Sports Out West

AFC West Roundup: Peyton Manning shines, Keenan Allen and D.J. Hayden step-up

NFL: Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

The NFL season is a story and every time the viewer thinks they know exactly how the story will unfold, surprises tend to happen.  This season is no different and the storylines in the AFC West remain quite interesting.  A young quarterback looks good early, two former No. 1 overall picks lead their teams to 5-0, and a late game gets interesting in the fourth quarter. 

Sunday’s Standouts:

Peyton Manning:  

Manning threw his first interception of the season on Sunday; he also threw his 20th touchdown of the year.  He continues to tear defenses apart at will.  He threw for 414 yards and passed Dan Marino for second on the All-time list.  Marino had 61,361 and now Manning sits with 61,371 yards for his career. He kept things interesting by even surprising everyone with a bootleg for a touchdown.  The Denver Broncos may lose a game or two this season, but it’s unlikely that Manning and the offense will be held under 30 points.   

Alex Smith:

The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-0, and there aren’t many issues with the team.  However, if the Chiefs are going to compete to play in late January and early February, then they will need better play from Smith.  He has not played bad, but he has a way of keeping both teams in the game.  Smith completed a mediocre 20 of 39 passes for 245 yards and an interception on Sunday. The NFL is known as a passing league, and if that is true, Smith has to be better than just okay.

Terrelle Pryor:

Pryor came out slinging the football right away throwing a 44-yard touchdown pass on his first pass.  He completed his first 10 passes and looked great in the first half of the game against the San Diego Chargers. When the Chargers got within seven points late in the game, Pryor led the team deep enough to kick a field goal to make it a two possession game.  It is way too early to say he is the quarterback of the future, but it a pretty good bet that without injury no one will be calling for Matt Flynn. 

Rookies:

Keenan Allen had his best game as a pro.  The rookie out of Cal had six receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.  He is quickly becoming one of Philip Rivers favorite targets.  Rivers was targeting Allen in the end zone late in the fourth quarter and was picked off by rookie D.J. Hayden.  It was Hayden’s first interception of the season.  Hayden also had five tackles in the game.        

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for WoodyPaige.com.