A Deeper Dive Into Kansas City’s Week 18 Win.
The win over the division rival continues Patrick Mahomes’ win road streak over AFC west opponents and propels the team to the one seed in the AFC.
The final AFC West game of the year gives Mahomes a staggering 27-3 record over the AFC West since he started back in 2018. Mahomes attributes that success to a culture and a mindset that predates him in Kansas CIty.
“That was something that was instilled in me right when I got here,” Mahomes said. “We were going to focus on the AFC West opponent. We believe we have one of the best divisions if not the best division in football.”
The game was over even before it started. The Chiefs received the ball to start the and on the second play from scrimmage Patrick Mahomes bombed the ball to Justin Watson for 67 yards. Three plays later Mahomes would throw a two yard shovel pass to Jerick McKinnon for a touchdown.
Mckinnon becomes the first running back in NFL history to have six consecutive games with a receiving touchdown.
The Raiders would respond with a field goal, their only score of the first half. Their next three drives would result in turnovers. Jarrett Stidham would throw an interception to Juan Thornhill who was playing deep zone coverage and needed to cover half the width of the field to make the catch.
In the post game press conference Andy Reid would specifically call out the Chiefs defensive back field specifically the safeties.
“Our young defensive secondary I thought also played well, especially the safeties,” Reid said.
The Raiders would turn the ball over on downs after a 14 play 74 yard drive that took them all the way down to the two yard line. Stopping the Raiders in the red zone was an impressive feat. Particularly for a team that has been one of the worst red zone defenses in the NFL. The Chiefs have struggled with pass defense especially inside the 20.
Reid said the early fourth down stop set the scene for the rest of the game.
“I thought our run defense and pass defense were tremendous,” Reid said. “The fourth down stand kinda set the tempo for the game.”
The Raiders final turnover of the half was a sack fumble caused by defensive lineman Mike Danna. George Kalaftis would recover the ball at the Las Vegas 30 yard line with 17 seconds left to go in the half.
Sack nation was in full force against the Raiders offensive line that was a top pass defending line. Danna would end the day with two sacks, Karlaftis got half a sack and Chris Jones totaled 2.5 sacks on the day. The Chiefs got six sacks on the day and were disruptive by getting constant pressure on Stidham.
Harrison Butker would come out to kick a 44 yard field goal to give the Chiefs a 24-3 lead. Having Butker attempt that kick was surprising to many Chiefs fans. Butker was dealing with back spasm that kept him out of practice, earlier in the week. In response the Chiefs had signed Mathew Wright to the practice squad. Wright was elevated to the 53 man roster and was seen practicing kicks before the game started. Despite the odds Butker nailed his kick and all four PATs.
The second half started with the raiders driving down the field for 13 plays 55 yards and a field goal. Both teams would punt the ball twice. The Chiefs offense would get the ball back to drive 62 yards capped off with a one yard touchdown run by Isiah Pacheco.
Reid commented on Kadarius’ versatility in the offense.
“Kadarius has got a little of each. He’s got the receiving part and you hand him the football and he can do some damage,” Reid said.
This is the first win of the year where one phase of the game pulled the others down. The defense ended the game with multiple turnovers, sacks and big plays. The offense moved the ball with ease. They had big plays from multiple guys and did not even need Mahomes to take control of the game to do so. The special teams unit made all of its kicks, snaps and holds on those kicks. did not cause problems and the punt/kick coverage game did not allow any big returns. This was truly a team win.
The Chiefs would leave Las Vegas with only one injury reported and that is Frank Clark who left the game with a groin strain.
Kansas City now heads into a first round bye of the playoffs with more momentum than ever.