The Chiefs were downright awful on defense. Patrick Mahomes was supposedly broken. Injuries had mounted. The rest of the league had caught up to them. Their window for competing for championships had already closed.

Well, look at them now.

Mahomes threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns without an interception, and the Chiefs piled up 516 yards, during a 41-14 romp over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night that should serve notice to the rest of the NFL: The two-time defending AFC champs aren’t going away without putting up a fight.

“I think the whole team got that swag back,” Mahomes said, “and we got on a roll. We have to keep that thing rolling.”

That’s because for all their problems the first eight weeks of the season, the Chiefs (6-4) have suddenly won three straight and four of five to take over first place in their division. And after they face the resurgent Cowboys on Sunday, they have the benefit of a late-season bye to catch their breath and prepare for what they hope is a strong finish.

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