KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs used a steady passing game and the blazing speed of Tyreek Hill building a 21-10 halftime lead over the Oakland Raiders, but the lead came with a hefty price.
Tyreek Hill caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown and added a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown. But the sight of linebacker Derrick Johnson leaving the field with an apparent left foot injury took some of the air out of Arrowhead Stadium.
The team declared Johnson out the remainder of the game with an Achilles injury.
Hill’s first half performance could only be defined as electric. He’s 36-yard touchdown on a post pattern gave the Chief their first lead of the game at 7-3.
After running back Charcandrick added a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3, Hill stole the spotlight one more time.
Oakland punted the ball to Hill with 6 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Hill ran backwards and posted a four-yard loss on the play. But officials flagged Oakland’s Taiwan Jones for intentionally running out of bounds. The Chiefs accepted the penalty, forcing a second punt.
As Hill lined up to receive the punt, that Arrowhead Stadium crowd seemingly as one begant chanting Hill’s first name, with a chorus of “Tyreek” cascading through the stadium.
Hill responded by taking the punt and zipping through the Raiders punt coverage, running the kick back 78 yards.
Following the departure of Johnson, the Raiders offense showed signs of life. The Raiders drove 92 yards for a score, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray with just seconds remaining in the half.
Smith finished the half 11-of-16 passing for 202 yards and a touchdown. Chris Conley led all receivers with two catches for 70 yards. Spencer Ware gained 15 yards on seven carries.
Keys to the second half for the Chiefs:
Regain defensive swagger
The Chiefs defense smothered the Raiders for most of the first half. Oakland totaled just 125 yards of offense in the first half, with 92 of those yards coming on the final drive of the half. A total of 81 yards came after Johnson’s departure.
The defense needs to regain the enthusiasm it held in building a 21-3 lead. D.J. Alexander likely fills some of the snaps left with Johnson out. The team may also rely more on Ramik Wilson and favor nickel and dime packages utilizing Daniel Sorensen in the box for Johnson.
Keep Travis Kelce involved
Kelce’s stretch of three 100-yard receiving games could extend to four with a good second half. Kelce has three catches for 59 yards at halftime.
Kelce has been a second half machine during his three-game stretch. The tight end picked up just 10 catches for 98 yards in the second half of games through the first nine games of the season. He has a staggering 15 catches for 203 yards in the second half of the last three games.
Keeping Kelce involved keeps the chains and clock moving, which the Chiefs need to focus on in the second half.
Let Hill do his thing
This shapes up as a game for the ages for Hill. The Chiefs rely on the rookie for electric plays, and may need another before this game ends.
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.