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Chiefs Miscues Lead to 2 Defensive TDs by Raiders in 20-14 Loss on Christmas Day




KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Isiah Pacheco trudged off the field after another unsuccessful offensive series, tried to sit down on one of the exam tables on the Kansas City sideline and promptly had it collapse on him, sending the Chiefs running back onto his backside.

Just about summed up Christmas Day for the defending Super Bowl champions.

In one of the sloppiest performances of the Patrick Mahomes era, the Chiefs allowed the Raiders to score defensive touchdowns 7 seconds apart, committed a slew of penalties, dropped more passes and were generally inept on offense. Twice they failed to convert on fourth down in the second half, including once inside the Raiders 10 with the outcome still undecided.

The result was a 20-14 loss that not only denied Kansas City an opportunity to clinch the AFC West for the eighth consecutive season, but also dealt coach Andy Reid’s team a crippling blow to its hopes of earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

“There were just mistakes, offensively,” Mahomes said. “The defense played a good game.”

After a 6-1 start, the Chiefs (9-6) have lost three of their past four, four of their past six and five of their past eight games.

“We had an opportunity to win the division this week and we didn’t do it,” Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton said.

Indeed, there wasn’t much worth cheering about for pop star Taylor Swift, who is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and who walked into Arrowhead Stadium alongside Santa Claus before the game.

The Chiefs went three-and-out on each of their first two series and things never really improved the rest of the game.

It was the turnovers just seconds apart that cost the Chiefs so dearly, though.

The Chiefs had one trick play work earlier in the game, when Mahomes and Pacheco split wide, and the running back motioned into the backfield for a direct snap that he took 12 yards for a score. But when they tried another trick play, with another direct snap to Pacheco, he tried to hand off to Mahomes and the ball hit the turf.

Bilal Nichols was there for the Raiders, scooping it up and rumbling in for a touchdown and a 9-7 lead.

On the very next play, Mahomes looked to his right and threw his pass late toward the sideline, and Jack Jones stepped in front of it. The Raiders defensive back coasted the other way untouched 33 yards for a score, the second pick-6 for him in as many weeks — and one that he appeared to cap by faking out giving the ball to a kid sitting in the stands.

So much for a Merry Christmas in Kansas City.

Still, the Chiefs gave themselves a chance when Mahomes hit Richie James for a 45-yard gain in the waning minutes, then found Justin Watson in the end zone a few minutes later. But the Kansas City defense, which had been the lone bright spot throughout the game, allowed Zamir White to run loose for a first down that put the game away.

“We’ve got to be better as a team,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “Special teams, defense, we had an opportunity to give the offense a chance to get the ball back and score, and we weren’t successful.”

Mahomes was 27 of 44 for 235 yards with that TD and an interception, while a second pick was overturned upon review. He also was sacked four times, including three by Malcolm Koonce, who seemed to be in the Chiefs backfield on every play.

“You see glimpses of us moving the football. You see glimpses of us scoring in the red zone,” Mahomes said. “It’s just we haven’t done it consistently enough, game in, game out. We have one good game, one bad game, one good game, one bad game.

“We have to be more consistent because when you get to the playoffs you have to string some together. So, I think our focus this week is how can we get better against Cincinnati and find a way to beat a good football team.”

The Chiefs can still clinch the division title next week against Cincinnati, or if they get some help elsewhere, and they should be favored in their regular-season finale against the Chargers. But their chances for the No. 1 seed took a hit.

Meanwhile, the Raiders were left savoring a win that kept their own playoff hopes alive, and one that ended a losing streak to their longtime division rivals stretching to the 2020 season.

“We’ve got to clean it up,” Mahomes said. “We’ve got two games left. We have to do it and if we don’t we’ll be going home. So, if we clean it up we can beat anybody, but we have to prove we can do it.”