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Headlines for Monday, October 12, 2020

 

Kansas Reports Nearly 68,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 771 Virus-Related Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - State health officials say Kansas has recorded nearly 68,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that the state had 67,862 cases, including 771 deaths. That's an increase of 2,055 cases and 8 deaths since Friday. The next update will be released Wednesday. 

(–Related–)

State of Kansas Sets Record for Average of New Cases Recorded 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has recorded another record spike in COVID-19 cases. The state saw an average of 736 new cases for the seven days ending Monday, or 9.8% higher than the previous record of 671 set for the seven days ending Friday. Since Friday, the state added 2,055 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 3.1%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 67,862. The number of COVID-19-related deaths increased by eight to 771. Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the state health department, predicted earlier this month that the state’s reporting of new cases could increase to as many as 900 a day on average in the coming months.

Lawrence Bar Sues As Kansas Sees Record Spike in COVID Cases 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Even as Kansas recorded another record spike in COVID-19 cases, Lawrence health officials were hit with a lawsuit over an emergency health order that limits bar hours in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Rita “Peach” Madl, the owner of The Sandbar, a bar near the University of Kansas campus, is asking to be freed from rules requiring establishments with liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. and shut their doors to in-person clientele by midnight. A previous order required establishments to stop selling alcohol even earlier, The Kansas City Star reports.

The Kansas Justice Institute, which helped file the lawsuit Friday, issued a news release Monday claiming the county order “disregards Constitutional rights such as due process and equal protection.”

George Diepenbrock, a spokesman for the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said the agency would not have any comment on pending litigation.

News of the lawsuit came as the state saw an average of 736 new cases for the seven days ending Monday, or 9.8% higher than the previous record of 671 set for the seven days ending Friday. Since Friday, the state added 2,055 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 3.1%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 67,862. The number of COVID-19-related deaths increased by eight to 771.

The actual number of cases is thought to be much higher because people can be infected without feeling ill or they may have only minor symptoms, and because of a lack of testing, particularly early in the pandemic.

Among the cases, health officials are blaming 100 outbreaks on K-12 schools, colleges and athletics, with 1,452 infections. Rural areas that were initially spared have been adding cases steadily.

Dr. Stephen Cobb, Denver Metro Chief Medical Officer for Centura, which operates 17 hospitals across Colorado and western Kansas, said the facilities are seeing more patients but still have adequate capacity “because in general people have listened to the science and behaved in a good way."

But he added: “If we fail to do that and we fail to act as a society when the cases start rising, then our capacity will be impacted. So people need to continue doing the things scientifically that have been proven to slow this virus.”

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Bidding Rules Hold Up $50 Million in Kansas COVID Testing Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State officials say nearly $50 million in funding for COVID testing is still moving through the state’s bidding system more than three weeks after Kansas legislators approved the spending. A special advisor to Governor Laura Kelly told lawmakers earlier this week that state regulations allow time for potential testing organizations to submit proposals for government funding. The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle report that decisions on which organizations will receive the money will not be made until later this month.

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Kansas City Metro Adds 125 Coronavirus Infections, No Additional Deaths Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) - An additional 125 Kansas City metro residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to date to 43,839, public health officials reported Sunday.  No additional deaths were recorded. In total, the virus has killed 636 people across the region that encompasses Kansas City and Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.  The day before, health officials reported the region’s largest single-day increase in COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, with 835 new cases. An additional five deaths were also reported.  The metro’s seven-day rolling average of new infections is 342. Last week it was 367; two weeks ago, it was 318.

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Missouri COVID-19 Database Error Leads to Incorrect Inflation in Reported Infections

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) - A database error led to an inaccurate inflation in the number of coronavirus infections reported Saturday to Missouri’s public COVID-19 dashboard, the state’s health department said Sunday.  As a result, the state’s website reported an additional 5,020 cases in 24 hours, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  The state’s data had suggested Saturday was the largest single-day increase in infections since the pandemic began — with 835 new cases — in the Kansas City metro area, which encompasses regions in Missouri and Kansas.  More than half of Saturday’s increase was reported in Kansas City and Jackson County, with a combined 584 new cases.  Health department employees were working to resolve the issue with the public dashboard.  Missouri launched a new version of the dashboard September 28. The database will be updated afterwards.  In a statement, the health department noted that new infections have been reported accurately to local agencies for investigations.  “We are committed to continually improving our practices,” Randall Williams, the health department’s director, said in a statement. “While our updated internal processes serve the purpose of reporting data with greater granularity, finalizing the new approach to replace manual entry presents our team with technical challenges that we are working through.”  As of Sunday, the database showed 144,230 residents to date have been infected by the virus, including 2,422 who have died.  (Read more.)
    
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Kansas Democrat Says She Raised Nearly $13.5 Million for Senate Bid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democrat Barbara Bollier says she raised nearly $13.5 million in three months for her U.S. Senate campaign in Kansas. The figure announced Monday is a Kansas record that brought Bollier's total fundraising to more than $20 million in an unexpectedly tough race for Republicans in the conservative state. The Democrat issued a statement giving a broad summary of her fundraising from July 1 through Sept. 30, promising additional details until her campaign files a finance report later this week. Republican Roger Marshall’s campaign plans to release fundraising information when it files its report. The campaigns and outside groups have already spent a record $32 million on advertising.

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Kansas City Police Investigate Early Morning Shooting Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City are investigating an early morning shooting that left one person dead today (MON). Police say officers were called around 6 aam to a report of shots fired in the Santa Fe neighborhood. Arriving officers found one person dead from apparent gunshot wounds. Police have not released the victim's identity and have not announced any suspects or arrests in the case.

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Patrol: 9-Year-Old Boy Killed in Western Missouri Crash

LONE JACK, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in western Missouri say a 9-year-old boy has been killed and two other children injured in a crash near Lone Jack. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the crash happened just after 12 am Sunday at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 and a county road.  Investigators say a northbound car, driven by a 31-year-old Leavenworth man, pulled in front of an eastbound car driven by a 28-year-old Wichita man, leading to the crash. The patrol says a 9-year-old boy in the northbound car died at the scene. His name has not been released. That car's driver and a 12-year-old boy in his car suffered injuries, as did a 9-year-old boy in the other car.

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UPDATE: Sheriff IDs 3 Killed in Kansas Train Collision

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan.  (KPR) — Johnson County authorities have identified three people who died in a weekend crash after a train struck their vehicle as 40-year-old Troy Hamlin and 37-year-old Brent Moroney, of Overland Park, and 40-year-old Kevin Corbin, of Stilwell.  All three died in the crash just after 6:30 pm Saturday at a private property crossing where there were no lights or bars (16600 Block of Mission Road).  A fourth occupant in the Jeep remained in critical condition late Sunday.

Earlier reporting...

3 Killed, 1 Critically Hurt in Kansas Train Collision

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (AP) — Three people were killed and another critically injured when their Jeep was struck by a train in eastern Kansas.  Johnson County sheriff’s deputies were called around 6:30 pm Saturday to the tracks where a Jeep was hit by the train.  The Kansas City Star reports that Overland Park police officers also responded.  The Johnson County sheriff’s office says the tracks were on private property where there were no lights or bars. All the victims were adults.

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UPDATE: Residents Return to Nicodemus After Fire Forced Them to Evacuate

NICODEMUS, Kan. (AP) — Officials in northwestern Kansas say a large fire sparked by downed power lines led officials to evacuate the tiny town of Nicodemus overnight. Television station KSN reports that the fire was sparked by strong winds that knocked down utility poles and power lines Sunday night. The Graham County Sheriff’s Office says the fire led to the evacuation of the historic town. Officials say residents began returning home early this (MON) morning.  No injuries and no damage to any homes or buildings were immediately reported. Nicodemus is an unincorporated town of around 60 people located about 245 miles west of Topeka.

Earlier reporting...

Nicodemus Asked to Evacuate as Downed Power Lines Spark Fire

Nicodemus, Kan. (KAKE) - High winds Sunday evening knocked over power lines in the small town of Nicodemus in rural Graham County, forcing residents to evacuate.  KAKE TV in Wichita reported Sunday night that downed power lines created sparks that started a fire.  The Graham County Sheriff's Department asked residents to be patient, as officers and fire crews worked to secure the area, control the fires and restore power.  The National Weather Service confirmed that those living in Nicodemus were asked to evacuate.  This is a developing story.  (Read more.)
   
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Two Seriously Injured Sunday Night in Dust-Storm Crash in Western Kansas

WAKEENEY, Kan. (WIBW) - Authorities say two people were seriously injured in a rear-end collision that occurred during a dust storm Sunday night on Interstate 70 in western Kansas.  WIBW TV reports the crash was reported at 9 pm Sunday on I-70, just east of WaKeeney in Trego County.  According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2008 Mercedes-Benz was eastbound on I-70 when it slowed down because of the dust storm.  The Mercedes-Benz then was rear-ended by a 2016 Hyundai Elantra that also was traveling east on I-70.  The patrol said the driver of the Mercedes-Benz, 29-year-old Payton K. Jensen, of Kansas City, Missouri, was seriously injured in the crash. Jensen was transported to Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital in WaKeeney for treatment of his injuries.  A passenger in the Mercedes-Benz, 26-year-old Miranda R. Goodwin, of Hutchinson, was reported to have minor injuries.  Goodwin also was transported to Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries.  The driver of the Hyundai, 27-year-old Chad M. Uhrich, of WaKeeney, was reported to have suffered serious injuries in the crash. He was transported to Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.  The patrol said all three individuals in the crash were wearing their seat belts.

Earlier reporting...

Gusty Winds in Western Kansas Cause Car Pileups, Dust Storms  

NESS COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - Gusty winds and dust in western Kansas caused a seven-car pileup on Highway 96.  KWCH TV in Wichita reports that no one was injured in the Ness County crash.  Crews working Sunday night to clear the site had to shut down Highway 283, 96, and K-4 due to zero visibility from the high winds and dust.  Strong winds have caused additional problems across western Kansas, including dust storms in Ransom and that electrical fire outside Nicodemus that prompted residents to evacuate.

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Kansas Law Enforcement Fatally Shoots 1 Man, Wounds 2nd Man

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say Kansas law enforcement officers fatally shot one man and wounded a second man in an exchange of gunfire. The shooting happened around 4 pm Friday in Salina after agents with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle with a wanted man inside.  The KBI said in a news release that when law enforcement officers approached the vehicle, they came under fire. Two KBI agents and a trooper then returned fire, hitting the two men. The KBI said Saturday that 29-year-old Kalun Purucker, of Topeka, died from his injuries later Friday at a Salina hospital. A second man is hospitalized in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.

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Man Arrested in Shooting that Left 2 Dead in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man in a shooting that left two men dead in Manhattan. The Manhattan Mercury reports that police responded around 5:20 pm Friday to a report of gunfire and found 19-year-old Skylar Havens and 23-year-old Javon Gray dead. Riley County police said a man who knew the two victims was arrested later that night on two counts of second-degree murder. He is jailed on $500,000 bond. Police said no other arrests are anticipated in this case.

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Kansas Democrat Barbara Bollier's Praise of Strict Gun Laws Roils U.S. Senate Race

Topeka, Kan. (AP) - Republicans have been circulating a video of the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas praising strict Australian gun laws that she said "took them all away."  Republicans are hoping to undercut Democrat Barbara Bollier's campaign that portrays her as a political moderate in what's been an unexpectedly tough red-state race for the GOP.  Bollier's spokeswoman accused Republican candidate Roger Marshall's campaign of being "duplicitous" in highlighting the video.  On Sunday, Bollier's campaign released longer audio from the same event that included moments in which Bollier said she supports the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting gun rights and recalled hunting with her father.  

The race appears to be close between Marshall, a two-term congressman for central and western Kansas, and Bollier, a Kansas City-area state senator who was a lifelong moderate Republican before switching parties late in 2018.  As the GOP fights to keep its 53-47 majority in the U.S. Senate, Marshall and his supporters have attacked Bollier on issues that favor Republicans in much of the state, including gun rights.  Both a two-and-half-minute video clip provided to The Associated Press by the Marshall campaign and the longer audio from Bollier's campaign show that she noted that an adult daughter lives in Australia and praised a law there that in the 1990s forced owners of 700,000 guns to sell them to the government as "this amazing thing."

"They have no guns. They don't allow them. They just took them all away," Bollier told her audience. "And you know what? It''s pretty darn safe."  Bollier also noted that Australia imposes licensing and training requirements for gun owners. Kansas law allows adults to carry weapons openly, and it allows them to carry concealed firearms without a permit — a policy Bollier opposed a legislator when it was enacted in 2015.  "Who thinks you can just go out and have gun? Seriously," Bollier said.  "You can''t drive a car without training. You can''t basically do anything with some kind of training. This is a lethal weapon."  As the video clip began circulating, Bollier tweeted Sunday afternoon: "I do not support gun confiscation. I never have. I never will."  Republicans have not lost a Senate race in Kansas since 1932, but Bollier has flooded the airwaves with ads that have included testimonials from former GOP state lawmakers. (Read more.)

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Man Killed in Shooting at South Wichita Apartment Complex

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a shooting at a Wichita apartment complex has left one person dead. KAKE reports that the shooting happened around 1 p.m. Monday at the complex in the southern part of the city. Police Capt. Wendell Nicholson said the victim is a man in his late 40s to early 50s. He reportedly walked down the stairs of the apartment complex and called 911 to report he had been shot. Crews arrived to find him with a gunshot wound to his upper body. He was taken to a nearby hospital with life threatening injuries where he later died. Police didn’t immediately release any other details.

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Former Missouri Youth Pastor Charged with Child Sex Abuse

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former youth pastor was charged with seven felonies following accusations he sexually abused a child in Missouri.  The Springfield News-Leader reports 46-year-old Jeff Taylor of Strafford, Missouri, was charged Thursday with five counts of statutory sodomy and two counts of statutory rape. Taylor is accused of sexually abusing a child for several years beginning when the victim was younger than 14. Court documents say Taylor worked at First Baptist Church in Strafford until a few days ago. Online court records do not list an attorney for Taylor.

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AG Derek Schmidt: California’s Proposition 12 Unconstitutional, Detrimental to Kansas Ag Industry

TOPEKA, Kan. (High Plains Journal) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says California’s attempt to regulate animal agriculture outside its borders is an unconstitutional barrier on interstate commerce and will be devastating to Kansas agriculture.  Schmidt joined attorneys general from 19 other states in filing an amicus brief supporting the appeal of the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation.  Those groups have challenged a California proposition enacted through a ballot initiative led by animal rights activists. The law is scheduled to take effect in 2022 and would prohibit the sale of any veal, pork, or eggs produced from animals not raised in accordance with California rules, regardless of where the animals were raised. Those rules, among other things, would permit California officials to conduct on-site inspections of farming operations in other states and impose onerous record-keeping requirements.  

“Proposition 12 requires farmers across the country to raise their veal calves, hogs, and hens according to California’s animal-confinement standards—or else be forced out of the California market altogether. In doing so, it attempts to establish a national animal husbandry policy, frustrates a multi-billion-dollar inter-state industry, and unconstitutionally interferes with the autonomy of the States to regulate agriculture within their borders,” Schmidt and the other attorneys general wrote in the brief filed last week. “California’s rules are a substantial departure from current practices in most states. The Commerce Clause does not permit California to upset those practices by setting a single, nationwide animal confinement policy.”  In April, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed the challenge to the California law, leading the plaintiffs to the appeal to the 9th Circuit.

“Although California may serve as a laboratory of state policy experimentation with its animal confinement laws, it may not impose those same policies on extraterritorial conduct and thereby prevent other States from experimenting with their own policies for their own citizens,” the attorneys general wrote.  (Read more.) 

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Conservative PAC Draws Charges of Racism in Missouri

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A conservative political action committee in Missouri is facing accusations of racism after posting a website that uses images of violent protests and photos of Black politicians to attack the Democratic candidate for governor on her support for police. Nicole Galloway is trying to unseat Republican Governor Mike Parson. The website from the Uniting Missouri PAC includes photos of Black politicians and activists. Some Democrats along with opinion writers for the state's two largest newspapers have criticized the site as racist. But Uniting Missouri Chairman John Hancock says the site simply compiles statements of Galloway allies making anti-police statements.

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Kansas Man Sues over Crash that Kills Wife, 4 Children

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man is suing a over a crash that killed his wife, three of his children and his stepdaughter. The Wichita Eagle reports that Jeffrey Williams, of Viola, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages in the wrongful death lawsuit filed this month against Andrew Specht and his employer, Wellington-based L.B. White Trucking Inc. The suit alleges that Specht was driving a tractor-trailer loaded with grain at a “reckless speed” on Septeber 25 when he ran a stop sign and slammed into the sport utility vehicle in which Williams’ family was riding in southwest Sedgwick County.

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Kansas Audio-Reader Network Hosting Donation Drive October 17

LAWRENCE, Kan.  (KPR) — The Kansas Audio-Reader Network will host a donation drive Saturday, October 17 (9 am to 1 pm) at the Lied Center of Kansas.  The public is asked to donate gently used audio equipment (modern and vintage), vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes and musical instruments. The Audio-Reader Network’s annual benefit sale, For Your Ears Only, has transitioned to a series of monthly Facebook Live sales for this year. Dates for the upcoming sales can be found here.
Audio-Reader will provide a contactless drop-off for items. Donors can choose to either remain in their car while Audio-Reader staff removes the items, or donors may place their items on tables provided. Per KU requirements, all Audio-Reader staff and donors will wear face masks during the event.  Donors will receive a tax receipt. The most popular items at the sales are rock 'n' roll records, turntables and vintage audio equipment.

Audio-Reader’s next Facebook Live sale will be on Thursday, October 15 at 6 pm.  This sale will feature audio equipment, including receivers, speakers and turntables as well as vinyl records. Darrel Brogdon, Kansas Public Radio program director and host of the "Retro Cocktail Hour," will also make a guest appearance with a specially curated selection of Retro Cocktail Hour vinyl records.  Proceeds from the sale benefit Audio-Reader, a service organization providing free reading and information services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The University of Kansas has ceased direct funding to Audio-Reader, making fundraisers like these virtual benefit sales vital to Audio-Reader’s operation. Funds from the sale go directly to helping Audio-Reader listeners stay connected with their communities and live a life of personal independence.  More information is available at Audio-Reader's website: reader.ku.edu.

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Missouri S&T Announces "Transformative" $300 Million Gift

ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis businessman and his wife have donated $300 million to a foundation to support Missouri University of Science and Technology in what the university said is believed to be the largest single gift to a higher education institution in Missouri. Missouri S&T announced the gift Monday from Fred and June Kummer. He is the founder and chairman of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., a design and build firm for health care. Kummer is a 1955 graduate. The university will use the gift to establish a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, develop new areas for research, and provide scholarships and fellowships for students. Chancellor Mo Dehghani called it “transformative.”

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USDA Predicts Slightly Smaller Kansas Corn Harvest

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers are expected to harvest slightly less corn than than last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this year’s crop is forecast at just under 800 million bushels, down 2% from last year. The Hays Daily News reports this year’s average yield of the 5.75 million acres planted is forecast at 137 bushels per acre, up by four bushels from 2019. As of October 5, 44% of Kansas corn was harvested. This is 34% ahead of last year, but behind the 49% average by this time during the past five years. More than half of the corn already harvested is either good or excellent.

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Police: Man Upset About Chiefs' Loss Pointed a Gun

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City Chiefs fan who was upset about the team’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders pointed a gun at a victim in a neighborhood about 10 miles away from Arrowhead Stadium. Police in Kansas City, Kansas, said in a tweet that officers responded to disturbance call around 5 p.m. Sunday, after the game ended. A victim and witnesses then told officers that a person, upset over the result of the Chiefs’ 40-32 loss to the Raiders, pointed a gun. One of the witnesses then fought to disarm the suspect, who fled.

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Kansas State QB Skylar Thompson to Miss Rest of Season

UNDATED (AP) – Kansas State University quarterback Skylar Thompson will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his throwing shoulder. That leaves freshman Will Howard to lead the No. 22 Wildcats the rest of the way. Thompson was hurt two weeks ago when Texas Tech’s Rico Jeffers drove him into the ground after unloading a pass in the Wildcats’ 31-21 victory. The Red Raiders were penalized and Jeffers was ejected for the late hit. The Wildcats are off before facing KU on Oct. 24.

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Chiefs Doomed by Simple Mistakes in Loss to Las Vegas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes has quickly earned a reputation for pulling off the seemingly impossible, whether it’s a no-look pass or a 70-yard heave or merely leading the Kansas City Chiefs to victory when all hope seems lost. But it was the Chiefs’ inability to execute the simple stuff that hurt them against the Las Vegas Raiders. They blew coverages, were penalized at the most inopportune times and were unable to get the kind of crazy plays late in the games that have bailed them out in the past.

(-Related-)

Derek Carr Outduels Patrick Mahomes as Raiders Snap Chiefs' 13-Game Win Streak

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (USA TODAY) – Derek Carr threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, outplaying Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes along the way, and the Las Vegas Raiders nearly shut out the potent Kansas City offense in the second half to rally for a 40-32 victory Sunday that ended the Chiefs’ franchise-record 13-game winning streak.  The Chiefs had won seven in a row over their longtime rival at Arrowhead Stadium, where Carr had been especially bad in losing each of his six starts. But he was simply spectacular with a relatively quiet 17,000 fans in the building, helping to guide the Raiders to their first win in Kansas City since Oct. 28, 2012.  Mahomes spent the entire game trying to escape the Las Vegas pass rush, which manhandled the Chiefs offensive line, and finished with 340 yards passing and two touchdowns along with an interception.  (Read more.)   

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