Zamir White rushed for 145 yards while Jack Jones scored six as the Las Vegas Raiders kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 20-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs; the defending champs fall to 9-6 as they miss a chance to win the AFC West title
12:46 UK Tuesday 26 December 2023
The Las Vegas Raiders scored two defensive touchdowns for the second straight week, including Patrick Mahomes’ pick-six, as they upset the Kansas City Chiefs 20-14 in Arrowhead on Christmas Day.
Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols returned a punt eight yards for a touchdown before Jack Jones caught a 33-yarder for another score seven seconds later as the Raiders (7-8) snapped a six-game losing streak to the Chiefs.
Kansas City (9-6) squandered an opportunity to win the AFC West for an eighth straight year with one of its worst performances of the Mahomes era.
Along with two defensive touchdowns, Harrison Butker missed a field goal, penalties and dropped passes were again an issue and they twice failed to convert on fourth down in the second half.
The Chiefs had a chance after Mahomes hit Justin Watson for a touchdown with 2:42 left. But on the ensuing possession, the Raiders’ Zamir White broke loose for a 43-yard gain, picking up a first down that allowed them to run out the clock.
Mahomes finished 27 of 44 for 235 yards and an interception; he almost threw a second, but it was overturned on review.
The Raiders, playing without injured running back Josh Jacobs, won despite a lackluster day from their own offense.
Aidan O’Connell was 9 of 21 for 62 yards, never completing a pass after the first quarter, while White had 145 yards on the ground. Malcolm Koonce, meanwhile, led the way on defense with three career sacks.
Las Vegas Raiders
- Transition: Aidan O’Connell, 9/21, 62 yds
- I’m in a hurry: Zamir White, 22 carries, 145 yards
- Receiving: Jacoby Meyers, 3 catches, 42 yards
Kansas City Chiefs
- Transition: Patrick Mahomes, 27/44, 235 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- I’m in a hurry: Patrick Mahomes, 10 carries, 53 yards
- Receiving: Rashee Rice, 6 catches, 57 yards
Chiefs coach Andy Reid spent the past few weeks bemoaning the sloppy play that continued to cost the Super Bowl champions.
They couldn’t be much more casual on Christmas Day. The Chiefs went three-and-out on consecutive drives to start a game for just the second time with Mahomes at quarterback, and were held to minus-18 yards in the first quarter, the club’s second-worst since at least 1991.
Their reigning league MVP was sacked twice in those two series, while two more offensive penalties only made matters worse.
The Chiefs finally pulled ahead when Isaiah Pacheco took a 12-yard punt for a touchdown, and Las Vegas got the ball right back on punt.
Pacheco took a direct hit again, but this time he tried to pass to Mahomes, who lost the turnover before Raiders defensive tackle Nichols was there to scoop it up and run for a touchdown.
On Kansas City’s next offensive play, Mahomes was picked off by Jones, who returned it 33 yards for his second pick-six in back-to-back weeks.
The Raiders’ fourth defensive touchdown in the last two weeks and their second within seven seconds gave them a 17-7 lead over their longtime division foe.
It was still 17-7 when the Chiefs’ Butker, one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers, missed a chip-shot field goal before halftime before the Raiders managed a field goal late in the third quarter to take a 20-7 lead to the fourth.
|Raiders 3-0 Bosses
|Daniel Carlson 24-yard field goal
|Raiders 3-7 chiefs
|Isiah Pacheco 12-yard rushing TD (extra point)
|Raiders 9-7 chiefs
|Bilal Nichols eight-yard punt return (two-point conversion failed)
|Raiders 17-7 chiefs
|Jack Jones 33-yard interception return (successful two-point conversion)
|Raiders 20-7 chiefs
|Daniel Carlson 35-yard field goal
|Raiders 20-14 chiefs
|Patrick Mahomes 7-yard TD pass to Justin Watson (extra point)
What did they say?
Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce: “We knew it was going to be a great game, that it wasn’t going to be high-scoring. We didn’t want it to be a high-scoring game. Hats off to our defense, Patrick Graham and our defensive staff. Hats off to our players for executing and sticking with it. They were ruthless. We talked about squeezing, finishing. Ending the second quarter, ending the fourth quarter and they did that.”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes: “All you can do is move on to the next day and the next game. We’re going to play a Cincinnati team that obviously wants to beat us. They play good football. Their quarterback is playing well. Their defense always plays well with their defensive coordinator. All you can do is move on, learn from your mistakes, get better. I still believe we can go and do what we want. We can just fix it as quickly as possible.”
Head Coach Andy Reid: “Listen, they played a better game than we did today, especially our offense. We struggled and it’s my responsibility to make sure I put guys in the right position, make plays and it didn’t happen that way , which I wanted it to be. I take full responsibility for that, the way we played offensively there and defensively, we did some really good things, so we just have to iron out some things offensively and we’ll be fine.”
The Raiders will look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they host the Indianapolis Colts (8-7) on Sunday, while the Chiefs take on the Cincinnati Bengals (8-7).
Make sure you watch Sky Sports NFL every Sunday at 6pm for the first game of our live triple play. Evening entertainment also includes NFL Redzone action organized by Scott Hanson as well as Sunday night football to round off the night.
Sky Sports will broadcast two exclusive live games every Sunday throughout the regular season in the 6pm and 9pm slots, while also showing every game on Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night, as well as every game on Christmas Day.
Fans can also watch every minute of the playoffs in January, followed by Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on February 11.
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