AFC West Beat: West Returning to Status as the Joke of the NFL

By Daniel Hutchinson
October 09, 2012 12:26 am
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Week 5 in the NFL was extremely dismal and embarrassing for the teams of the AFC West. Kansas City gave away a close game to Baltimore, Denver was unable to stop New England’s offense, and San Diego gave up 17 straight points at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, which gave New Orleans their first win of the season. After Week 5, San Diego is the only team above .500 with a 3-2 record, while Denver is 2-3, Oakland is 1-3, and Kansas City is 1-4.

Baltimore at Kansas City

This game turned out to be a dismal efforts from both teams with Baltimore squeaking out a 9-6 win over Kansas City. Despite leading Baltimore in a majority of statistical categories, Kansas City lost the game because they continued their season long tradition of shooting themselves in the foot.

Quarterback Matt Cassel continued to be downright awful, as he was responsible for three of Kansas City’s four turnovers. Cassel would leave the game in the early part of the fourth quarter with a head injury, which actually drew some applause from Kansas City fans.  Cassel was replaced by Brady Quinn who completed three passes on three attempts gaining 32 yards.

In addition to the poor play of Cassel, Kansas City also struggled with penalties. The Chiefs were penalized eight times for 60 yards, with the biggest penalty being a fourth quarter pass interference call against the Kansas City offense, that brought back a touchdown pass from Quinn to Bowe.

The only bright spot for Kansas City was the superhuman performance from running back Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 140 rushing yards on 30 attempts, while contributing another 21 yards on three pass receptions.

Next week Kansas City will play the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and could be an early season must win game for the Chiefs. Additionally, I would be surprised if Cassel gets the start even if he fully recovered from his head injury.

Denver at New England

Denver had an impressive showing against the Oakland Raiders, but proved to be no match for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Denver’s offense was again unable to score points in the first three quarters while their defense had no answer for Wes Welker and Steven Ridley.

On offense, Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense scored one touchdown in the first half on a one-yard touchdown pass to tight-end Joel Dreessen. The offense would hardly have the ball in the third quarter and finally scored on a two-yard touchdown pass to receiver Eric Decker with 68 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Manning again got tasked with trying to manage a fourth quarter comeback but for the third time this season came up short.

On defense, the Broncos gave up 223 passing yards with 104 yards going to Welker, and a total of 251 rushing yards, with 151 being gained by Ridley. Additionally, Denver’s defense allowed New England to put together four drives that lasted 12 plays or more, while three drives lasted five minutes or more. The most notable of these drives being a 95-yard, six and a half minute drive that took up a majority of the third quarter.

Denver also hurt themselves with penalties and turnovers. Denver may have only had four penalties for 21-yards, but two of those penalties helped New England extend that third quarter 95-yard drive, and a third penalty moved New England’s offense from Denver’s 14-yard line to Denver’s three-yard line after a Manning fumble. Speaking of fumbles Denver’s offense had three which further hindered them from mounting a comeback.

Denver is not looking much better than they did in 2011, despite having Manning behind center. Denver better figure out something from before their week six Monday night matchup with the San Diego Chargers.

San Diego @ New Orleans

Both Philip Rivers for San Diego and Drew Brees of the New Orleans came out swinging in their Sunday night matchup in New Orleans, however the difference in the game was the outstanding performances of receivers Devery Henderson and Marques Colston for New Orleans.

Brees completed 29 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns, with Henderson racking up 123 yards and a touchdown, and with Colston completely torching San Diego’s defense by accumulating 131 yards and three red zone touchdowns.

Rivers threw for 354 yards, and two touchdowns, with both of those touchdowns being thrown to former Saints player Robert Meachem, while Malcolm Floyd had 108 receiving yards. While Meachem and Floyd had a solid performance, it was not enough to beat the struggling New Orleans Saints.

San Diego played well throughout the game but in the end, San Diego gave up 10 points in the fourth quarter which made the score 31-24 , while a Rivers fumble on San Diego’s last drive of the game secured the win for New Orleans.

It will be interesting to see if San Diego’s defense can hold off Denver next week in order to benefit from the good play of the defense.

Final Analysis

All three AFC West teams that played in Week 5 lost, and the AFC West is quickly returning to their unflattering designation of the worst division in the NFL.  However, it is clear that the division race this season is going to be between Denver and San Diego.   

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