By Terrance Turner
Oct. 10, 2022
It was Kansas versus Vegas on tonight’s “Monday Night Football”. The Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Las Vegas Raiders inside Arrowhead Stadium tonight. Crowds filled up the stadium to see them face off in a division rival. In a wild game marked by several game-changing calls, the Chiefs overcame a huge first-half deficit to take the lead. Down 17-0 early, they fought their way back to win — largely because of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. His four touchdowns set a MNF record and helped the Chiefs escape with a narrow victory.
The game began with a quick three-and-out by the Raiders, followed by one by the Chiefs. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes got caught by Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby. (Crosby was credited with a sack. And Crosby wreaked havoc all night, leading the Vegas defense.) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr got sacked, too, on the first play of the next drive. (Chiefs defensive ends George Karlaftis and Frank Clark combined for the tackle.) But the Raiders hung in there and decided to go for it on 4th down.
On 4th and 1, Carr found Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, who ran untouched into the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown. It’s Carr’s 200th career touchdown pass.
Down by seven, Kansas City got to work on its next drive. The Chiefs got within field goal range. But their kicker Harrison Butker is still sidelined with an ankle injury. So Matthew Wright is the (latest) kicker for the Chiefs. And he missed what could’ve been a 41-yard field goal.
The Chiefs stayed scoreless. But the Raiders took advantage of their possession, which stretched past the end of the first quarter. They got help moving down the field, thanks to a defensive penalty. Referees flagged Kansas City defensive back Rashad Fenton for defensive pass interference. Las Vegas gained 25 yards off the penalty. Two plays later, they were at the one-yard line. Running back Josh Jacobs scored a one-yard TD.
The Raiders later added a field goal to take a 17-0 lead.
Down by 17, the Chiefs had to score — and did. Wide receiver Jerick McKinnon broke a wall of tackles and escaped for a 30-yard run. Mahomes got the Chiefs into the red zone with a pass to WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling. Then running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire powered his way past the one yard line. Initially it was ruled a touchdown. But after review, refs determined that Edwards had been down by contact. The call was reversed. Finally, on 3rd and goal, Mahomes threw to tight end Travis Kelce for the touchdown.
A Controversial Call
The second half hinged on a major call by the referees that would alter the course of the game. The Raiders decided to go for it on 3rd down, and Carr got sacked by Chiefs defensive and Chris Jones. And Jones ended up with the football and what should have been a fumble recovery but the referees flagged Jones for roughing the passer. Both fans and commentators (loudly) questioned the call, shown below.
The crowd in Arrowhead Stadium erupted in boos. Later they chanted, “Ref, YOU SUCK!!”
And they continued to boo as the drive continued. (They had reason to be upset: the ref’s call took away Jones’s fumble, took possession from the Chiefs AND gave the Raiders the ball back. And the Raiders cashed in on that call kicking a field goal to make it 20-7.)
But with just 21 seconds left, the Chiefs got the ball back. And they ended up with a field goal too. Their kicker had little experience and had never attempted a kick from this distance before. But Wright somehow kicked through a 59-yard field goal. He made it 20-10 at halftime. And Chiefs fans were still livid at halftime. They didn’t realize that the tide had already turned. What had at first looked like a blowout had suddenly become a fairly close game.
Things got even closer in the third quarter. Travis Kelce caught his second touchdown. The crowd exploded in cheers. And the booing (temporarily) stopped.
What came next was a disastrous drive by the Raiders. First a delay of game penalty. Then Carr, pursued by defenders, just threw the ball away on 2nd down. After conferring for a minute, the refs threw a flag for intentional grounding. The penalty came with loss of down. So now it was 3rd down. And then Carr’s short pass to tight end Jesper Horsted wasn’t enough for a first down.
So the ball went back to Kansas City. The drive got off to a rough start: Mahomes tried to get up and throw after stumbling during the snap. Instead he was sacked by the Vegas defense. But on the next attempt, he threw to Kelce, who deftly held off defenders as he ran to the end zone. Kelce had scored his third touchdown of the night.
Jacobs took off running on consecutive plays, picking up 37 yards the first time. The second time he got the Raiders to the 30. But then Carr was sacked. The Raiders’ drive ended shortly after.
Kansas City took over. Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman picked up 36 yards on a catch but got hurt while running out of bounds. He hobbled over to the bench, in visible pain, and took off his helmet. Chiefs staff tended to him on the sideline. Announcer Joe Buck said Hardman has been dealing with a heel injury. But two plays later he was back in the game, helping Kansas City inch closer to the red zone.
The Chiefs went for a 37-yard field goal. Wright missed the kick, but the refs threw a flag right after. It was for defensive holding. By rule, that was a 5-yard penalty and an automatic first down. So instead of a missed field goal the Chiefs now had a first down — and a chance to keep the ball.
The drive continued. Mahomes threw a pass to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The RB ran forward and got knocked out of bounds inside the five yard line. Then on 1st and goal, Mahomes threw a one-yard pass to – who else? – Travis Kelce. Touchdown — his fourth of the night. Kansas City took the lead.
The Chiefs now led, 30-23. But the Raiders cut into that lead quickly. At the end of their drive, Carr threw across the field to Adams for the touchdown. Adams’ second TD catch made it a one-point game. The Raiders went for two in hopes of taking the lead. They opted for a run play. But the runner’s knee was just short of the goal line. The conversion attempt failed, and so it was still a 1-point game: 30-29.
Kansas City got the ball back with about four minutes left. But their drive stalled and didn’t produce any points. So they kicked the ball back to the Raiders, who looked for a while as if they might score. On third and one at the Las Vegas 46 yard line, Carr threw a short right pass to Adams, who ran out of bounds. His 15-yard catch and run was enough for a first down and enough to bring the Raiders within field goal range. But video replay revealed that Adams only secured the catch as he was going out of bounds; he only got one foot down.
After a lengthy review, the referees announced that their ruling would be reversed. It was an incomplete pass. Las Vegas was out of field goal range. The Raiders had turned the ball over on downs. The game was over. And Adams was beside himself:
The Chiefs took a knee to close out the game. They won, 30-29. And a big reason why was Travis Kelce. Tonight, Kelce became the first tight end since 1985 (!) to catch four touchdowns in a game. The tight end, who turned 33 last Wednesday, is playing better than ever.
Reporter Lisa Salters made note of Kelce’s recent birthday during his postgame interview. Kelce pointed out that today is his mother’s birthday. As he and Salters were talking, Mahomes ran up to give Kelce a bear hug. “I love this dude right here!” Mahomes exclaimed. “That’s my DAWG.”