Every week in the NFL requires intensity. On any given Sunday any team can be beaten. This was a week for two teams in the AFC West to look down on their opponents and for one to be hyped for the game of the week. The San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs faced two teams that on paper should have been no problem, while the Denver Broncos have had their game circled on their calendar since the schedule came out.
AFC West Standouts:
For the second week in a row Matthews has rushed for over 100 yards. When the Chargers can have that type of production out of the run game it only helps Philip Rivers and the passing game. Mathews did not have a 100 yard game last season. Before last week, he had not posted 100 yards rushing since week 13 of the 2011 season. His ability to continue to perform at a high level will be a major factor in whether the Chargers can find themselves fighting for a Wild Card spot come seasons end.
Rivers stats will not blow anyone away. He had 285 yards passing and one touchdown, but he only had four incompletions. He was efficient and did not turn the ball over. Most West Coast teams struggle going east and playing the early 1:00 p.m. games. Rivers led his team and the game was never in doubt. Although the opponent was the now 0-7 Jacksonville Jaguars, it shows a level of focus and preparation that the Chargers did not let them hang around.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense:
It appears they make the list every week, but they are that dominate. New Houston Texans starter Case Keenum played a solid first half, but in the second half the Chiefs turned the heat up on him. In the first half the Chiefs did not pressure Keenum much but in the second half they blitzed with much success. They sacked him five times in the second half and the pressure rattled the young starter. In a game that the difference in the score was only one point, 17-16, the defense showed once again that they are what have carried the Chiefs to a 7-0 start.
Denver Broncos Defense:
For all the hype the team’s offense receives, the defense has not carried their weight of late. Last week, they allowed the Jaguars to hang around for three quarters and this week they could not get stops when they were needed. The return of Champ Bailey last week and Von Miller this week was supposed to make the defense better. Bailey struggled last week and was injured during this week’s game. Miller played okay, but his presence did not alter the defensive results. No one person on the Colts was dominate in the run game but as a team they totaled 121 rushing yards. Andrew Luck was sacked twice but more often than not when there was pressure he escaped. It’s only one loss, and the offense cannot turn the ball over, but the defense must be able to get stops.
Photo courtesy: K.C. Alfred