Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Chiefs Awaken in Second Half, Remain in Playoff Hunt ; Haskin: Loss at Oakland Still Stings

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Chiefs Awaken in Second Half, Remain in Playoff Hunt ; Haskin: Loss at Oakland Still Stings

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Honestly, you want to revel in all of the Chiefs' fortunes Sunday.

- The 81-yard return of a punt by De'Anthony Thomas that provided Kansas City with its only first-half touchdown.

- The three-TD response in the third quarter following a potentially costly fumble by grease-fingered tight end Travis Kelce.

- The 297 yards passing from quarterback Alex Smith, who managed a season-high before the end of the third quarter.

- The long plays the offense generated off completions, including a 70-yard touchdown from running back Knile Davis.

- A sturdy effort by the defense, which did not allow the Oakland Raiders a touchdown until the final minute as they managed just 280 total yards.

Each of those positives for KC incorporated all three phases. Yet the undeniable truth -- inescapable to anyone who watched the game objectively and managed to stay awake through the first half -- was simple to comprehend.

At 2-12, the Raiders are horrible. That much was clear as the Chiefs prevailed 31-13 in Arrowhead Stadium.

Oakland failed to capitalize on Kelce's fumble. Miserably. It advanced one more yard in the red zone and settled for a 33-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, roughly three minutes into the second half.

Kansas City then took control. One of its touchdowns came on the most benevolent fumble imaginable. Raiders QB Derek Carr took a snap, turned and then dropped the football. Under no duress. Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo recovered at the Oakland 21 and two plays later, Smith hit Kelce over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown.

"You don't expect it," Zombo said. "But the ball's on the ground, I'm jumping on it. It was a momentum swing. Anytime you get a cheap one at the 20-yard line like that, it definitely boosts morale."

Well, unless you happen to be wearing silver-and-black and miss out on the TD opportunity provided by Kelce's fumble. Then, later in the quarter, you leave Kelce free over the middle for a TD two plays after Zombo's recovery.

"It was kind of the build-up to that moment, I'd just fumbled and I was trying to help my team," Kelce said. …

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