OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jamaal Charles turned the Kansas City Chiefs' playoff clinching party into a game-long celebration right from the start.
Charles scored the first of his team record-tying five touchdowns on a 49-yard screen pass on the first play from scrimmage, sending the Chiefs to a 56-31 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday that clinched at least a wild-card spot.
"A big part of this team depends on me, Charles said. "Once I'm healthy this offense can go a long way and this team can go a long way."
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 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.
"Anytime you can be a part of the turnaround, it's a special feeling," Smith said. "These guys have worked hard and deserve a ton of credit. It's special to be a part of this."
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.
"We get paid out there to play, we get paid out there to not let these guys light up the scoreboard the way they did," cornerback Tracy Porter said. "They did, in fact, what we didn't want them to do. We have no one to blame but ourselves."
There is not questioning the progress the Chiefs have made in their first year under coach Andy Reid. He took over a team that went 2-14 a year ago in a season troubled by the murder-suicide involving Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who shot to death the mother of his infant child before turning the gun on himself.
"It's a feeling that you want everyone to have," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "It's a great feeling. What we went through last year to be in this situation and have an opportunity to do some big things, clinching the playoffs before the season's over, it's great."
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.