Dec 2 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fan holds a sign in reference to the team clinching the AFC West following the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
We did it Bronco fans – we survived the bye week! Next up for the Denver Broncos is the Arizona Cardinals! To help pass the time until Bronco football returns, please continue reading for my thoughts on the week four games that featured AFC West teams.
Oakland Raiders vs Miami Dolphins (in London): The Oakland Raiders aren’t who I thought they were. After the Raiders week three performance against the New England Patriots in New England (the Raiders only lost 16-9), I actually thought the Raiders may have turned the corner and would present a challenge for the Miami Dolphins in London. Boy, was I ever wrong! The Raiders got off to a good start, actually holding a 7-0 lead early in the game, but it was all downhill from that point. Our friends across the pond got a poor example of American football as the Dolphins easily handled the Raiders 38-14. Derek Carr, prior to leaving the game with an injury, had a third quarter pick-six that basically sealed the outcome of this game. Carr’s replacement, Matt McGloin, didn’t fair much better. On his first play from scrimmage, Miami picked up a bad long snap from the Oakland center and returned it for a touchdown. If Carr’s pick-six was the nail going in the coffin, the Raiders failed center/quarterback long snap exchange was the nail being driven in. The Raiders, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, are the only two teams in the league who remain winless this season (0-4). Both the Dolphins and Raiders have a bye in week five so the Raiders will have two weeks to rest and regroup as they attempt to achieve their first win in week six when the San Diego Chargers visit Oakland. The two weeks off will also give the Raiders time to adjust to a new interim head coach considering that it was announced late Monday evening that Dennis Allen was terminated.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers: Philip Rivers had a somewhat slow start on Sunday but eventually found his rhythm and finished with 29 completions for 377 yards and three touchdowns as San Diego beat Jacksonville 33-14. Former Bronco Eddie Royal had big day with five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns; Keenan Allen had a career day, getting ten catches for 135-yards . Not that the NFL is easy to predict, but my Sunday morning assessment was spot on when I indicated San Diego would win this game rather easily. As proud as I am to have gotten this game correct, in the big picture my correct pick and prediction means absolutely nothing. A bigger concern is the San Diego Chargers and how well they appear to be playing through their first four games. Record wise they currently find themselves at 3-1 and atop of the AFC West since the Broncos have only played three times. While San Diego is the division leader, I will point out that the week four statistics pointed out previously in this is post were against Jacksonville, the 32nd rated pass defense in the league. Unfortunately the Broncos were ranked 31st in pass defense prior to the start of week three games. While the Chargers excelled in the passing game, they only rushed for 42-yards on 20 attempts.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs: I thought Kansas City would have a chance to win this game considering it was at Arrowhead, it was Monday night, and so far the Patriots haven’t been that impressive this season. I think it’s safe to say that last night was the best performance of the year for Kansas City and the worst performance of the year for New England, hands down. The Chiefs absolutely crushed the Patriots 41-14; an outcome that the majority of fans didn’t see coming I’m sure. I was torn while watching the game because I live in Chiefs Country and to be totally honest, have had my fill of the Chiefs, their fans, and their stadium, but that’s just me. Believe me, I would have probably slept better if the Patriots would have won the game by the very same score instead of the Chiefs. I did realize however, that the Patriots loss MAY benefit the Broncos come playoff time. Don’t get me wrong, a Kansas City loss last night MAY benefit the Broncos as well, hence me being so torn. The bright side of the whole evening was that I watched the game on my iPad because my wife was watching another show on our television and I opted to have the game muted, which meant that I didn’t have to hear the dreadful tomahawk chop at all. Speaking of noise, I did see the the Chiefs and their fans set another new record for loudest outdoor stadium, or something like that. Hopefully, the Chiefs don’t make the playoffs, or they lose in the first round like last year; at least their fans will have last nights record to fall back on and take into the offseason. That being said, Seahawk fans are probably already planning on when they can attempt to break the record set last night.