Kansas City Chiefs clinch AFC’s top seed with 31-13 win over Las Vegas Raiders

The Kansas City Chiefs had little trouble with the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, cruising to a 31-13 win over their division rivals to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Due to changes to this year’s AFC playoff structure in the wake of the cancelation of last Monday’s Buffalo BillsCincinnati Bengals game, all the Chiefs had to do to clinch the top seed was win their Week 18 game.

Coach Andy Reid’s group was ready to answer that call.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Reid said, regarding the first-round bye. “You’ve still got to take care of business, our guys understand that.”

Kansas City accomplished its goal despite not playing its most electrifying game offensively. The Chiefs tallied 349 yards of offense in the victory, tied for their fourth-lowest total of the season.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes had an especially pedestrian game for his standards. The potential NFL MVP completed completed 18-of-26 passes for just 202 yards and one touchdown. That’s the seventh-lowest passing yards total of his career in a single game (excluding a 2019 game he had to leave due an early injury). The most explosive play of the day was his first pass, a 67-yard bomb to wide receiver Justin Watson.

“I still could have been better, especially in the second half, but it was nice to get that going early,” Mahomes said.

His lone touchdown pass went to running back Jerick McKinnon, extending his NFL record for games with a receiving touchdown among running backs to six.

Mahomes did make NFL history in the win, however; he now owns the record for the most combined yards in a single season in league history with 5,614. That breaks the record set in 2011 by Drew Brees.

The Chiefs’ running game was the conduit for most of their scoring success, even though no one player had particularly special stats. Three different Chiefs ran for scores though, including running backs Isiah Pacheco and Ronald Jones, as well as wide receiver Kadarius Toney.

Their most important statistic of the day was the turnover margin, in which they were +2. That’s only the fourth time all year the Chiefs have gone a full game without committing a turnover.

While it wasn’t a banner night for the Kansas City offense, it was for its defense, limiting the Las Vegas offense to just 279 total yards and a single touchdown that came long after the game was out of reach.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones capped off his career year with one more standout regular-season performance, recording 2.5 sacks including one of the Raiders’ final offensive play of the day. He finishes the year with 15.5 sacks and at least one in four of the last five games.

Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham, making the second start of his career, struggled against the Chiefs’ defense. He went 22-of-36 for 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was also the Raiders’ leading rusher with 50 yards on seven carries. That outdid Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s rushing leader entering this week, who had just 45 yards on 17 carries.

Wide receiver Davante Adams, who torched the Chiefs earlier this season for 124 yards and two touchdowns, was held to just five reception, 73 yards and no scores.

“I thought our run defense and pass defense were tremendous,” Reid said.

The Chiefs now have plenty of time to relax before they’re in action again, but it will also be at least a week until they know who they’ll play in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. Kansas City will play the lowest-remaining seed in the playoffs two weekends from now.

As of publication time, two playoff spots are still open in the AFC and several seeds are still to be determined. The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars are playing Saturday night to determine the AFC South champion and four seed, while multiple teams are in play for the seven seed on Sunday.

For more reaction to the Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-13 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3:00 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-6:00 p.m. Monday on 580 WIBW.