Oakland, Calif. — Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs still had plenty of firepower on offense even without star running back Kareem Hunt.
Mahomes threw four touchdown passes Sunday to join Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only QBs to reach the 40 TD mark through 12 games, sending the Chiefs to a 40-33 victory over the Oakland Raiders in the first game since releasing Hunt.
“The mindset of this team is whenever you get your opportunity, you make the most of it,” Mahomes said. “I think every single game someone else steps up. We kept our mind on that and just playing football, a game we love.”
The Chiefs (10-2) cut ties with Hunt after a months-old video surfaced on TMZ on Friday, showing him shoving and kicking a woman. No charges have been filed in the case from February, but the Chiefs let Hunt go because he misled them about the incident .
Spencer Ware replaced Hunt as starter and scored on a direct snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter.
“That’s my brother,” Ware said about Hunt. “It’s a tough situation. But like I said, the men in this circle, the men in our locker room, the organization, Chiefs kingdom – we got one goal to win the Super Bowl. We got to stay distraction free. I don’t have anything else to say about that.”
Mahomes did most of the rest of the damage against the Raiders (2-10) with his arm.
He connected on two short touchdown passes to Travis Kelce in the first half, then found another tight end, Demetrius Harris, on a 13-yard pass late in the third quarter one play after an apparent TD to Kelce was called off by a replay review.
“Man, he ticked me off today,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “It’s a credit to the guy. He made a third-and-15 play that was right on our sideline. I was outside myself I was so upset some of the plays he made today.”
Mahomes finished 23 for 38 for 295 yards and engineered a late TD drive capped by a 2-yard pass to Chris Conley after Oakland cut the deficit to three.
Oakland added a late field goal, but the Chiefs recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
Mahomes has 41 TD passes on the season, joining Manning (44 in 2004, 41 in ‘13) and Brady (41 in 2007) as the only QBs with at least 40 in the first 12 games of a season.
Kelce had 12 catches for 168 yards, topping the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season.
Derek Carr threw three TD passes for the Raiders, but Oakland lost three fumbles that led to three scores for the Chiefs and reached double-digit losses for the 12th time in 16 seasons.
“It’s disappointing,” said running back Doug Martin, who lost one of the fumbles. “I don’t think it should have been that close. We should have been on top. The turnovers really, really hurt us.”
L.A. Chargers 33, (at) Pittsburgh 30: Michael Badgley kicked a 29-yard field goal on the final play to lift Los Angeles past Pittsburgh.
Badgley initially missed a 39-yard kick but Pittsburgh was called for offsides. Badgley’s ensuing 34-yard attempt was blocked, but the Steelers were again flagged jumping across the line of scrimmage before the snap. He drilled his third attempt, and the Chargers declined another Pittsburgh penalty.
Philip Rivers completed 26 of 36 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns for Los Angeles (9-3). Keenan Allen caught 14 passes for 148 yards and a score and Justin Jackson ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in place of injured starter Melvin Gordon. Desmond King added a 73-yard punt return for a score as the Chargers erased a 16-point halftime deficit.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards and two scores for the Steelers (7-4-1), who have lost two straight and are now clinging to the AFC North lead over surging Baltimore.
(At) Jacksonville 6, Indianapolis 0: Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars delivered one of the most dominant defensive performances in franchise history. The Jaguars (4-8) needed that kind of effort to make up for a lackluster offense and end a seven-game losing streak. They also snapped Indy’s five-game winning streak.
Ramsey was the best of the bunch, helping hold T.Y. Hilton to six catches for 56 yards. Ramsey also made a game-ending tackle on Erik Swoope with 8 seconds remaining.
Andrew Luck completed 33 of 52 passes for 248 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times after getting hit just five times in the entire month of November. He was sacked once in the previous five games.
The Colts (6-6) entered with the fourth-most points in the league, having averaged more than 33 a game over their last eight.
Baltimore 26, (at) Atlanta 16: Rookie Lamar Jackson ran for a touchdown and Baltimore’s defense turned in a dominating performance.
Justin Tucker kicked four field goals, Tavon Young scored after scooping up a fumble by Matt Ryan, and Baltimore held the Falcons to 131 total yards in its third straight win. The Ravens (7-5) have bolstered their AFC wild-card position since Jackson took over at quarterback for the injured Joe Flacco.
After two straight starts at home, Jackson got the nod for the first time on the road in the NFL. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner had some shaky moments — and left for one series to be checked for a possible concussion — but he provided enough to send the Falcons (4-8) to their fourth straight loss.
(At) Tampa Bay 24, Carolina 17: Jameis Winston threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns as the Bucs (5-7) won for the second straight time since Winston regained his starting job with the team mired in a four-game losing streak.
The fourth-year pro completed 20 of 30 passes. And, for the second week in a row, the 24-year-old quarterback did not turn over the ball.
Meanwhile, Andrew Adams had three of Tampa Bay’s four interceptions off Cam Newton, who came into the game saying he was playing the best football of his career. The Panthers (6-6) have lost four straight following a 6-2 start.
(At) Houston 29, Cleveland 13: Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and the Houston Texans intercepted rookie Baker Mayfield three times, returning one for a score, to extend their franchise-record winning streak to nine games.
The Texans (9-3), who opened the season 0-3, haven’t lost since Sept. 23 to take a commanding lead atop the AFC South.
Houston raced to a 23-0 halftime lead and added two second-half field goals by Ka’imi Fairbairn to give him five for the day.
Mayfield, the top overall pick in this year’s draft, had his worst game of the season, throwing three interceptions for the first time since he was a freshman at Texas Tech in 2013. He entered the game having thrown nine touchdown passes with just one interception in the past three games as the Browns (4-7-1) won consecutive games for the first time since 2014.
Denver 24, (at) Cincinnati 10: Rookie Phillip Lindsay ran for a career-high 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Broncos adapted to a windy afternoon and got their third straight victory. The Broncos (6-6) have emerged from their bye week and knocked off the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals to stay in contention in December.
Denver handled an unseasonably warm day: 66 degrees at kickoff with wind gusts up to 40 mph that redirected kicks and throws. Case Keenum completed 12 of 21 passes for 151 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton.
Lindsay ran for TDs of 6 yards and 65 yards — the longest of his career — as Denver got up 21-3 in the third quarter and closed it out against the unraveling Bengals (5-7), who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Lindsay’s two touchdowns matched his career high.
(At) Miami 21, Buffalo 17: Jordan Phillips drew a costly penalty for taunting his former team, setting up a touchdown with nine minutes left that helped the Dolphins rally.
Miami turned away two Bills drives down the stretch, and Charles Clay almost caught Josh Allen’s desperation fourth-down pass with a diving attempt at the goal line in the final minute.
Allen threw for 231 yards and ran for 135 to set a franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback for the second week in a row. Buffalo lost despite outgaining Miami 415-175.
The Dolphins (6-6) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for only the third time since Week 3, helping their slim playoff chances. The Bills (4-8) will play their customary role of spoilers in the final weeks, assured of finishing at .500 or worse for the 16th time in the past 19 years.
(At) Seattle 43, San Francisco 16: Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns on just four completions and finished with four TD passes. Bobby Wagner capped a blowout with a 98-yard interception return touchdown, and the Seahawks won their third straight game.
Seattle (7-5) stayed in the middle of the NFC playoff race by jumping to a 20-0 lead and cruising to its ninth straight victory over its NFC West foe. But it won’t win the division because the Rams clinched it earlier in the day with a win at Detroit.
Wilson wasn’t asked to do much in the first half, but the little he did found the end zone. He hit Jaron Brown on a 4-yard TD pass in the first quarter, found Tyler Lockett for a 52-yard score and connected with Doug Baldwin on a 1-yarder. According to Sportradar, Wilson throwing three touchdowns on four completions made for the fewest TDs/completions in a first half dating to 1991. The previous low was six.
Wilson finished 11 of 17 for 185 yards and has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight straight games. It was the eighth time in the regular season Wilson has thrown four or more TD passes.
(At) Tennessee 26, N.Y. Jets 22: Marcus Mariota threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis with 36 seconds left, and the Titans rallied from a 16-point deficit.
The Titans (6-6) snapped a two-game skid to keep themselves on the fringes of the AFC playoff chase.
The Jets (3-9) had one last chance to snap their own losing streak, but Malcolm Butler intercepted Josh McCown’s pass with 21 seconds left to seal Tennessee’s victory and the Jets’ collapse. New York now has lost six straight.
(At) New England 24, Minnesota 10: Tom Brady passed for 311 yards and a touchdown, while Bill Belichick earned his 250th victory, including playoffs, as Patriots coach.
Brady completed 24 of 32 passes and now has 579 touchdown passes, including the playoffs, tying him with Peyton Manning for the most. He also has 508 regular-season TD passes, which ties him with Brett Favre on the career list. Manning is first with 539 and Drew Brees has 518.
The Patriots (9-3) have won eight of nine since starting the season 1-2. They have clinched their 18th straight winning season. It is the second-longest streak in NFL history. The record is held by the Cowboys at 20 seasons from 1966-85.
Minnesota (6-5-1) has lost two of its past three.