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Chiefs seal trip to playoffs with victory against Raiders

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The Canadian Press
12/15/2013 7:37:13 PM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jamaal Charles carried the Kansas City Chiefs straight into the playoffs with a record performance.

Charles tied a franchise record with five touchdowns in a game and gained 215 yards from scrimmage as the Chiefs beat the Raiders 56-31 on Sunday to clinch at least a wild-card spot.

Alex Smith threw five TD passes, going 17 for 20 for 287 yards to make the Chiefs the fourth team ever to make the playoffs a year after losing at least 14 games. Kansas City (11-3) is tied for first place in the AFC West with Denver but needs help to win the division because the Broncos swept the season series.

Matt McGloin threw four interceptions and lost a fumble while sharing time with Terrelle Pryor as Oakland (4-10) allowed the most points in franchise history and lost its fourth straight game. The Raiders had seven turnovers overall.

The performance drew constant boos from a crowd frustrated over 11 straight seasons without a winning record and raise questions about whether the Raiders are showing enough progress in year two under coach Dennis Allen to convince owner Mark Davis to keep him around for a third season.

There is not questioning the progress the Chiefs have made in their first year under coach Andy Reid. He took over a 2-14 team and authored an impressive turnaround.

The addition of Smith to a talented roster that featured six Pro Bowl players also helped. Charles was one of those Pro Bowlers a year ago but he never had a game quite like this even though he only rushed for 20 yards in eight carries.

He did most of his work in the passing game, beating blitzes with screen passes and also having success running patterns downfield. He caught eight passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns in the third-most productive receiving day by a running back since the 1970 merger.

Charles also joined Shaun Alexander, Jerry Rice and Clinton Portis as the only players since the merger to score five touchdowns and gain at least 200 yards from scrimmage in a single game.

The Chiefs built a 35-10 lead before the Raiders scored three straight touchdowns to make it a game late in the third quarter. It quickly became a blowout again.

On a third-and-1, Smith found Charles on a wheel route down the sideline for a completion. Charles then cut toward the middle and raced in for the 71-yard score that tied Abner Haynes' team record set in 1961 against the Raiders with five TDs in a game.

The Chiefs put the game away after Taiwan Jones fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up a 6-yard TD pass to Sean McGrath that made it 49-21.

Knile Davis' 17-yard run midway through the fourth quarter gave the Chiefs the highest-scoring game in the NFL this season and the most points ever scored against the Raiders, breaking the mark of 55 last reached by Baltimore in 2012.

The Raiders were officially eliminated from the playoff chase for the 11th straight season shortly before kickoff and played like a team going nowhere.

The tone was set right from the start when Quintin Demps returned the opening kick 50 yards and Charles then took a short pass from Smith and raced 49 yards for the score. Charles scored on a 39-yard screen pass on third-and-19 on the next possession.

The game quickly got out of hand from there as Eric Berry returned an interception 47 yards to make it 21-3. McGloin then fumbled a shotgun snap from Stefen Wisniewski, setting up a 1-yard TD run by Charles and threw another interception to Berry that was followed by a 16-yard screen to Charles on the next play to make it 35-10.

Jamaal Charles  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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