KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After spotting Las Vegas a three-score lead, the Kansas City Chiefs mounted a emotional rally led by Travis Kelce's four touchdowns en route to a 30-29 victory Monday night at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Raiders-Chiefs, baby — it’s going to bring it out of you, man, especially when we started off a little slow,” said Kelce, who finished with seven catches for only 25 yards to go with the four scores. “We had some calls not go our way, but it got not only us fired up, but that entire stadium fired up. Arrowhead had our backs and we just rallied together and really fought through that one.”
The Raiders scored the game’s first 17 points and the Chiefs never led until the three-minute, 20-second mark in the third quarter, but Andy Reid’s and Patrick Mahomes’ dominance in the rivalry continued nonetheless.
Kansas City (4-1) improved to 16-3 against the Raiders (1-4) under Reid, including 8-1 with Mahomes at quarterback.
“Our crowd, man, our crowd was tremendous tonight, digging in for four quarters with us and hanging in,” Reid said.
Mahomes' first touchdown to Kelce, a 1-yard score late in the second quarter, kicked off the Chiefs’ comeback from a 17-0 hole.
That connection produced two more third-quarter scores, the game’s only points in the period, as Kansas City erased a 20-10 halftime deficit on 4-and 8-yard touchdowns from Mahomes to Kelce.
The Raiders drew within a point on a 47-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but Kelce’s fourth TD — on another 1-yard pass from Mahomes — pushed that lead back to seven after a failed two-point conversion.
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr hooked up with his new All-Pro target, wide receiver Davante Adams, for their second long touchdown on the ensuing drive.
But the Raiders still trailed after Josh Jacobs, who finished with 154 yards rushing before leaving in the closing minutes with a shoulder injury, was stopped short on the two-point try with 4:27 remaining.
Las Vegas forced a punt with 2:36 remaining, but Kansas City’s defense didn’t give Daniel Carlson a crack at the game-winning field goal.
“We never hit the panic button,” safety Juan Thornhill said. “That's the thing I love about this group. No one panics; we stay calm, cool and collected and just step out there and continue playing.”
After a booth review overturned a completion to Adams that may have given Carlson, who drilled three field goals of at least 47 yards in the loss, Carr’s fourth-down heave landed harmlessly and the Chiefs prevailed.
A blitzing Nick Bolton flattened Carr as two Raiders receivers tangled feet on the fourth-and-1 deep shot from near midfield.
“I was just trying to get a clean hit on him,” said Bolton, who finished with nine tackles. “I knew it was going to be bang-bang and when I hit him he was going to get rid of it. It’s fourth down, so he can’t take a sack. I hit him, turned around and saw the two wide receivers collide, realized it was incomplete and it was game over.”
Marquez Valdes-Scantling had his best game with Kansas City, catching six passes for a team-high 90 yards, while Mecole Hardman Jr. added four catches for 73 yards.
“Obviously, it was good to go out and get this win on my birthday,” Valdes-Scantling said. “It was good to be able to bounce back after being down 17-0 to a good football team.”
Jerick McKinnon led the backfield with eight carries for 53 yards, including a tough 30-yard run on the Chiefs' first touchdown drive that helped the offense gain a foothold.
Kansas City got off to a sloppy start and fell behind 17-0, which Kelce described as a "disappointment."
Poor tackling, which set up fourth-and-inches rather than a Las Vegas punt, led to the Raiders’ first touchdown.
First-year Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels called a play-action pass from a jumbo set, which left Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton isolated against Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams.
The result was a 58-yard touchdown.
After Chiefs replacement kicker Matthew Wright missed a 41-yard field goal, Adams drew two pass-interference penalties on another Raiders touchdown drive.
Las Vegas running back Josh Jacobs did the honors on a 1-yard run. Fenton and rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson were flagged for interference earlier in the drive.
When Carlson connected on a 53-yard field goal early in the second quarter, the Raiders appeared firmly in control 17-0.
“It was a fun game to see everybody rally together like that, being down 17 or whatever it was,” Kelce said. “Nobody cracked. You didn’t see doubt in anybody’s eyes. All it did was almost build the beast, made us rally together, circle the wagons and fight for each other.”
The teams traded field goals in the final 17 seconds after a controversial roughing-the-penalty passer on Chris Jones, who appeared to recover a fumble.
Instead, the drive continued and Carlson delivered from 50 yards out with 17 seconds left.
Aided by a facemask penalty against Las Vegas, which was flagged for 11 penalties, the half ended on a 59-yard field goal by Matthew Wright — a new Kansas City franchise record.
“We didn’t realize that (it was a franchise record), but we knew how long it was because he was down on the 50-yard line when he kicked it,” Valdes-Scantling said. “It was great to see ... and obviously we needed every point to get it done.”
Wright, who missed from 41 yards in the first quarter, and again from 37 yards, though a penalty bailed him out and led to Kelce’s fourth TD, was among the more unlikely heroes with Harrison Butker sidelined for a fourth straight game.
Kansas City was forced to shuffle its offensive line with right guard Trey Smith inactive and struggled to get the run game going.