Defense shines, dominates highs in Week 17 win over Raiders

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Jan. 3, 2016; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs defensive players celebrate after a Mike DeVito (70) sack against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Jan. 3, 2016; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs defensive players celebrate after a Mike DeVito (70) sack against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Do you believe in miracles? Because the Kansas City Chiefs sure do.

The Chiefs were 1-5 through Week 6. The future looked grim. Playoffs? That hope seemed far fetched 11 weeks ago.

But they weren’t going to give up hope. And 11 weeks later, the Chiefs finished the regular season with 10-straight wins.

The regular season was punctuated with a 23-17 win at home against the Raiders (7-9) to solidify the Chiefs’ first wildcard spot.

A look back at the regular season finale’s highs and lows:

HIGHS

• Safety Ron Parker dominated in multiple facets.

In the first quarter, Parker broke the Chiefs franchise record for all-time sacks by a defensive back. Parker grabbed his third interception of the season in the end zone to but a screeching halt to an early Oakland drive.

• Rookie linebacker D.J. Alexander came up clutch in the third quarter when the Raiders were backed up deep in their own territory. After the defense came up with two sacks to force a three-and-out, Alexander breezed by Raiders rookie linebacker Ben Heeney to block the punt. The ball sailed out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety.

That was the first Chiefs blocked punt since October 2012 when Shaun Draughn blocked a punt at Tampa Bay. That was the first Chiefs safety since September 2012 when linebacker Justin Houston sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees in the end zone.

• Rookie safety Marcus Peters continues to rewrite the record books. After intermission, Peters defensed his 26th pass of the season, breaking the franchise record previously held by Brandon Carr. Carr amassed 25 passes defensed in the 2010 campaign.

• When it rains, it pours and the sacks flooded in for the Chiefs. Defensive end Mike DeVito, linebacker Dee Ford, defensive lineman Jaye Howard, linebacker Frank Zombo, Parker and safety Tyvon Branch all came up with sacks on the day for a total of 6.0 sacks.

• Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin hauled in a touchdown in the Chiefs opening drive for the second straight week. The week before that, against the Baltimore Ravens, running back Charcandrick West hauled in a touchdown on the opening drive.

LOWS

• Quarterback Alex Smith tossed his sixth interception of the season. He turned over at the Chiefs 46-yard line. The turnover didn’t result in any Oakland points, as Parker came up with an interception of his own in the end zone.

But that wasn’t going to be the end of Smith’s mistakes on the day. Smith threw another interception, a pick six, on the first play of the ensuing drive.

The last time Smith tossed two picks in one game came in Week 2 of this season against the Denver Broncos. This game marked the 20th time during Smith’s career where he threw multiple interceptions in a single game.

• A fourth quarter field goal snafu left several speechless. Kicker Cairo Santos connected on the first try, but tight end Travis Kelce was called for holding.

On the attempt after the hold, the snap was good, the hold appeared to be good, but Santos didn’t kick the ball. He passed the ball to fullback Anthony Sherman for three yards, but it was nowhere near the 21 the Chiefs needed for the line to gain.

• Center Mitch Morse left the game in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. Coach Andy Reid said after the game that Morse indeed has a concussion and will go through protocol. He sustained a concussion earlier in the season against the Buffalo Bills during Week 12.

• Houston remained inactive for the fifth straight week with a hyperextended knee. Safety Husain Abdullah remained inactive for the fifth straight week as well. The reason for absence this week is up in the air. He missed the past four weeks because of sustaining a concussion, but on Saturday he took to social media about the passing of his father.

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Amie Just is a contributing writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach her or find her on Twitter: @Amie_Just.

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