Mauga, Chiefs stumble in Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. — On a rainy, soggy night, the Kansas City Chiefs saw its five-game winning streak snapped.
The Chiefs fell 24-20 to Oakland and coupled with Denver’s 39-36 win over Miami on Sunday, Kansas City now sits in second place in the AFC West. It was Oakland’s first win of the season.
Although the Chiefs dropped to 7-4, they still remain in the sixth playoff spot in the AFC. Kansas City hosts Denver on Sunday (5:25 p.m., NBC) in a huge showdown.
The loss presents an uphill battle for Kansas City as the Chiefs end the season with a brutal slate. Four of their five opponents have winning records plus a rematch against Oakland on Dec. 14 in Kansas City, Mo.
The Chiefs host Denver then visit Arizona (9-2) on Dec. 7, host the Raiders, then close the season at Pittsburgh (7-4) on Dec. 21 and host San Diego (7-4) on Dec. 28.
“There is still plenty of football left,” Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga of Fallon said. “We just have to stay together as a group, focus and we are still in the hunt.”
But in Oakland, the Raiders were able to carve up the Chiefs’ run defense as running back Latavius Murray gashed Kansas City for 112 yards and two touchdowns on five carries including a 90-yard TD run.
Murray’s run, which put the Raiders up 14-3, started to the right, but he cut back and bolted past Mauga, who over pursued to leave Murray all alone.
Murray finished with 112 yards on four carries.
“We just started off flat, started off slow,” Mauga said. “They did a great job of scheming and they played hard.”
Battling porous conditions, Kansas City’s offense could not move the ball in the first half. Quarterback Alex Smith completed 8 of 18 passes for 48 yards, while Jamaal Charles ran for 61 yards on 15 carries.
The Raiders (1-10), though, were a step faster and played with a greater sense of urgency in the first half.
Murray showed a spark, but he left the game in the second quarter with a concussion. From that point, Kansas City seized the opportunity to get back into the game.
Early in the third quarter as the rain pounded the field, Mauga nearly changed the outcome, but dropped an interception on a pass by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Mauga read Carr’s eyes, slid underneath a slant route, but the ball skipped through his hands and what could have been a pick-six.
“We came out with more intensity,” Mauga said of the second half. “We wanted to start out fast in the first half and we didn’t, so that kind of hurt us.”
Smith, though, heated up and hit Anthony Fasano for a 19-yard TD pass to trim the lead to 17-10. Charles then took a short pass from Smith and weaved his way 30 yards, and breaking five tackles, for the tying TD.
After a Cairo Santos field goal, Carr led the Raiders down the field and hit James Jones from nine yards out for the game-winning score.
“We just got to play our fundamental football,” Mauga said. “We’re going to get back and make these corrections so these things don’t happen again.”
Kansas City’s quest to return to the playoffs, though, became more difficult when on Monday pro-bowl safety Eric Berry was placed in season-ending injured reserve after team doctors discovered a lump of mass in his chest following an MRI after Thursday’s loss. According to Chiefs reporter BJ Kissel, the mass may be lymphoma and Berry will visit a specialist in Atlanta. Kissel, though, reported there has been no official diagnosis.
“I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom,” Berry said in a statement. “At first I was in shock with the diagnosis on Saturday and did not even want to miss a game, but I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent. I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight. I believe that I am in God’s hands and I have great peace in that. I know my coaches and teammates will hold things down here the rest of the season and until I am back running out of the tunnel at Arrowhead. I am so thankful and appreciative of being a part of this franchise and playing in front of the best fans in the NFL. I will be back!”