5 things to know after Chiefs rout Raiders 56-31

Jamaal Charles was taken aback when he caught a screen pass on

the first play from scrimmage and raced 49 yards for a score

”I thought I was going to get hugged on the screen plays,” he

said. ”I was surprised. When I saw nobody on me I was like, `Whoa

I have to go.”’

Charles kept going all game long. He set a running back record

with four TD catches and also ran for a score to tie Kansas City’s

single-game record for touchdowns as the Chiefs beat the Raiders

56-31 Sunday to clinch a playoff spot.

Charles caught eight passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns in

the most productive receiving day by a running back since Marshall

Faulk had 204 yards in 1999 against Chicago.

Charles also had 20 yards rushing and 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.

”I don’t know how anybody can be more valuable to a team and

the success that we’ve had than he has,” coach Andy Reid said.

Alex Smith threw four of his five TD passes to Charles, going 17

for 20 for 287 yards to make the Chiefs the fourth team 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.

Here are five things to take away from the Chiefs win over the

Raiders:

NEAR RECORD: Charles had five touchdowns in the first three

quarters before sitting out the rest of the game and missing a

chance to tie the record of six held by Ernie Nevers, Dub Jones and

Gale Sayers. Charles said he was ready to go back in for a sixth

but Reid opted to rest him. Charles said he would have gotten a

chance if the team got close to the end zone, but that chance ended

when Knile Davis scored on a 17-yard run midway through the

fourth.

”If Knile had kneeled at the 1-yard line they would have let me

go in,” he said. ”It didn’t happen. Everything happened for a

reason.”

SHORT PASSES, BIG GAINS: Smith threw for a career-high five

touchdowns and posted a perfect passer rating. Yet Smith is the

first to acknowledge he had plenty of help in doing it. In fact,

the five touchdown passes traveled a combined 13 yards down field

with 168 yards after catch.

”I didn’t do much,” Smith said. ”I mean three screens for

touchdowns. I’ve never been a part of anything like that or seen

that. Pretty special. Those guys making me look good.”

QUARTERBACK QUANDRY: The Raiders mixed in Terrelle Pryor at

quarterback as a change-of-pace throughout the game. They even went

from Matt McGloin to Pryor back to McGloin on a touchdown drive in

the third quarter as part of a plan to provide an offensive spark.

While the Raiders did score a season-high 31 points, neither

quarterback played particularly well and they combined for six

turnovers.

”We’re getting used to it,” McGloin said. ”We do it

throughout practice and throughout the course of the week. The

coaches are doing what they feel puts us in the best position to

win, and I’m on board for that.”

TURNING IT OVER: The Chiefs got off to a 9-0 start this season

thanks to a defense that excelled at taking the ball away. That

aspect was lacking during a recent three-game skid, but was back

again on Sunday. Kansas City intercepted McGloin four times, Pryor

once and recovered two fumbles. Eric Berry returned one of the

interceptions 47 yards for a score, tying a team record with the

11th return touchdown of the season.

”I just read the quarterback’s eyes and tried to take it to the

house,” Berry said.

DOOMED DEFENSE: All that defensive improvement the Raiders

showed in the first half of the season when they were among the top

defensive teams has all disappeared in recent weeks. Oakland has

allowed 34.7 points per game the last seven weeks and has given up

at least 49 points in two of its last three home games. The Raiders

allowed that many points just three times in the first 406 home

games in franchise history.

”We get paid out there to not let these guys light up the

scoreboard the way they did,” cornerback Tracy Porter said. ”We

have no one to blame but ourselves.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org