KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs didn't rely on help from others on Sunday. They took the field at the Oakland Coliseum knowing they had to beat the Raiders to clinch a playoff spot.
And that's exactly what they did, defeating the Raiders 56-31 and clinching at least a wild-card spot in the AFC playoffs in the Chiefs' first season under coach Andy Reid.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles scored a club-record-tying five touchdowns--including an NFL-record four touchdown catches in a game by a running back--and safety Eric Berry intercepted two passes, returning one for a score and setting up another touchdown as the club ensured their first playoff spot since 2010.
Quarterback Alex Smith completed 17 of 20 for 287 yards, five touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
Charles finished with eight catches for 195 yards, four touchdowns. He finished short of former Chief Curtis McClinton's NFL-record 213 yards in a game by a running back.
The 56 points were three shy of the club record 59 set in 1963 at Denver.
The victory also moved the Chiefs, 11-3, into a first-place tie in the AFC West with Denver, though the Broncos own the head-to-head tie-breaker with two games to go.
The Chiefs finish their season with games at home against Indianapolis, 9-5, and at San Diego, 7-7; the Broncos finish at Houston, 2-12, and at Oakland, 4-10.
Denver also regained the top seed in the AFC playoffs ahead of New England. In fact, Cincinnati could move into the No. 2 spot and drop the Patriots to No. 3 if the Bengals beat Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
The Chiefs could have been assured of a playoff spot had New England beaten Miami in an early game on Sunday, but Ryan Tannehill's 14-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Thigpen in the final minute gave the Dolphins a 24-20 win over the Patriots.
But they wasted little time in seizing control of the game as Charles took a screen pass from Smith on the Chiefs' first offensive play and following a block by center Rodney Hudson, who knocked down three Raiders, a weaved his way 49 yards to a touchdown.
The Chiefs rode that momentum to a 35-17 halftime lead.
The Raiders threw a scare into the Chiefs by scoring three straight touchdowns on a suddenly porous Kansas City defense, drawing them to within 35-31 with 4:56 left in the third quarter.
With the crowd back into the game, the Chiefs faced a third-and-a-foot when quarterback Alex Smith hit Charles on a wheel route, and he took it 71 yards for a back-breaking touchdown and 42-31 lead with 3:34 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs got the ball back when Raiders kick returner Taiwan Jones was hit by rookie Josh Martin and recovered by Husain Abdullah. The original ruling was Jones was down before he lost the ball, but Reid challenged the call, and it was reversed.
The Chiefs took over at the Oakland 28, and Smith threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game with a 6-yard pass to tight end Sean McGrath for a 49-31 lead with 1:20 left in the third period.
Rookie running back Knile Davis tacked on a 17-yard touchdown run with 8:19 left in the game.
Charles scored on an identical 39-yard screen as his first touchdown in the first quarter for a 14-3 lead, and Berry picked off a pass by Raiders rookie quarterback Matt McGloin, returning it 47 yards for his second touchdown of the season for a 21-3 lead with 5:07 to play in the first quarter.
The Chiefs converted two more takeaways into touchdowns for a 35-10 in the second quarter.
Outside linebacker Hali pounced on a loose ball when a shotgun snap eluded McGloin at the Raiders 11, and that set up Charles' 1-yard run.
Then, Berry stepped in front of a pass intended for Rod Streater and returned it 49 yards to the Oakland 31. An unnecessary roughness penalty against the Raiders on the return moved the ball to the 16.
It took just one play for Smith to find Charles on the screen again, and Charles took it in for the 16-yard touchdown, his fourth of the day.
Unlike Oakland teams of recent years, the Raiders, despite the booing from the crowd, did not fold, scoring three straight touchdowns.
Raiders receiver Denarius Moore burned Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper for 34 yards, the big play in a late-second quarter touchdown by Rashad Jennings, his second 1-yard plunge of the game.
Oakland opened the second half with touchdowns on its first two possessions -- McGloin's 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes, and following a three-and-out by the Chiefs, a 14-yard pass to Mychal Rivera, drawing the Raiders to within 35-31 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs, the NFL leader in takeaway differential, caused seven turnovers -- five interceptions and two fumble recoveries--and lost just one turnover, a fumble by Smith.
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