NFL on Sling: High-Flying Raiders Battle Chiefs' Big-Play D for First Place in the AFC West

Dec 08, 2016 by Sling Staff

Oakland Raiders (10-2) vs Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
8:25pm ET on NBC

It’s a throwback AFC West battle between the first place Oakland Raiders and second place Kansas City Chiefs, in a rivalry that dates back to 1960, with the Chiefs holding the edge 59-51-2. They met back in October, with the Chiefs coming out on top 26-10, as the KC defense kept a lid on Raider QB Derek Carr (22-of-34, 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), and shutdown the Oakland running game (64 yards on 17 carries). Can they do it again?

The Raiders on Sunday were neck deep in a septic tank, trailing the Bills 24-9 with 9 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter, before Oakland QB Derek Carr remembered he was in the midst of a breakout season, and finally began to play accordingly. Carr led the Raiders to touchdowns on four of the next five drives in the span of about 15 minutes to put the Silver-and-Black up 38-24, and on the day he completed 19 of 35 for 260 yards and 2 TDs, without throwing an interception or getting sacked. Michael Crabtree pulled in 7 passes for 74 yards and a TD, and Amari Cooper hauled in 2 for 59 yards and a TD. Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack had another big game, with 4 tackles, 3 assists, a sack, and a pass deflection in the end zone that turned into an Oakland interception on the Buffalo 17, that led directly to the Raiders’ final touchdown and put the game out of reach. The Coliseum crowd was so pumped they started showering Mack with chants of MVP. The Oakland defense has been spotty this year, giving up nearly 25 points per game, but as they showed on Sunday, they have a knack for making the big play, and do more than enough to keep their high-powered offense in the game. Carr has now completed 300 of 458 for 3,375 yards and 24 TDs against just 5 interceptions, while getting sacked just once a game, with the lowest sack percentage in the league and has engineered six 4th-quarter comebacks this year.

On a day when Alex Smith connected on 84% of his passes, it was Eric Berry who was the Chiefs’ hero, in a game that saw all kinds of craziness. They waited until Week 13, but the Kansas City Chiefs finally scored a touchdown on their opening drive, covering 72 yards on four plays, two of them on consecutive passes to tight end Travis Kelce for a total of 56 yards. Kelce would finish the day with 8 catches for 140 yards, on a day when QB Alex Smith had laser-like accuracy, completing 21 of 25 for 270 yards and a TD. Shortly after going up 20-13 early in the second half on a pick-6 by Eric Berry off Matt Ryan, the Chiefs lined up for a punt on on 4th-and-1 from their own 45, nursing a 20-16 lead. But when the ball was snapped, it went directly to blocking back Albert Wilson, who ran straight up the gut to break through the Atlanta defense, going 55 yards for the score. But the Falcons battled back, and after scoring a late TD to go up 28-27, they lined up for the 2-point conversion only to have another Matt Ryan pass picked off by Berry and returned all the way for a safety and a 29-28 Chiefs lead.

The Chiefs having been giving up a lot of yards, but few points thanks to their penchant for the big play, as they continue to win the turnover battle, but the Raiders passing attack is just too much, and Derek Carr has thrown just 5 interceptions.

Watch the Raiders vs Chiefs at 8:25pm ET on NBC by subscribing to Sling Blue

All stats courtesy ESPN and Pro Football Reference.

Back to What's On