KC Chiefs close out regular season with ideal performance
The sort of performance showcased by the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday was exactly what the team needed before the playoffs begin.
The Kansas City Chiefs ended the regular season with a bang on Saturday, earning their 14th win and clinching the AFC’s #1 seed in the process with a 31-13 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. But this was more than just a win for the Chiefs; it was exactly the kind of performance they needed heading into the playoffs.
It was an 18-point win that was vital in so many ways.
Firstly, it clinched the one seed in the AFC for Kansas City, bringing with it the crucial first-round bye in the playoffs.
Secondly, it completed a clean sweep of the AFC West. The Chiefs were a perfect 6-0 against their divisional opponents this season, the perfect way to cap off their seventh consecutive AFC West title.
And thirdly, and by far most importantly, it was a win that got the Chiefs firing on all cylinders at the perfect time – right before the playoffs.
Simply put, Kansas City was fantastic against the Raiders.
The Chiefs have looked unconvincing at times, but they seemed to put any shakiness behind them as they turned in one of their best games of the season. What more could you ask for?
The Chiefs could not have dreamed of a better performance across the board. The defense was spectacular, sacking Jarrett Stidham six times and forcing two turnovers as they held the Raiders to just 13 points – seven of which came late on when the result was beyond doubt. The defensive line got home without necessarily having to blitz, and the secondary looked great across the board as well.
The offense, meanwhile, looked clean and sharp. Mahomes was both dangerous and efficient with the ball, Isiah Pacheco was brilliant on the ground and Kadarius Toney showed more glimpses of just how dynamic he can be. And crucially, they didn’t turn the ball over.
Even special teams, which has been Kansas City’s biggest weakness all season, stepped up. Harrison Butker nailed a field goal and all four of his extra point attempts, while three of Tommy Townsend’s four punts trapped the Raiders inside the 20, including a thumping 61-yard bomb that was downed at the Las Vegas four-yard line.
The game was everything any Chiefs fan could have asked for. After some inconsistent performances against the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans in recent weeks, the Chiefs looked to put that behind them as they dominated the Raiders from start to finish.
A 67-yard bomb from Patrick Mahomes to Justin Watson set the tone early on, with the Chiefs reaching the end zone three plays later on yet another touchdown pass to Jerick McKinnon.
Chris Jones notched his 14th and 15th sacks of the season, Juan Thornhill made a big play with an interception, and the whole defense stood firm to make a key goal-line stop as well.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs had three touchdowns on their opening four drives as they moved the ball up and down the field with ease. And after Mike Danna forced a fumble, Butker drilled a 44-yard kick to end the half and have the Chiefs up 24-3.
The second half was elementary.
KC’s offense was slowed down initially, but the defense ensured the Raiders never had a chance of getting back into the contest as they held Vegas scoreless in the third quarter. A touchdown run from Pacheco early in the fourth put the result beyond any doubt, and while Vegas added a late touchdown of their own, it mattered not.
It was an emphatic performance from Kansas City, one that players, coaches, and fans alike can only be happy with. It gives the Chiefs a ton of momentum heading into the playoffs, while also alleviating some of the biggest concerns surrounding KC’s recent weaknesses in the process.
Simply put, it was the perfect way for Kansas City to close out the regular season.