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Chiefs clinch postseason berth behind star running back Jamaal Charles



OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- 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.

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Ruben December 16 2013 at 7:17 PM

SF 49 ers all good no commments

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Mr. and Mrs. Lee December 16 2013 at 12:01 PM

I been Cowboy fan for bout 40 years.And I will tell
you one true fact i have noticed.Throw the ball
on Dallas. Secondary of dallas has always get interference to
give other team back down to Dallas 1 yard.Sorry,
but look at the game when team behind dallas,the
secret is throw theball..

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dungal1 December 16 2013 at 11:50 AM

A life long Cowboys hater ( I don't live in Philly ) Don't be surprised if my EAGLES take the big prize this year.

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1 reply to dungal1's comment
ordobtrebla December 16 2013 at 12:04 PM

EAGLES...win it all...LOL...Keep Dreaming...

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Jeff Gunn December 16 2013 at 11:27 AM

I love having him on my fantasy teams as he is a great all around back. Unfortunately I miss getting him this year and i was really diappointed.

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hayyabbott December 16 2013 at 10:54 AM

A life long Eagles hater(you gotta be if you live in Dallas) but have always liked Andy Reid and could not be more happy for him. He is a class guy and and a great coach.

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1 reply to hayyabbott's comment
jamminjimbiker December 16 2013 at 8:19 PM

I love Jerry Jones and Especially Tony Romo in December. GO EAGLES !!!!!!!!!!

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hayyabbott December 16 2013 at 10:48 AM

And to think, the cowboys passed over Charles in the draft, but I am sure a lot of teams are regretting that.

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Pockets December 16 2013 at 10:45 AM

What did the wim
nning coach have to say

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cnmcnm December 16 2013 at 10:34 AM

I am a DOLFIN FAN.........Go go.....................................

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elysianfields08 December 16 2013 at 10:06 AM

I am a Bronco fan but the Chiefs are for real . The Broncos do not have the talent to make it past the first round

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1 reply to elysianfields08's comment
hayyabbott December 16 2013 at 10:51 AM

If Peyton is ON, the Broncos can win it all.
Just keep him away from a road game in New England.

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denniscashion December 16 2013 at 9:57 AM

nice article, but what was the final score?

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2 replies to denniscashion's comment
Loel Lund December 16 2013 at 10:13 AM

I am with you Dennis---the writers assume we already know the score.

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ggrover458 December 16 2013 at 10:32 AM

It was in the first paragraph...56 to 31. GO CHIEFS!!!

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