Derek Carr could be forgiven for thinking he was due for another miserable day at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Raiders quarterback had never won in six tries in Kansas City, his quarterback rating so low in his personal house of horrors that he probably deserved to be benched. And when Carr threw an early interception Sunday that helped the Chiefs take a commanding lead, well, it seemed as if history was repeating itself.
“I’ve had a lot of sad walks up that ramp,” Carr said later, “but you know what? Not today.”
Instead, the oft-criticized quarterback steadied his shaky team, outplayed Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and led the Raiders to a 40-32 victory. Carr finished with 347 yards and three touchdowns passing. Perhaps fittingly, he executed the quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 that clinched the win.
“I think we’re back a little bit,” Carr said with a smile, “but we have to win football games against these guys to make it a rivalry. We haven’t done that in a long time. To make it a rivalry, we have to win games like this one.”
The game, tied 24-24 after three quarters, could have gone either way. But with the high-powered Kansas City offense sputtering, the Raiders got the go-ahead touchdown from Josh Jacobs, a field goal from Daniel Carlson and an interception of Mahomes on fourth down to set up Jacobs’s second TD and establish breathing room.
Mahomes quickly answered, hitting Travis Kelce for a TD and Darrel Williams for the 2-point try. But the Raiders (3-2) recovered a squib quick, Jacobs rumbled for a first down as the Chiefs (4-1) burned timeouts, and Carr sneaked for the crucial first down.
“It clicked to me in the locker room. I’m like, ‘Man, this is your first win,’” Jacobs said. “It feels good to see him, and see how good he played in this game, being a captain. He just controlled the game, made sure everybody stayed positive.”
Mahomes spent the entire game trying to escape the Las Vegas pass rush, which manhandled the Chiefs offensive line. He finished with 340 yards passing and two touchdowns along with an interception. Kelce had 108 yards receiving.
“You know, we just didn’t execute at a high enough level,” Mahomes said. “We weren’t running plays the right way and I wasn’t finding the right reads, and that carried over and we didn’t play the second half the way we wanted to.”
The first have ended in 24-24 after the teams combined for nearly 700 yards of offense.
The Chiefs got a touchdown pass from Mahomes to Sammy Watkins, who later left with a hamstring injury, but also had two TD passes brought back by penalties. The first was a 58-yarder to Hill wiped out by a holding call on Kelechi Osemele, who left with a knee injury two plays later. The second was a strike to Clyde Edwards-Helaire late in the half negated by Kelce’s offensive pass interference.
Meanwhile, Carr tossed yet another interception at Arrowhead Stadium, but this time he answered with three first-half touchdown passes: 59 yards to Nelson Agholor, who simply split the Chiefs secondary; tight end Darren Waller in the back of the end zone; and Henry Ruggs III, who hauled in a 72-yard throw for a 24-21 lead.
“They got behind us,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I would say a couple of them were just beat, and then other ones, I’m not sure we were doing the right things. But that’s how these things go.”
The Chiefs tied it at halftime, and the game slowed down during a scoreless third quarter. The Chiefs had to punt on their first three possessions, gaining just two first downs, one on a penalty.
The Raiders pulled ahead on Jacobs’ bullish 7-yard run, then made it a two-possession game when Carr hit Hunter Renfrow for 42 yards on third-and-18 to set up Carlson’s 43-yard field goal. Jeff Heath’s pick of Mahomes on fourth down a few minutes later allowed Jacobs to score again.
“We did not want to give Mahomes another crack at it,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “I marveled at a lot of the plays that Derek made, and I marveled at what Mahomes is able to do. A lot of his offense is unscripted — it’s completely creative, and a lot of it is drawn up by him. Thank God we don’t have to see them again for a few weeks.”
The Raiders placed DT Maurice Hurst on the COVID-19 list earlier this week, and the Chiefs reportedly had an assistant strength and conditioning coach test positive. But contact tracing was done within both organizations and there were no additional positive tests.
Las Vegas: FS Lamarcus Joyner hurt his hamstring on the opening play, Renfrow was shaken up returning a punt but remained in the game, and CB Keisean Nixon hurt his hip covering a punt early in the second half.
Kansas City: Along with injuries to Osemele and Watkins, LB Anthony Hitchens hurt his hand and was off the field in the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs were unable to stop the Las Vegas offense.
Chiefs: were supposed to visit the Bills on Thursday night but will instead play Oct. 19, giving Buffalo time to make up its game against Tennessee on Tuesday.
Raiders: off before facing the Buccaneers on Oct. 25.