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Chiefs wax Raiders, continue surge to playoffs

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The Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) continued their remarkable surge toward postseason play with Sunday's 34-20 win over the Oakland Raiders (5-7) on Sunday. Here's what you need to know:

1. The Chiefs are racing toward January, while the Raiders can't afford another loss. It wasn't pretty, but Alex Smith did enough to keep Kansas City in playoff contention with a clean 16-of-22 performance. That made him just the third player in league history to attempt 300-plus throws in a row without a pick, joining Tom Brady (358) and Bernie Kosar (308). Smith's mistake-free day looked even more impressive against a pass rush that pounded him repeatedly and piled up four sacks. Two lost fumbles marked Kansas City's first turnovers since Week 6, but a fountain of Oakland mistakes sealed a sixth straight win for Andy Reid's bunch.

2. As the Chiefs heated up, Derek Carr melted down. The second-year Raiders quarterback hurt Oakland with a trio of interceptions over the final two quarters. The first came off a sack-pick that saw Josh Mauga snatch the ball out of the air and take it 66 yards to the Oakland 2-yard line. Carr then saw Marcus Peters intercept him and race 58 yards, before Tyvon Branch sunk a final knife in Oakland with his 38-yard pick six. On the plus side, Carr made one of his finest throws of the year on a thread-the-needle touchdown strike to Michael Crabtree, but it wasn't enough. While the young quarterback became the fifth passer in NFL history to throw for 3,000-plus yards and 20-plus touchdowns in his first two seasons, Carr's face said it all in a depressing loss.

3. Sunday was a case study in kicking madness: After Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski missed an extra point in the first half, the Chiefs had a chance to break a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter with a PAT of their own. No dice, as Cairo Santos never got a chance to boot the ball after a botched snap. Santos might not have a friend in the locker room after sending his next extra point try wide right.

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