3 Takeaways from Chiefs' Week 11 Win
While the Kansas City Chiefs might not have viewed their matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders as a revenge game, it was a critical one in the AFC playoff race. The Raiders sat two games back in the AFC West but owned one head-to-head win already. A loss would have put a lot of pressure on Kansas City down the stretch.
Fortunately for the Chiefs, they pulled out a win thanks to some more late-game heroics from Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the offense. It took a touchdown drive with less than two minutes remaining, but the Chiefs did win and now hold a fairly commanding lead in the division.
The victory also gives Kansas city a shot at catching the 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC's No. 1 seed. However, it wasn't the prettiest game the 9-1 Chiefs have played this season, and it does raise some concerns.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from Kansas City's win on Sunday night.
Kansas City Will Have to Overcome a Mediocre Defense
Let's start with the bad: the defense.
While the Chiefs did some good things defensively—including sealing the game with an interception—it was far too often gashed by big plays in the passing game. Derek Carr threw for 275 yards and three scores, while Darren Waller and Nelson Agholor each produced 88 receiving yards.
The Raiders amassed 364 yards while scoring on five of their first eight possessions—and one of those started with just 26 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Kansas City defense has been up-and-down all season, and while it's been worse against the run (26th in the NFL), on Sunday, it struggled to generate pressure or slow the passing game. Carr escaped without taking a sack.
When it comes time for playoff football, this could be a significant issue. The majority of teams Kansas City could face in the postseason are also talented offensively. The Chiefs cannot expect to stage a late game-winning drive every single time they take the field.
Le'Veon Bell Is Proving to Be a Valuable Role Player
Let's get to the good: running back Le'Veon Bell.
A midseason addition, the former Pro Bowl running back merely been a complementary piece in Kansas City's backfield, but he's been a good one. He scored his first touchdown as a Chief on Sunday and added 36 scrimmage yards on seven carries and one reception.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is still the lead back in Kansas City, and Bell made sure that the rookie knew it before joining his new team.
"We had conversations before I even got here," Bell said, per John Dixon of Arrowhead Pride. "so once I kind of got the clearance with Clyde."
However, the presence of Bell gives the Chiefs a high-end second option in the running game, an experienced pass-blocker and a versatile pass-catcher with which to spell their promising rookie. He's the sort of value addition who can pay huge dividends in tight games like the one Kansas City survived against Las Vegas.
Kansas City Is Still the Class of the AFC West
While it took late-game heroics from Mahomes and Co. to pull out the win, the Chiefs proved once again that they are the team to beat in the AFC West. A division title is not a lock, but with six games left to play, it would take a monumental collapse for Kansas City to cede the division to the Raiders now.
Some tough games remain on the Chiefs schedule, most notable the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12 and the New Orleans Saints in Week 15. However, there are also some games that, on paper, should be relatively easy victories.
If Kansas City can take care of the Broncos, Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons, it would have 12 wins. The Raiders will have to go undefeated the rest of the way to equal that mark. While there's still a lot of football left to be played, Sunday's win may have essentially secured another division title for the Chiefs.