Just one team came out of the AFC West with a win in week two. The San Diego Chargers now clearly sit atop the division while the Denver Broncos follow in second, and the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders continue to hunt for their first wins of the season. Let’s take a look at the week that was and the week that’s to come.
Denver Broncos (1-1):
Looking Back: Despite committing four first quarter turnovers, the Broncos lost by just six points to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. They were in it till the end thanks to the hard running of Willis McGahee, the strong leg of punter Britton Colquitt, and the heart of a defense that just wouldn’t quit. Matt Ryan and the Falcons were just a touch better, however. They held on for the win and a 2-0 record. McGahee ran for 113 yards on 22 carries and 2 touchdowns. Peyton Manning went 24-for-37 for 241 yards and one score, but he also threw three interceptions. The rust and dust are still being shaken, but for being on the road and nearly pulling off a comeback victory, things look promising in Denver.
Looking Forward: The Broncos will return home to host the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon. The Texans have opened up their season with two 20-point wins over the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively. However, Peyton Manning holds a 16-2 record over the Texans during his time with the Colts. Gary Kubiak returns to Denver where he backed up John Elway in the 80′s and was an assistant coach from 1995 to 2002 and then again from 2003 to 2005. The Texans forced four turnovers in week one and held the Jaguars to a low yardage total in week two, but their defense hasn’t gone up against the likes Peyton Manning, nor has it had to breathe at 5,280 feet above sea level yet.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2):
Looking Back: This is far from the first time the Kansas City Chiefs have started the season 0-2. It’s happened six times in the last seven years. The Chiefs belly flopped again in week two, this time giving up 123 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns to C.J. Spiller, and 35 points to the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs ran themselves over with three turnovers in the game (an interception and a fumble by Matt Cassel, and a fumble by Peyton Hills). The Chiefs found themselves down 35-3 with 3:46 left in the third quarter. That’s why Cassel had 42 pass attempts. Dwayne Bowe led the team in receiving with 8 catches for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was too little too late.
Looking Forward: The road for the Chiefs doesn’t get any easier. They pack their suitcases again to play the New Orleans Saints, who are also 0-2 and more desperate for a win than Sean Payton is to get back to coaching. Like the Chiefs, the Saints gave up 40 points in week one and 35 points in week two. The Saints played against two of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league in Robert Griffin Jr. III in week one, and Cam Newton in week two. The Saints shouldn’t have a problem containing Cassel. Something tells me the Saints are more hungry for their first win of the season than the Chiefs are.
Oakland Raiders (0-2):
Looking Back: Dennis Allen’s coaching tenure in Oakland has gotten off to a very bumpy start. Week two brought a 35-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins chewed the Raiders up with the no-huddle for most of the game, and put up 452 yards of total offense. The Raiders went a measly 1-for-12 on third down, and once potent running back Darren McFadden had just 22 yards on 11 carries. Carson Palmer went 24-for-48 for 373 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Poor field position really hurt the Raiders in this one.
Looking Forward: Things don’t get easier moving forward. The Raiders host the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) who are coming off of a big win against the New York Jets. If the Raiders can’t manage more than 13 points against the Dolphins, who knows if they’ll get into the scoring column at all against the Steelers’ stout defense. The Raiders needs more from McFadden going forward to chew up clock, and keep the ball away from Ben Roethlisberger.
San Diego Chargers (2-0):
Looking Back: The Chargers are 2-0 for the first time in six seasons. They beat the Tennessee Titans 38-10 in San Diego. Former Broncos tight end Dante Rosario filled in for Antonio Gates and made the most of his opportunity. He had 4 catches for 48 yards and 3 touchdowns. Philip Rivers went 24-for-32 for 284 yards with 3 touchdowns and one interception. The Chargers defense held the Titans offense to just 9 first downs, and they got to Jake Locker four times for the sack. The Titans had possession of the ball for just 16 minutes and 21 seconds. A big win and a good way to kick off Norv Turner’s all-or-nothing season.
Looking Forward: The Bolts will stay home to host the Atlanta Falcons (2-0) in week three. The Falcons are an offensive machine with two deadly wide receivers. The Broncos learned that shutting down one doesn’t get the job done. In week one, Julio Jones had 6 catches for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns while in week two Roddy White had 8 catches for 102 yards and one touchdown. The Chargers are 12th against the pass through two games. Let’s see how the Chargers’ depth handles a red hot team from Atlanta.