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Second-half struggles end for Chiefs in Las Vegas

Chiefs running back Isaiah Pacheco dances in the end zone after one of his two touchdowns on Sunday in Las Vegas.Jeff Lewis/Associated Press

Three games in a row without a point in the second half. A two-touchdown deficit not even an hour into Sunday’s game at Las Vegas.

This is the vaunted Patrick Mahomes-led offense?

Well, yes, as it turned out. The Kansas City Chiefs began to look more like their Super Bowl selves in the second quarter, and by the end, Mahomes had passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns to rally past the Raiders, 31-17.

“We’re so used to Pat scoring 30 points a game,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “We’ve been so spoiled with that as a team. It might not have started [this season] the way we wanted it to start, but as this offense continues to play, they’re going to continue to get better. We’re going to get back in that rhythm of Pat scoring 30.”

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Andy Reid won his 125th career game as the Chiefs coach, passing Hank Stram for the team record. That also made Reid the first NFL coach to hold that distinction for two teams — he won 130 games in Philadelphia.

Kansas City (8-3) fell behind, 14-0, in the second quarter but tied it by halftime and pulled away after that. Isiah Pacheco rushed for two touchdowns, and Rashee Rice caught eight passes for 107 yards and a TD.

“We still have stuff to learn from this game,” Mahomes said. “There were some situations where we didn’t execute at a high enough offensive level, but we obviously took a step in a positive direction. Now it’s just continuing to do that throughout the rest of the season.”

Josh Jacobs rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders (5-7), ending a 12-game streak in which the Chiefs did not allow a 100-yard rusher.

The NFL’s reigning rushing champion also broke 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season to become the only player to reach that mark each year since 2019. He joined Hall of Famer Marcus Allen as the only Raiders backs to accomplish that in their first five seasons.

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Las Vegas’s Aidan O’Connell passed for 248 yards and a touchdown.

The Chiefs have held 11 consecutive opponents to 24 or fewer points, just three off the team record. They shut down the Raiders in the second half, holding them to 113 yards after Las Vegas picked up 245 in the first two quarters.

“Defensively, our guys put the hammer down when needed,” Reid said.

Kansas City extended its winning streak to six games over the Raiders, and the Chiefs have beaten their AFC West rival in 16 of the past 18 meetings.

More importantly for the Chiefs, they bounced back from a 21-17 loss Monday night to Philadelphia, a Super Bowl rematch in which several receivers dropped passes.

“It’s a tough thing to do to win a game like this after a big Monday night game and then Thanksgiving,” Reid said. “You get the tryptophan hangover, so you’ve got to work through that.”

Kansas City’s receivers did a much better job against Las Vegas with just one drop, especially after the Raiders took the lead on an 18-yard pass from O’Connell to Jakobi Meyers and a 63-yard run by Jacobs in which he stiff-armed safety Mike Edwards. But Las Vegas also left points on the board when interim coach Antonio Pierce eschewed going for it on fourth-and-1 and Daniel Carlson missed a 30-yard field goal to the right.

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Kansas City answered with short two touchdowns in the second quarter to tie the game and end a three-period scoreless stretch. Pacheco rushed for a 1-yard score and Mahomes connected with Justin Watson on a 3-yard TD 25 seconds before the break.

The Chiefs took a 21-14 lead to open the second half on another 1-yard Pacheco touchdown run. They took full control early in the fourth when Mahomes converted a third-and-6 with a short pass to Rice, who maneuvered down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown and a 28-17 lead.

“I think as the game went on, for four quarters, they became the better team,” Pierce said. “There’s a reason why Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in football.”

Ravens 20, Chargers 10 — Boston College rookie Zay Flowers had a touchdown catch and ran for a game-sealing score late in the fourth quarter, Baltimore’s defense forced four turnovers, and the AFC-best Ravens (9-3) won in Los Angeles (4-7). Lamar Jackson threw for 177 yards and ran for 39 on 11 carries, becoming the fourth quarterback in NFL history to exceed 5,000 rushing yards — and the fastest by far to do it at 82 games. The Chargers largely bottled up the Ravens’ offense in the second half, but Flowers took an end-around on third-and-2 and dashed for a 37-yard touchdown with 1:36 left. Justin Herbert was 29 of 44 for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Chargers, who have lost three straight and are last in the AFC West heading into next week’s visit to Foxborough.

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Colts 27, Buccaneers 20 — Jonathan Taylor ran for two scores, Gardner Minshew added another, and host Indianapolis (6-5) came up with a late turnover to preserve a victory over Tampa Bay (4-7), which has lost four straight road games. Indy gashed the usually stingy Tampa Bay run defense for 155 yards and 5.7 yards per carry — numbers that would have been even higher if Taylor had not slid down inbounds to keep the clock running late before the Colts started kneeling down. Taylor had 15 carries for 91 yards and his first multiple score game of the season. Zack Moss ran eight times for 55 yards as the Colts took control early and never allowed the Bucs to completely recover after Baker Mayfield injured his right ankle on the game’s opening series.

Rams 37, Cardinals 14 — In Glendale, Ariz., Matthew Stafford threw for 229 yards and a season-high four touchdown passes, two each to Tyler Higbee and Kyren Williams, and Los Angeles (5-6) scored 30 unanswered points after falling behind, 8-7, in the first quarter. Williams had a huge game in his return from an ankle injury, running for 143 yards and catching six passes for 61 yards, including touchdown receptions of 15 and 3 yards. The Rams have won nine straight games in Arizona going back to 2014. Meanwhile, Arizona (2-10) has lost eight of its past nine overall. Murray completed 27 of 45 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown in his third game since returning from an ACL tear in his right knee.

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Broncos 29, Browns 12 — Russell Wilson accounted for two touchdowns and his defense produced three more takeaways — giving it 15 in the last four games — and a safety as Denver (6-5) moved above .500 for the first time under coach Sean Payton with its fifth consecutive victory. Cleveland (7-4) missed out on a chance to match its best start since 1999 and lost several starters to injury, including rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (head) in his first road start. The Broncos sacked his backup, P.J. Walker, four times. Wilson threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Adam Trautman after defensive tackle D.J. Jones recovered a fumbled reverse at the Cleveland 20-yard line early in the fourth quarter, pushing the Broncos’ lead to 24-12. Mike Purcell and Alex Singleton also recovered fumbles for Denver.

Falcons 24, Saints 15 — Desmond Ridder overcame two interceptions by throwing a touchdown pass to Bijan Robinson in the fourth quarter and Atlanta (5-6) moved into a first-place tie in the woeful NFC South by beating New Orleans (5-6), which was limited by injury problems at wide receiver after losing Chris Olave (concussion) and Rashid Shaheed (thigh). New Orleans still outgained the Falcons, 444-397, as Derek Carr passed for 304 yards, but had to settle for five field goals by Blake Grupe. Atlanta led, 14-12, before Ridder lofted the 26-yard scoring pass to Robinson, who also ran for 91 yards with a touchdown. Ridder completed 13 of 21 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Titans 17, Panthers 10 — Derrick Henry ran for two touchdowns and 76 yards, helping Tennessee (4-7) snap a three-game skid and move to 4-0 at home. Arden Key had a sack and forced fumble recovered by two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, who also had one of four sacks by Tennessee. Denico Autry had two, the second just two plays before the Titans forced the Panthers to turn the ball over on downs with 1:55 left to seal the victory. Rookie quarterback Will Levis threw for 185 yards and was sacked only once despite an offensive line featuring a pair of rookies. Carolina (1-10) started a three-game road swing by losing its fourth straight. The Panthers are 0-6 on the road. Bryce Young threw for 194 yards as Carolina held the ball much of the second half, but managed to score only once.