Rest of the AFC West: Week 5 Takeaways

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 01: Beau Allen
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 01: Beau Allen /

The Kansas City Chiefs remain on top of the AFC West through Week 5, enjoying a decent lead in a very difficult division.

The Kansas City Chiefs remain undefeated with a victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football. This win keeps the Chiefs on top of the AFC West standings at 5-0. The Denver Broncos had a bye week, keeping them with a 3-1 record. The Oakland Raiders lost at home to the Baltimore Ravens, dropping them to a 2-3 record. The Los Angeles Chargers are finally in the win column with a victory over the New York Giants. Here are the rest of the AFC West takeaways.

Oakland Raiders 17, Baltimore Ravens 30

Raiders defense disappoints in loss

Oakland Raiders franchise quarberback Derek Carr was sidelined for this game. Carr suffered a back injury during Oakland’s loss to the Denver Broncos last week. Without Carr in the lineup, it was expected that the offense would struggle. If Oakland was going to win this game, it would have to get some help from the defense. The Ravens came into the game struggling on offense. During their previous two games, the Ravens could only score 16 points combined. If there was any game that the Raiders defense could lead the team to victory, this was it.

It just wasn’t meant to be. The Ravens were effective on offense throughout the game. They were able to keep the chains moving with a solid rushing attack. Joe Flacco was also able to find former Chief Jeremy Maclin to move the ball on several occasions. Maclin had 6 receptions for 43 yards with a long catch of just 14 yards. The short game opened up the deep part of the field for Mike Wallace, who burned the Raiders for 133 yards on just 3 receptions.

The Raiders offense did struggle, as was to be expected with a backup quarterback. E.J. Manuel completed 13 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Given that this is Manuel’s first season in Oakland and that the Ravens have one of the most talented defenses in the NFL, his performance was decent. Obviously completing only half of his pass attempts is not ideal, but the Raiders could not have reasonably expected much more from him. He took care of the football and made some nice plays with his legs. He had a brilliant touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree while he was escaping from pressure.

The rest of the offense struggled as well. Tight end Jared Cook committed the only turnover of the game on a fumble. The Ravens were able to scoop up the loose ball and return it for a touchdown. The offensive line did allow some pressure. Manuel was sacked 3 times. Amari Cooper had another rough game. The former number 4 overall pick was held to 1 catch for 8 yards. Through 5 games he only has 12 receptions for 118 yards.

The ground game was a bit better this week. The Raiders totaled 108 yards on 25 carries. Marshawn Lynch gained 43 yards on 12 carries. That is only a 3.6 ypc average, but he did score a short yardage touchdown. The Raiders need to figure out their issues, as they face the Chargers next week. The loser of that game will be in last place in the division.

Quick Notes

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio expects Derek Carr to play next week.

Los Angeles Chargers 27, New York Giants 22

Chargers finally get in the win column

The Los Angeles Chargers finally got their first victory of 2017 by defeating the winless New York Giants. After a rough start to the season, Melvin Gordon stole the show. Gordon totaled 105 yards on 20 carries, an average of over 5 yards per attempt. This is much improved over his first 4 games where he was averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Gordon was also a major contributor in the passing game, catching 6 passes for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gordon’s performance was enough to lead the Chargers to victory.

The rest of the offense was decent, but far from perfect. Philip Rivers struggled against a very tough Giants secondary. Rivers completed less than half of his 44 attempts for 258 yards and threw one interception. However, his 3 touchdowns were just enough to win. Keenan Allen caught 4 passes for 67 yards, but also had some uncharacteristic drops. The Chargers offense will have a great chance to rebound next week against the slumping Oakland Raiders.

The Chargers defense was a mixture of good and bad. On the good side, they sacked Eli Manning 5 times and forced a fumble. Safety Tre Boston was also able to intercept an Eli Manning pass. On the bad side, they could not contain superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who looked like he was going to have a monster game with 5 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown before going down with a broken ankle.

The run defense also continues to be an issue for the Chargers. The Giants came into the game with one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. Despite this, the Chargers gave up 152 yards on 25 carries. Running backs Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman, who are far from household names, were effective all game long. The stoppable force of the Raiders rushing attack will meet the movable object that is the Chargers run defense next weekend.

Quick Notes

The New York Giants came into the game without defensive end Olivier Vernon who was sidelined with an ankle injury. Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall also suffered ankle injuries throughout this game and were sidelined. To make matters worse, wide receiver Dwayne Harris also left the game with a broken foot. Usually it is the Chargers that experience this misfortune.

Denver Broncos: BYE WEEK

The Denver Broncos had their bye week. They will host the New York Giants this weekend. Giants quarterback Eli Manning now has nobody to throw the ball to after all the injuries sustained against the Chargers. Expect a beatdown by the Broncos defense as they coast to 4-1 this week.