LAS VEGAS (AP) – Patrick Mahomes threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce with 28 seconds to play, and the Kansas City Chiefs avenged their only loss in the last 12 months with a 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night.
Mahomes passed for 348 yards and led two go-ahead scoring drives in the frantic fourth quarter for the defending Super Bowl champions, who split their season series with Las Vegas (6-4) in dramatic fashion.
Kelce caught eight passes for 127 yards for the Chiefs (9-1), who are in firm control of the race for their fifth straight AFC West title – but only after another comeback led by their Super Bowl MVP, who rebounded impressively from his second interception of the season late in the first half.
“I’d take him over everybody,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes. “And I’m lucky to have him, as we are as a football team, as we are as a city. When you’re behind, he can make things happen. And he sees. He’s got great vision in the things around him.”
The Raiders led 24-21 on Darren Waller’s TD catch on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Mahomes led a 91-yard scoring drive midway through the period capped by Le’Veon Bell’s first TD for Kansas City.
Derek Carr and the Raiders replied with a crisp drive ending on Jason Witten’s 1-yard TD catch with 1:43 left.
But the Chiefs’ powerhouse offense needed only 75 seconds to go 75 yards for another score, with Mahomes going 6 of 7 on the drive. Kelce got open across the middle for a comfortable score.
“The whole thing I was saying on the sideline is, we’ve got Patrick Mahomes,” running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire said of watching the Raiders’ last scoring drive. “I’m not worried about anything.”
Daniel Sorensen then picked off a heave to midfield by Carr with 19 seconds left, and the Chiefs kneeled out their 18th win in the last 19 games since Nov. 10, 2019.
“Proud of our football team and the job they did, reaching down when needed against a good football team,” Reid said. “The rivalry between the Raiders and the Chiefs, I think, is a great thing for football. It’s great to be a part of it. I look forward to more future challenges like the ones they presented against us.”
Carr passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in a strong performance, but the Raiders couldn’t match their offensive excellence in their 40-32 win at Kansas City last month. The Chiefs have won five straight since that defeat.
“It’s as good as you can play,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Carr. “He had four or five balls that were magnificent throws that we could have caught that we didn’t make the play on. He played tremendous tonight. He played almost flawless.”
Nelson Agholor also caught a TD and Josh Jacobs rushed for a score for the Raiders, who dropped to 2-3 at Allegiant Stadium in their new hometown.
Tyreek Hill caught an early TD pass for the Chiefs, and Edwards-Helaire rushed for 69 yards and two TDs as Kansas City responded to a rare defeat with an inspired performance. These rivals’ mutual distaste was obvious throughout the night, with plenty of confrontations and yapping after whistles. Kelce and Johnathan Abram had particularly active mouths.
The Raiders capped their win in Kansas City last month with a victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium in their team buses, a swaggering gesture that annoyed the Chiefs and Reid, who improved to 19-3 after his bye week with this payback victory.
Las Vegas’ defense hung in against the high-powered Chiefs despite having nine players on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, essentially preventing the defense from practicing for its toughest opponent. Six of those players returned for the game, but the Raiders still played without starters Cory Littleton and Clelin Ferrell.
“It’s hard to swallow right now,” Gruden said. “We’re giving great effort. We’ve got to get some people back out on the field playing. Hopefully we can.”
With two touchdowns apiece on their first two drives, both offenses started even more impressively than they did in their first meeting, which was tied 24-all at halftime after 645 total combined yards.
Las Vegas opened the rematch with a 75-yard TD drive, and Kansas City replied with an 85-yard march ending in Hill’s short TD catch. Agholor made an exceptional toe-tap 17-yard TD catch to end the first quarter, but Edwards-Helaire’s first TD evened it again.
Mahomes drove the Chiefs deep into Raiders territory right before halftime, but Trayvon Mullen snared a pass intended for Demarcus Robinson to preserve Vegas’ 17-14 lead. Mahomes had matched Drew Brees’ NFL record by throwing 26 touchdown passes this season before his second interception.
Kansas City matched its lowest first-half point total against the Raiders since Reid arrived in 2013, but the Chiefs calmly went 93 yards after halftime. The drive was extended by an incredible one-handed catch by Robinson and capped by Edwards-Helaire’s 14-yard catch-and-run TD.
The Raiders responded again, with Carr going 6 for 6 and finding Waller all alone for a 3-yard TD on the first snap of the fourth quarter.
Chiefs: WR Byron Pringle hurt his ankle, but returned to the game.
Raiders: RT Sam Young missed the game with a knee injury, forcing Vegas to use its seventh offensive line combination in 10 games. … DL David Irving injured his knee.
Chiefs: Visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.
Raiders: Visit the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.