Alex Smith was almost perfect in his return to the Bay Area and Jamaal Charles—known for the damage he does on the ground—hauled in four touchdown passes as the Kansas City Chiefs clinched a playoff berth with a 56-31 demolition of the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum Sunday afternoon.
The Chiefs—one year removed from finishing 2-14 and “earning” the No. 1 overall pick in the draft—improved to 11-3. The Raiders fell to 4-10, setting a franchise record for most points allowed in a single game.
Charles came into the game with 1,161 rushing yards, third in the NFL, was held to just 20 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. But he grabbed eight passes for 195 yards and four scores, with four of his five touchdowns coming in the first half as Kansas City grabbed a 35-17 lead at the break.
Smith, who played his first seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, returned to the Bay Area for the first time since he was traded to the Chiefs last spring and was 17-for-20 for 287 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions, achieving a perfect passer rating of 158.3 for the first time in his career.
Rookie Matt McGloin, meanwhile, threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns, but he was picked off four times.
The Chiefs took the lead on a 49-yard flip to Charles on the first play from scrimmage after Quintin Demps returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to the Raiders 49. Charles’ score put the Chiefs up 7-0 just 10 seconds into the game and they never trailed again.
Oakland got it to within 7-3 on a 34-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski 3:50 into the first quarter, but Kansas City exploited the screen pass to Charles to the left flat again, this time for a 39-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead. On Oakland’s next possession, McGloin looked for Marcel Reece over the middle, but safety Eric Berry picked it off and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown and a 21-3 lead.
The Raiders got their first touchdown on the second play of the second quarter on a one-yard run up the middle by Rashad Jennings.
Disaster struck on Oakland’s next drive, however, when McGloin couldn’t handle a snap and the ball was recovered by Tamba Hali for the Chicago at the Oakland 11. Three plays later, Charles scored from a yard out for a 28-10 KC lead.
Berry had his second interception of the day deep in Chiefs territory, picking it off at the 20 and returning it to the Oakland 31. An unnecessary roughness penalty moved the ball to the Raiders 16 and on the first play, the Chiefs—what else—threw into the left flat for Charles for a 16-yard score.
Jennings’ second one-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left in the first half made it 35-17.
The Raiders made it close in the third quarter. Oakland capped their first second-half drive with a six-yard touchdown from McGloin to Andre Holmes to make it 35-24 and after forcing a three-and-out, the Raiders drove 86 yards in 10 plays, closing it with a 14-yard scoring pass from McGloin to Mychal Rivera to make it 35-31.
But it was Charles that got things back under control, going deep this time down the right side and hauling in a 71-yard touchdown pass.
Any hopes the Raiders would stay in the game ended in the next few minutes. Taiwan Jones fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the Raider 28 and the Chiefs scored moments later on a six-yard pass from Smith to Sean McGrath.
Knile Davis capped the scoring for Kansas City in the fourth quarter with a 17-yard run with 8:24 to go.
Jennings finished with 91 yards rushing on 23 carries and two touchdowns. In limited action, Terrelle Pryor was 1-for-4 passing for 12 yards and threw an interception—one of seven Raider turnovers on the day.
The 56 points the Chiefs scored were the most ever surrendered by the Raiders in a single game. Three times, the Raiders had allowed 55 points. The first was in a 55-0 loss to the Houston Oilers on Sept. 9, 1961, the second in a 55-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 22, 1981, and the last time was last season in a 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 11, 2012.
The game was also only the 13th time in franchise history the Raiders turned the ball over at least seven times. The franchise record was set on Dec. 20, 1970, when Oakland had nine turnovers in a 38-7 loss to the 49ers. The last time Oakland had as many as seven giveaways in a game was on Dec. 6, 1998, when the Raiders coughed it up seven times in a 27-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Oakland hits the road next Sunday, visiting the San Diego Chargers (7-7) for a 1:25 p.m. Pacific time kickoff.