The Kansas City Chiefs endured a messy, controversial and sometimes confusing Monday-night contest with the Las Vegas Raiders and narrowly pulled out a victory, toppling their divisional foes 30-29.
While it was a matchup that could have gone down as a classic for how competitive it was from beginning to end, it will undeniably be marred by contentious officiating decisions, subjectively bizarre play calling and even an out-of-character outburst by one of the losing players after the game.
Monday started out almost as poorly as possible for the Chiefs, with the Raiders getting out to an 17-0 lead by the first few minutes of the second quarter. Kansas City responded and closed the gap before halftime, thanks to the first touchdown of a massive night for tight end Travis Kelce and a field goal by replacement kicker Matthew Wright as the first-half clock expired.
But while the action on the field was intense enough, referee Carl Cheffers’ crew enraged the Arrowhead Stadium fans with a roughing the passer call against Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones that only exacerbated anger at officiating following a similar call that favored the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the weekend.
Momentum favored the Chiefs entirely by the end of the third period following another pair of scores by Kelce giving Kansas City a four-point advantage going into the final period. Two more scores ensued, including a Raiders field goal and another Kelce touchdown grab, which led to the curious play calling that impacted the final sequences of the game.
The Raiders scored on a 48-yard strike from Derek Carr to Davante Adams with 4:27 left, cutting the Chiefs’ lead to one point. Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels elected to go for the lead on a two-point conversion attempt, but running back Josh Jacobs was stopped short of the goal line.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, similarly, drew the ire of the home fans not only for going for two after a late score and subsequently, failing, but then by calling for a deep pass on third down and three yards to go with 2:40 t0 play. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ pass fell incomplete and the Raiders got one more chance after a Chiefs punt.
Kansas City’s defense bowed up on the final drive, forcing a turnover on downs and sealing the win.
The final Las Vegas play, a deep shot to Adams that landed incomplete after Adams collided with teammate Hunter Renfroe, led to the two-time All-Pro losing his cool as the final seconds ticked off the clock. After spiking his helmet on the sideline, Adams shoved a cameraman near the Raiders’ tunnel while leaving the field.
Adams said he apologized to the cameraman in the locker room.
Mahomes finished the game 29-of-43 passing for 292 yards and four touchdowns, all of which went to Kelce. Even with those four scores, Kelce had just 25 yards for the game on seven receptions.
“Doubt never seeped in with this group,” Kelce said, “and it’s because we’ve got a lot of veteran guys that know when times get tough we just rally and stick together.”
As for the questionable officiating, Reid refused to get into that part of the contest during postgame.
“You guys are trying to get me fined,” Reid said. “I’m not going there.”
The Chiefs are now 4-1 on the season heading into one of the biggest, most important games of the year next week against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are also 4-1 after blowing out the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend 38-3.