Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid kept saying through the first four game of the season that if his team’s offense stopped digging itself into a hole with turnovers, penalties and other mistakes, all would be well. The Chiefs’ 26-10 victory at Oakland proved him right.
“We’d been kind of shooting ourselves in the foot,” Reid told reporters in his press conference after the game. “If you ever get those things straightened out, we have a pretty good chance of doing OK.”
With zero turnovers, just one offensive penalty and more than 400 yards of offense, the Chiefs, 3-2, put the embarrassment of their 42-14 blowout loss at Pittsburgh in the rear view mirror and placed a shot at first place in the AFC West directly in their sights. They sit one-half game behind the Raiders and Denver, both 4-2.
Heavy rains before and during the game created a swamp on the Oakland Coliseum turf, but it failed to slow down the Chiefs rushing attack. The team’s running back stable toiled away for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Spencer Ware carried much of the workload, picking up 131 yards on 24 carries. Jamaal Charles added 33 yards on nine rushes in his first substantial playing time since coming back from knee surgery.
Reid praised Ware for his punishing running, particularly late in the game as the team salted away its lead.
“He’s so tough, and having them both out there, that’s a win-win,” Reid said about the Ware-Charles tandem. “They are completely different players. I thought they both did a nice job out there.”
Quarterback Alex Smith finished the day nearly perfect with 19-of-22 passing for 224 yards. He completed 15 passes in a row at one point, tying Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the team record for consecutive completions in a game. His 86.36 completion percentage broke his own team record set against St. Louis in 2014.
Smith said playing with the lead early allowed the Chiefs to maintain a better mix of run and pass plays to keep the Raiders off balance.
“Spreading the field, I thought we did a great job taking our shots today, and when we did, hitting them,” Smith told reporters. “Certainly the running game got us going and staying with that.”
The Chiefs even got an offensive touchdown from an usually source – defensive end Dontari Poe. The 346-pound Poe lined up wide of the line of scrimmage with the Chiefs at the Raiders 1-yard line. Smith threw a screen pass to Poe, who rumbled in for the touchdown.
“Just a simple motion and Alex threw the ball perfect,” Poe said, “so I just had to clap my hands together and just tug it in and run.”
The Chiefs defense also shined, holding the Raiders to 286 yards of offense, including just 95 yards in the second half.
Defensive turnovers proved timely, with cornerback Marcus Peters intercepting a Derek Carr pass to setup up the Chiefs first touchdown. Peters said Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree initially beat him with a double move, but he did not believe Carr could throw the wet, heavy ball far downfield.
“I knew the ball was going to hang.” Peters said. “As soon as he got passed me, I just looked up. I trusted my instincts. And I knew that I had somebody over the top.”
Linebacker Dee Ford added two sacks and forced a fumble recovered by linebacker Tamba Hali that snuffed out the Raiders’ final scoring threat.
The field conditions seemed to most affect normally reliable kicker Cairo Santos. He missed an extra point and narrowly made another one while also sailing a 38-yard field goal try wide right.
“But he bounced back,” Reid said. “He got himself back in the groove the second half and did a better job.”
The Chiefs finished the game out without two key secondary defenders. Cornerback Marcus Peters left the game midway through the fourth quarter after making a tackle on Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera. Peters appeared wobbly after the hit. Reid said he cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol, but would continue to be monitored
“It was just a regular stinger,” Peters said. “But you go through protocol, they have to go through and look at everything. But I’m fine.”
Cornerback Phillip Gaines left the game in the first half with inflammation in his left. Gaines had surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the knee last September. He tweaked the knee prior to the team’s week three matchup against the Jets, which caused him to miss the team’s last game at Pittsburgh.
Defensive end Allen Bailey also left the game with a shoulder contusion. Starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif briefly left the game in the fourth quarter with ankle inflammation but returned the for the final drive.
The Chiefs host the New Orleans Saints at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday for a noon kickoff. The Saints improved to 2-3 on the season with a 41-38 home win over Carolina Sunday.