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Mahomes, Kelce Lead Chiefs to 30-29 Comeback Win Over Raiders

Whether you’re up by seven or 17 or 27 early, if you’re going up against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs and there’s a half of football left, no lead is safe.

The Las Vegas Raiders shot out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter Monday night, but that just set the stage for two and a half quarters of a Kansas City comeback. Behind the deadly combo of Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs pulled closer, then even, then ahead, before a final gasp from the Raiders fell short, giving Kansas City a 30-29 victory and its ninth win in the last 10 meetings between the teams.

Methodical, Magical Mahomes

At the time the Raiders took a 17-0, second-quarter lead, Las Vegas was in control of all facets of the game. The Raiders controlled the scoreboard and the clock, and the big men controlled the trenches on either side of the ball.

But Mahomes led one touchdown drive. Then with only 17 seconds left in the half — and aided by a penalty — the quarterback drove his team 34 yards to set up a 59-yard field goal from Matthew Wright just before halftime. While the Raiders still led 20-10 at the break, those two drives were only a prelude to a second act that everyone knew was coming.

Starting with those two first-half series, Mahomes led Kansas City to a touchdown or field goal on five consecutive drives, taking the score from 17-0 in favor of Vegas to 30-23 in Kansas City’s favor. While Mahomes is no stranger to massive comebacks come playoff time, the 17-point comeback marked his largest come-from-behind win in a regular season game, and it took 29-of-43 passing for 292 yards and four touchdowns to do so, along with the efforts of another familiar name.

A Monday Night First

Kelce had 60 career touchdowns entering Monday night’s game, in one of the greatest tight end careers the league has seen. But he had just one career three-touchdown game. Kelce used Monday night to record his second, but then take it up another notch.

Kelce recorded his first career four-touchdown game in the win, becoming the first player in the 52-year history of Monday Night Football to catch as many touchdowns in one game. After bringing in one score in the first half, he reached the end zone on each of Kansas City’s first three possessions of the second half, putting himself on center stage of the comeback win as much as the man throwing him the passes. Kelce became just the fourth tight end to record four or more touchdown catches in one game, joining Kellen Winslow Sr., Mike Ditka, and Jimmie Giles.

Big Names, Big Games

Despite the loss, Las Vegas got big plays and big games out of the players it needed to on offense to earn that early lead and stay competitive as K.C. made its comeback. Specifically, RB Josh Jacobs and WR Davante Adams.

Adams provided the splash plays for Vegas. His first was a 58-yard touchdown on the team’s second series of the game, on a fourth-down gamble. And after Kelce’s fourth touchdown pushed K.C.’s lead to seven, Adams responded with a 48-yard TD catch on a pristine throw from quarterback Derek Carr. Though Adams finished with only three catches, he reached 124 yards, and made an impact on other plays. The Raiders’ second touchdown of the game was set up by a pair of pass-interference flags drawn by Adams, for 48 total yards.

Jacobs meanwhile was the steady presence throughout the game for Vegas, putting together a big game one week after setting a career high in rushing yards. Jacobs had 144 yards in that game, and then set another career high by ripping off 154 in Monday night’s loss. He averaged more than 7 yards per carry on 21 touches, and provided the Raiders with one touchdown.

But it was another play involving Jacobs that will lead to many questions between this loss and the Raiders’ next contest.

A Questionable Two-Point Try

The Raiders and head coach Josh McDaniels proved they weren’t afraid to gamble when they went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 42-yard line on just their second possession of the game. That led to a touchdown and early lead. But another gamble late in the game cost them what could have been a deciding lead.

After Adams’ second touchdown, McDaniels elected to go for two while trailing 30-29, rather than kick the extra point to tie the game with 4:27 to play. The Raiders ran the ball with Jacobs up the middle, but a play that had worked considerably throughout the game failed when it mattered most. The stop kept Kansas City in front, and forced Vegas into four-down territory with 2:29 to go, needing to get into field-goal range to attempt a game-winner.

Despite pushing nearly to midfield, a fourth-down throw in Adams’ direction fell incomplete, sealing the Raiders’ loss.

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