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AFC West Rundown

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Take a look at how the entire AFC West fared on Sunday - and what the four teams will look forward to in Week 5.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

Week 4: Won 31-7 vs. the N.Y. Giants

How it happened: The Chiefs reeled off 24 unanswered points, including three touchdowns in the game’s final 16:34, to turn the game into a rout. Quarterback Alex Smith threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to seal the game.

It was over when: Running back Jamaal Charles – who totaled 65 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving – hauled in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Smith to put the Chiefs on top 24-7 with 5:43 to play.

Key performer: Dexter McCluster spun, slashed and sped his way to the end zone on a spectacular – and pivotal – 89-yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:34 to play in the third quarter, giving the Chiefs a 17-7 lead and permanently swinging the game’s momentum. McCluster also had five receptions for 48 yards.

What’s next: The Chiefs will look to keep their perfect record intact when they travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans (3-1), who defeated the Jets 38-13 on Sunday.

Between the hash marks:

-It’s the Chiefs’ first 4-0 start since the 2003 season, when Kansas City won its first nine games. That team won the AFC West with a 13-3 record before falling 38-31 to a Peyton Manning-led Colts team in the AFC Divisional Playoff round.

-The Chiefs defense – led by linebacker Tamba Hali’s two sacks – sacked quarterback Eli Manning three times and forced three Giants turnovers. On the season, Kansas City is yielding an NFL-best 10.3 points per game.

 

Oakland Raiders (1-3)

Week 4: Lost 24-14 vs. the Washington Redskins

How it happened: The Raiders jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead but ultimately ceded 24 unanswered points to Washington. Redskins cornerback David Amerson’s 45-yard interception return for a touchdown pulled Washington within 14-10 with 10:59 remaining in the second quarter, and the Redskins took over the game in the second half.

It was over when: Redskins running back Roy Helu broke off a 14-yard touchdown run with 6:59 left in the game, extending Washington’s lead to 10 – which proved to be insurmountable for the Raiders offense that was without starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Key performer: Running back Rashad Jennings made plays all over the field for the Raiders. Early in the first quarter, Jennings blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone by Jeremy Stewart, giving Oakland an early lead. Jennings also led the Raiders in rushing, carrying the ball 15 times for 45 yards, and receiving – hauling in 8 passes for 73 yards.

What’s next: The Raiders will look to snap their two-game losing streak when they host longtime AFC West rival San Diego in a crucial division game for both teams.

Between the hash marks:

-After leading the NFL in rushing after the first two weeks of the season, the Raiders have been limited to 49 yards and 104 yards in consecutive weeks by the Broncos and Redskins.

-Filling in for the injured Pryor, quarterback Matt Flynn had an up-and-down day in his first start for the Raiders. Flynn completed 21-of-32 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, but he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and lost a fumble.

 

San Diego Chargers (2-2)

Week 4: Won 30-21 vs. the Dallas Cowboys

How it happened: The Chargers used a pair of second half Philip Rivers touchdown passes to reel off 20 straight points, including a 56-yard strike to tight end Antonio Gates that made it a two-score game with 6:54 remaining. A 23-yard Mike Novak field goal had given the Chargers a 23-21 lead just under eight minutes prior.

It was over when: The Chargers defense came through by forcing a critical turnover at the goal line with 2:42 to play, as cornerback Crezdon Butler forced Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams to cough up the ball with a big hit. Richard Marshall recovered the fumble for the Chargers, sealing the game.

Key performer: Rivers shook off a second quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown by Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, putting together a commanding performance. Rivers completed 35-of-42 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns in the game, setting an NFL-record for completion percentage (83.0 percent) by a quarterback who threw for 400 or more yards in a game. 

What’s next: The Chargers travel to Oakland for their first AFC West showdown of the season.

Between the hash marks:

-Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney left the game with a quadriceps injury.

-The Chargers have won 16 of their last 19 games against the Raiders, including 13 consecutive games from 2003-2009.

 

Denver Broncos (4-0)

Week 4: Won 52-20 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles

How it happened: After racing out to a 14-3 lead, the Broncos defense weathered the Eagles’ high-octane offensive attack for the remainder of the first half before Denver wore the Eagles out in the second half. The Broncos dominated Philadelphia in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 21-0 and posting 31 consecutive second-half points before backup quarterback Nick Foles added a late score. 

It was over when: Manning marched the Broncos 80 yards on 10 plays on the opening drive of the second half and the quarterback found Demaryius Thomas on a 1-yard fade route for the score, giving Denver a 28-13 lead. The defense stuffed the Eagles on the ensuing possession and the Broncos never looked back. 

Key performer: In a four-game start to the season that has been marked by record-setting efficiency, Manning posted his best quarterback rating yet. Manning finished with a 146.0 rating, extending his NFL record streak to 16 consecutive regular-season games of posting a quarterback rating of 90.0 or higher. 

What’s next: The Broncos travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys (2-2). The teams haven’t met since Oct. 4, 2009, when quarterback Kyle Orton found Brandon Marshall on a 51-yard scoring strike with 1:46 remaining to give the Broncos a 17-10 lead – Champ Bailey batted away two Tony Romo passes in the end zone in the game’s closing seconds to preserve a victory.

Between the hash marks:

-Not to be overlooked in the record-setting march by Manning and the passing offense, the Broncos rushed for 141 yards against the Eagles, the third consecutive game Denver has cracked the 100-yard mark as a team (107 vs. the Giants, 164 vs. the Raiders). Knowshon Moreno led the way on Sunday with 78 yards and a touchdown.

-Denver’s 52 points represented a franchise record, surpassing a 50-point performance that had stood as the highest scoring output for nearly 50 years.

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