OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Kansas City Chiefs trailed Oakland 20-14 early in the fourth quarter Sunday, and their five-game winning streak was in serious jeopardy.
The Chiefs needed a big play. They got three of them, the biggest from former Raiders safety Tyvon Branch.
Branch returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown with 3:14 left to play, and the Chiefs held on for a 34-20 victory against the Raiders at the O.co Coliseum.
What we learned about the Chiefs:
1. Quarterback Alex Smith's safety-first approach to quarterbacking continues to work. Smith extended his streak of passes without an interception to 305 on Sunday, going 16 of 22 for 162 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-20 win against Oakland. That's the third longest such streak in NFL history, behind Tom Brady's 358 and Bernie Kosar's 308. Smith has gone nine straight games without throwing a pick, and the 7-5 Chiefs have won six straight games. While Smith was avoiding costly turnovers, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was throwing three fourth-quarter interceptions that led to three Chiefs touchdowns.
2. Backup safety Tyvon Branch picked a good time to have his first career pick-six. The former Raider intercepted a Derek Carr pass late in the fourth quarter and returned 38 yards for a touchdown, sealing a 34-20 victory. Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters told Branch to stay on the ground after his diving pick, but he had other thoughts. "I got to live out my dreams," Branch said. Peters and linebacker Josh Mauga also had interceptions and long returns, setting up fourth-quarter touchdowns.
3. Now that they've survived a trip to the Black Hole and a game against the rival Raiders, the Chiefs should be able to run the table against four teams with losing records: San Diego (3-9), Baltimore (4-8), Cleveland (2-10) and Oakland (5-7). The 7-5 Chiefs have only one road game left, on Dec. 20 at Baltimore. After starting the season 1-5, an 11-5 regular-season record looks likely.
--QB Alex Smith completed 16 of 22 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score Sunday in a 34-20 victory against Oakland. Smith extended his streak of passes without an interception to 305, the third longest in NFL history.
--WR Jeremy Maclin caught nine passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against Oakland. For the season, Maclin has caught 66 passes for 867 yards and five touchdowns.
--KR Tyvon Branch returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter Sunday, sealing a 34-20 victory against the Raiders, his former team. The interception was Branch's first of the season. The pick-six was the first of his career.