Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) prepares to sack Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) during the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Raiders won 15-12. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Week 14 AFC West
Week 14 was another week of divisional contests as San Diego traveled to Kansas City and Oakland traveled to Denver. Neither of these games turned out how all the “experts” predicted. (not saying I’m an expert but I also predicted these outcomes differently) I thought that the Chiefs would dominate the Chargers on offense as well as on defense. I also thought that while the Raiders would give the Broncos a tough game but I did not think they had a chance to win.
When you take a look back at the previous game for Denver, though, you can see that an upset was more than just possible.
Denver failed to score a touchdown in the entire second half against the Chargers in beautiful San Diego weather and a strong running game. The issue became that the defense adjusted to the limited style of quarterbacking by the young Brock Osweiler. Oakland watched the film from San Diego and the other two games where Osweiler started. They saw ways to beat him. The Raiders attacked Osweiler at every turn and forced Denver to turn away from its run game early.
Stud defender Khalil Mack was able to pull down the giant of a quarterback a staggering five times, all in the second half. To be clear, Osweiler did not have help with drops from normally reliable DeMaryius Thomas and notorious dropper Vernon Davis, but he regularly threw it behind and over the head of his receivers.
Osweiler is not Denver’s savior and with anymore losses they will have to host one of the dangerous wild card teams for the first round of the playoffs. There is also a very small, outside chance that Denver would miss the playoffs entirely but that involves losses to the Daltonless Bengals and the beat up Chargers.
The Chiefs showed great grit and heart in their win over the Chargers, which is pretty much exactly what I said last week. This team is winning ugly and as pointed out by their head coach via Adam Teicher of ESPN, “We’ve found ways to lose games like this.” He was referring of course to Denver in the second week of the season and Chicago three weeks later. The Chiefs are winning games that they used to lose. Games where the offense just wasn’t quite working and the weather was poor, or they had to win to clinch or keep pace were almost sure losses since I started paying attention back in the late 90’s. Andy Reid has definitely transformed this team and gives the city hope for their first playoff win in over 20 years.
Some things I saw watching the game from my couch and not in rainy Arrowhead:
- Alex Smith will probably be more comfortable wearing gloves going forward in bad weather. He stated after the game that it was the first time he has ever worn gloves for a game in his entire 11 year career.
- Derrick Johnson is still the best middle linebacker the Chiefs have ever had. It really isn’t that close either. He intercepted his second pass of the season and continued to add to his legacy as the Chiefs’ leading tackler.
- The Chiefs do have an area of concern without Husain Abdullah. When he drops back to cover deep halves with Ron Parker he is much better than Tyvon Branch. It’s a good thing the Chiefs face Jimmy Clausen and Johnny Manziel the next two weeks.
- I was not a fan of the broadcasters for the game on CBS. Sounded like the color man was a San Diego homer that didn’t like any calls against the Chargers.
- Jeremy Maclin disappeared in the second half. It was nice to see Albert Wilson prove his worth but Maclin is your best shot at putting points on the board.
AFC West Standings
Kansas City (8-5)
San Diego (3-10)
Next: How the wild card race is shaping up...