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Hunt, defense spur Chiefs to 26-15 victory over Raiders

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kareem Hunt ran for 116 yards and a touchdown, the Chiefs shut down Derek Carr and Raiders offense and Kansas City held on to beat Oakland 26-15 on Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak.

The suddenly stingy Chiefs (7-6) also made a big statement in the crowded AFC West race. They entered the game tied atop the division standings with the Raiders (6-7) and the Chargers, who played Washington later Sunday and visit Kansas City on Saturday night.

Alex Smith threw for 268 yards and Charcandrick West had a touchdown run for the Chiefs, who held the Raiders without points until Marshawn Lynch‘s 22-yard touchdown run with 8:51 to go.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

By that point, the Chiefs were cruising toward their 14th win in 15 divisional games.

Carr was 24 of 41 for 211 yards with a touchdown and two picks, a far cry from his performance when the teams met in October. Carr threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns that day, including the winning toss to Michael Crabtree on the final play of the game.

That loss was part of a midseason swoon for Kansas City, which started 5-0 but lost six of seven to fall into a tie for the division lead – and put its once-solid playoff prospects in peril.

The Chiefs gave them a boost again Sunday behind a defense that was shredded by the New York Jets last week, and that was missing All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.

The volatile young star was suspended by coach Andy Reid this week for a series of embarrassing incidents, including the throwing of an official’s flag into the stands in the Meadowlands.

The trio of Steven Nelson, Darrelle Revis and Terrance Mitchell more than made up for him.

So did Kansas City’s offense, which produced for the second straight week as offensive coordinator Matt Nagy called the plays. The Chiefs got four field goals from Harrison Butker, along with their two touchdown runs, and didn’t have to punt until the fourth quarter.

The Raiders tried to make it interesting late, recovering an onside kick after Lynch’s TD run. Carr connected with Jared Cook on fourth down for another score, and the 2-point conversion trimmed what had been a 26-0 deficit to 26-15 in a matter of minutes.

But after receiving the kickoff, the Chiefs’ Albert Wilson made a juggling catch to convert a third down, and that allowed the reigning AFC West champs to mostly run out the clock.

COOPER HURT

Raiders WR Amari Cooper was active after he was cleared of a concussion and a sprained left ankle was deemed OK. But he left in the second quarter with a right leg injury when he was blocking downfield on a run by DeAndre Washington, and a defender rolled into the back of him.

OTHER INJURIES

The Raiders also were missing two defensive starters in CB David Amerson (foot sprain) and LB Cory James (knee), while DE Mario Edwards Jr. (ankle) left early in the second quarter and TE Clive Walford went down in the fourth. The Chiefs missed starting C Mitch Morse with a sprained foot.

UP NEXT

Raiders: return home to face the Cowboys next Sunday night.

Chiefs: get another AFC West contender when the Chargers visit Saturday night.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Giants receiver Victor Cruz plays for first time since 2014

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Victor Cruz really didn’t care about his statistics after the Giants played the Jets in their annual preseason game.

The line for the 29-year-old wide receiver read: 32 plays, targeted on two passes, with one reception for 4 yards.

It was unproductive, yet Cruz could not help but smile after the Giants’ 21-20 win on Saturday night.

Cruz had played in a game for the first time since the 2014 season, and that’s all that mattered to the wideout who was one of the NFL’s most feared receivers from 2011-13. The knee injury that ended the ’14 season and a calf problem that sidelined him last year were things of the past.

Even the crowd at MetLife Stadium was into his return, chanting “Cruzzzz.”

“It was unreal,” Cruz said. “It kind of gave me goosebumps.”

Even though he felt rusty, Cruz was excited.

“It felt good to put that jersey on again and go out there with my teammates, from the warmup, the pregame, and then during the game to be in the position to make a play and be out there running routes against an opponent, it felt good,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s only catch came on a quick pass to the right from Eli Manning on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.

“That ball felt like it was forever in the air before it got to my hands, but it was good to kind of catch that ball and get a little contact, get a little hit out of bounds, and hopefully I can build on that,” Cruz said. “But it was definitely good to get one in.”

Cruz got a step on the secondary early in the second quarter, but Manning was under pressure and underthrew the receiver.

“I had to come, turn back inside and kind of go after the ball,” Cruz said. “Thought I had a shot until I saw (Marcus) Gilchrist come late, but I definitely had a step on the DB at the time. So I think if Eli was untouched I think we had a shot.”

The Jets treated Cruz with some respect. Cornerback Darrelle Revis lined up opposite him on several plays.

“I think he looks fine,” Revis said of Cruz. “I just think, especially with a major knee injury, your mind plays tricks on you because you’re scared to make a certain cut because you got injured. The injury’s always replaying back. I’m sure after he continues to strengthen it and keeps on getting stronger, he’ll be back to the old Victor Cruz that we always used to see.”

The Giants (1-2) finish the preseason at home Thursday night against New England. It’s a game that starters usually don’t play much, if at all.

Cruz, however, wants to play in what could be considered his final tuneup before the season opener at Dallas.

“Do I need to play? I think it’s just a matter of continuing to understand what we want to accomplish as a team and as a game plan and from a receiving corps,” Cruz said. “I think I can go out there Sept. 11 and be OK.”

Giants coach Ben McAdoo said it would have been nice to get Cruz the ball earlier in the game, but he felt the receiver looked comfortable and confident.

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. contributed to this report.

Hopkins beats Revis, makes stretching, one-handed grab (video)

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DeAndre Hopkins does it again.

Houston’s Hopkins had a one-handed TD catch on Monday against Cincinnati to win the game and he’s proving that it’s not luck, but skill. T.J. Yates shows confidence in his wide receiver by targeting him despite pressure from the Jets’ corner Darrelle Revis and Hopkins rewards him with an outstretched, one-handed grab for 18-yards and a first down.

What a catch.

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