 2 passes deflected, 1 sack and a quarterback hit.

Per normal, Nick Bolton was a driving force for the defense, racking up 16 total tackles.

Chris Jones and Mike Danna put on a clinic, tallying up 11 total tackles and 4.5 sacks between the pair.

The team faced a fantastic WR-TE duo of Davante Adams and Darren Waller. Despite the tough matchup, the unit was able to shut down the combo. The team held the two to just a total of 7 catches for 108 yards. Steve Spagnuolo deserves a ton of credit for fantastic scheming in this one.

Something that killed the defense in this one was QB scrambling. Stidham was able to escape the pocket multiple times and took 7 carries for 50 yards. While this did not lose this game for Kansas City, it is something the team will have to watch out for across the playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) celebrates sacking Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham (3) during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Saturday, January 7, 2023 in Las Vegas.

After experiencing some rocky mistakes in previous weeks, the field goal unit was perfect in this one. Harrison Butker went 1/1 on field goals, nailing a 44 yarder. He also went 4/4 on extra points. This shows promise of resolution heading into the playoffs.

While punters do not typically get recognition for great performances, Tommy Townsend deserves credit for a spectacular game. He sent 4 punts for a net total of 196 yards, averaging nearly 50 yards a punt. While it is never great to see your punter on the field, it is a relieving factor for Kansas City to have on they can rely on.

Overall, Kansas City played a great game. They did a good job of slowing down the game and keeping everyone healthy for the playoffs. The team was able to clean up many things that needed resolved for the playoffs. This game may have been the perfect recipe for Kansas City to gain momentum heading into the playoffs.


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