AFC West Recap – Week One


Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) pulls in a reception past Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High . Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Week one of the NFL season is in the books and of the four AFC West teams, only one of them came made it through victorious and that was the Denver Broncos.  For a synopsis as well as my brief thoughts and perspective of the four games featuring AFC West teams, please continue reading.

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos: Three touchdown passes from Peyton Manning to Julius Thomas gave the Broncos a 24-7 halftime lead giving Bronco fans a feeling of security and hopes that a week one victory would come easily on Sunday night.  The third quarter saw the Broncos offense stutter, adding no points to their seventeen point lead.  The Indianapolis Colts added a third quarter field goal decreasing their deficit to fourteen points.  Five minutes into the fourth quarter Montee Ball added a short touchdown run that put the Broncos up by three touchdowns, which in all rights, should have easily secured the victory and kicking off the celebration at Sports Authority Field.  With approximately three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game, Andrew Luck threw his second touchdown pass of the quarter bringing the Colts to within seven points and a very realistic chance of stunning the Denver Broncos and the home crowd.  Unfortunately, the Broncos went three and out following the Colts kickoff giving Indianapolis one last chance.  After moving the chains one time, the Colts faced a fourth and six.  Luck’s fourth down pass was broken up by Bradley Roby, finally securing a Broncos victory.  While the second half performance wasn’t what Bronco fans expected following the first half, it may be a blessing in disguise.  Thankfully the Broncos came away with a victory, which is the most important thing, and this week there will be no shortage of items to identify that the Broncos must improve.  If the Broncos would have steamrolled the Colts in the second half, there may have been a sense that this team was better than they really are, both with fans, and the players.
San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals: Trailing 6-3 at halftime, the Chargers scored two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter taking a commanding 17-6 lead into the fourth quarter.  The Arizona Cardinals, one of the red-headed step children of the NFC West, would not give up and ultimately won the last game of week one, 18-17.  Both Cardinal touchdowns in the fourth quarter were followed by unsuccessful two-point conversions.  The go-ahead touchdown for the Cardinals occurred with 2:25 remaining in the game and was a Carson Palmer pass to rookie John Brown from Pittsburgh State in Kansas.  Not only did Carson Palmer and the Cardinals get the win, he also ‘out dueled’ Philip Rivers in the quarterback battle.  Palmer finished with 24 completions for 304 yards and two touchdowns, and no turnovers.  Rivers ended the evening with 21 completions for 238 yards and one touchdown pass.  Unlike Palmer, Rivers threw one interception.  While it is pleasing to see the Chargers lose, it is unfortunate that after week one, the AFC West is 0-1 against the NFC West. 
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets: As I reviewed the schedule of week one games, this game definitely lacked luster and pizazz.  While it is very difficult to predict the NFL, I am happy to report that my initial assessment of this game was spot on, at least in my opinion.  The Jets beat Oakland 19-14.  It appears that the sole highlight (for Jets fans) occurred in the fourth quarter when Chris Ivory rushed for a 71-yard touchdown.  Oakland Raider quarterback Derek Carr finished his professional debut with 20 completions for 154 yards and two touchdown passes.  Ex-Bronco Eric Decker had five catches for 74 yards.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs:  Despite a bland preseason by the Chiefs, I really didn’t expect Tennessee to leave Arrowhead with a victory, let alone a major beatdown like they did on Sunday going back home with a 26-10 victory in their back pocket.  I don’t like to see any player hurt, but the Kansas City defense took a major hit when they lost Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito for the season due to Achilles injuries.  Alex Smith was recently rewarded with a contract extension before the season started and it is very safe to say that he hasn’t started giving Kansas City a return on their investment.  While Smith only threw seven interceptions last year, he started of the 2014 season with three interceptions.  As I’ve stated many times in my Predominantly Orange posts, I am anti-Kansas City Chiefs only because of where I call home today.  For that very reason, I told my father in-law as we were watching the games on Sunday that I love seeing quiet Chief fans and a half-full Arrowhead because the fans are already going home.  Kansas City comes to Denver in week two – I hope the Broncos cause the Chiefs early season misery to continue!
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