OAKLAND — The Chiefs squeaked out a 40-33 victory over the Raiders on Sunday afternoon, and everybody wanted to talk about someone who had nothing to do with it.
[RELATED: Raiders fall to Hunt-less Chiefs]
Kareem Hunt questions were aimed at everyone in red and gold following this result. That was expected, considering the postgame locker room was the first Chiefs access point since Hunt was summarily dismissed after video of him shoving and kicking a woman went viral Friday.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid dealt with it in his press conference’s opening statement, but players were bombarded.
It’s uncertain whether a Hunt hangover kept this one close against a lackluster Raiders squad — the Silver and Black showed great fight against the AFC’s best — but the players said they tried to push the controversy out of their minds in this game.
“We had to work today,” said Spencer Ware, the team’s new featured running back. “We had business to take care of. So we tried to stay distraction-free over here.”
The dead-last Raiders run defense might have been a perfect tonic for the Chiefs ground game, which churned out yards in their first post-Hunt experience. They had 174 yards on 30 carries, a 5.8-yard clip that well exceeds their season average.
[RELATED: Gruden costs Raiders a timeout]
It might have been difficult when Hunt and his transgressions were plastered all over social media -- everyone has a phone and a Twitter app -- Friday and Saturday, and again Sunday morning when Hunt was interviewed live on ESPN.
Reid credited his locker room for maintaining calm in a controversial situation, and keeping the Chiefs humming.
“You’ve got to bank on the strength of your locker room, those veterans and really some of the young players, too,” Reid said. “It’s a big thing for these players in (Hunt’s) draft class, so some of them really stepped up and kept things positive within the game and their feelings for Kareem in a separate area. They separated those two things.”
Players in the Chiefs locker room had seen the disturbing video of Hunt but tried to shut it out.
“Having Twitter and stuff like that, I have,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “You just have to keep going. This is a long season, and we want to keep having success, so I’m focused on the guys here and going out there and winning football games.”