Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson (97) and cornerback Bradley Roby (29) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Given the reputation the San Francisco 49ers have established the last few years, I was nervous going into this week seven matchup, even if it was a home game for the Denver Broncos! Hindsight is 20/20, but it is safe to say that my nervousness was really unwarranted FEAR on my part – false expectations appearing real. In my opinion, the Broncos played one of their best games of the year, winning easily against the 49ers on Sunday Night Football! For more thoughts on this game, as well as the other week seven games featuring AFC West teams, please continue reading.
San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos: At last, everything finally came together for the Broncos against the 49ers and fans saw a brief glimpse of how good this team can really be if everything is working. I don’t have to say a lot because the numbers say it all! Obviously, the most important number of the evening was 42 – the highest output of the season thus far for the Broncos resulting in an “easy” win: 42-17. Like he has so many times, Peyton Manning stole the spotlight when he connected with Demaryius Thomas near the end of the second quarter for his third touchdown of the night. Not only did the touchdown pass give the Broncos a 21-10 lead, it set a new record for career touchdown passes (509). Manning would add another touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas which would put the new record at 510. Manning finished the evening with 22 completions for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas caught eight of those passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to the offense lighting up the 49ers, the defense came ready to play and for the most part, kept Colin Kaepernick in check. Kaepernick was held to 263 yards passing and rushed for only 18 yards. The stat of the night for the defense was the number of quarterback sacks. What probably made fans think of the Orange Crush defense from the late 70’s (despite the all blue uniforms worn by the Broncos), the Broncos defense carded a total of six QB sacks (DeMarcus Ware – 3; Von Miller – 2; Malik Jackson – 1). With the game in hand, I saw something that I hadn’t seen in a long time – a long rushing play by the Broncos. Not only did the Broncos have a long running play, it went for a touchdown. Ronnie Hillman rushed for a 37 yard touchdown in the third quarter. Hillman would add a one-yard touchdown plunge later in the quarter and would end the evening with a total of 74 rushing yards. While the 49ers had some key players out due to injuries, they had no answer for the Broncos offense or defense. Given the short week, I hope the Broncos can easily capitalize in this performance and pick up right where they left off when they face the San Diego Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders: I really thought week seven would be the week that the Raiders would get their first win of the 2014 season but I was wrong. Arizona improved their record to 5-1 with a 24-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders fall to 0-6 with the loss and are the only winless team in the league since the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The 0-6 start is the worst start in 52 years for the Raiders but there is hope, maybe; the Raiders face the Cleveland Browns in week eight. As mentioned, the Cleveland Browns lost to Jacksonville, which was the Jaguars first win of the season. If the black-and-silver don’t get a win in week eight, it gets a bit harder considering that the Raiders face the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, and the San Diego Chargers in weeks 9-11.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: The San Diego Chargers’ five game winning streak came to an end in week seven when Kansas City kicked a late field goal giving the Chiefs a 23-20 victory. Similar to ways you defend Peyton Manning, the Chiefs game plan appeared to be ball control and knew there was no way Philip Rivers would have a huge game if he didn’t have many opportunities. The most glaring stat of the day was time of possession – Kansas City had the ball for 39 minutes to San Diego’s 21 minutes. The Chiefs improved their record to 3-3, while San Diego fell to 5-2 and second place in the AFC West. San Diego has an opportunity Thursday to regain the first place spot in the division when they travel to Denver but like my comments above support, it will be difficult because it certainly appears that things are clicking for the defending AFC Champions, which is a great thing!