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AFC West Rundown: Week 14

Posted Dec 11, 2013

Take a look at how the AFC West fared in Week 14 and what lies ahead for the four teams this week.

Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
Week 14: Won 45-10 at Washington
How it happened: The Chiefs put an emphatic end to their three-game losing streak, exploding out to a 31-0 lead midway through the second quarter of their road showdown with the Redskins. The Chiefs used a series of big plays to their advantage in the inclement weather at FedEx Field, the first of which happened when wide receiver Dexter McCluster returned a punt 60 yards to the Washington 13, setting up running back Jamaal Charles’ 2-yard plunge into the end zone that gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead with 5:52 to play in the first quarter. After linebacker Derrick Johnson intercepted Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on the game’s ensuing possession, quarterback Alex Smith found wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on a 21-yard touchdown pass that gave Kansas City a 17-0 first-quarter lead – and the Chiefs never looked back. Kansas City got a pair of return touchdowns – a 74-yard punt return by McCluster and a 95-yard kickoff return by safety Quintin Demps – to help pad its lead.
It was over when: The Chiefs conceded just two first downs to the Redskins in a scoreless third quarter, maintaining a commanding 38-10 lead headed into the game’s final 15 minutes.
Key performer: McCluster returned seven punts for 177 yards and a touchdown, adding four catches for 22 yards on offense.
What’s next: The Chiefs travel to Oakland for an AFC West showdown with the Raiders.
Between the hash marks:
-Charles grinded out a 19-carry, 151-yard rushing performance, his best rushing output this season. He now ranks third in the NFL in rushing (1,162 yards), third in combined yards (1,622) and second in touchdowns (13).
-The defensive pressure that helped the Chiefs start the season 9-0 returned forcefully on Sunday. Kansas City sacked Griffin III six times, with linebacker Tamba Hali leading the charge. Hali recorded six tackles and a pair of sacks against the Redskins, bringing his season total to 11.0 – tied for sixth best in the league.
 
Oakland Raiders (4-9)
Week 14: Lost 37-27 at New York Jets
How it happened: The Raiders fell into a 20-3 hole on Sunday at MetLife Stadium and were not able to recover despite a 24-point second-half effort. Jets safety Antonio Allen’s recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone put New York in front by 17 headed into the locker room. The Raiders answered early in the third quarter, as running back Marcel Reece broke off a 63-yard touchdown run in the opening minutes of the second half to cut the Jets’ lead to 20-10. However, in a recurring theme throughout the second half, the Jets quickly answered with a touchdown of their own, extending their lead back to 17. Rookie quarterback Matt McGloin tossed a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rod Streater to bring the Raiders back within 27-17 – and Oakland would trail by just 10 in the fourth. However, the Raiders conceded a 15-yard touchdown run to Jets running back Chris Ivory that gave New York a 37-20 lead with 8:58 to play, and Oakland ran out of answers. 
It was over when: The Jets recovered kicker Sebastian Janikowski’s onside kick attempt with 2:24 to play.
Key performer: Streater finished with seven catches for a season-high 130 yards and a touchdown.
What’s next: The Raiders host the Chiefs in a rematch of Kansas City’s 24-7 win in Week 6.
Between the hash marks:
-McGloin finished the day completing 18-of-31 passes for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception. He’s averaged 253.3 passing yards over his last three games.
-Reece became the fourth Raider – quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Rashad Jennings and running back Darren McFadden are the others – to top the 100-yard rushing mark in a game this season.
 
San Diego Chargers (6-7)
Week 14: Won 37-14 vs. New York Giants
How it happened: After a 10-point scoring performance in a 17-10 loss to the Bengals last week, the Charger offense bounced back in a hurry on Sunday. San Diego jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead against the Giants – with quarterback Philip Rivers keying the way. Rivers threw three first-half touchdown passes – a 43-yarder to wide receiver Keenan Allen, a 4-yarder to Allen and a 6-yarder to running back Danny Woodhead. Running back Ryan Mathews finished the day with 103 yards on 29 carries and found the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, propelling the Chargers to a 31-7 second half lead. 
It was over when: Linebacker Thomas Keiser and defensive end Corey Liuget combined to sack Giants quarterback Eli Manning on fourth down midway through the fourth quarter, giving the ball back to San Diego with a 34-14 lead.
Key performer: Rivers posted his fifth game of the season of throwing three-or-more touchdown passes. The quarterback completed 21-of-28 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.
What’s next: San Diego will be back in action on Thursday night at Denver in a rematch of the Broncos’ 28-20 win at Qualcomm Stadium on Nov. 10.
Between the hash marks:
-Rivers ranks fourth among quarterbacks in the league with 3,882 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes.
-Mathews cracked the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season, and the running back is just 115 yards from a 1,000-yard rushing season.
 
Denver Broncos (11-2)
Week 14: Won 51-28 vs. Tennessee  
How it happened: For a second consecutive week, the Broncos rallied from a double-digit deficit in the first half – and once again, it was the arm of quarterback Peyton Manning that helped get them back on track. Manning threw a pair of touchdowns each half to boost the Broncos on Sunday, but the biggest lift may have come from kicker Matt Prater, whose NFL-record 64-yard field goal before the half cut Tennessee’s lead to 21-20 headed into the locker room. Denver responded by outscoring the Titans 31-7 after the break, with the Broncos forcing a pair of Titans turnovers, which the offense turned into touchdowns on the ensuing possessions. For the game, the Broncos outgained the Titans 551-254, the second consecutive week that Denver has gained more than 500 yards of total offense.
It was over when: The Broncos forced a quick three-and-out while leading 44-28 in the fourth quarter and then drove 49 yards on 10 plays for a 5-yard Montee Ball touchdown run.
Key performer: Manning finished the day by completing 39 of a career-high 59 passing attempts, throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns. It was the seventh time this season that the quarterback has thrown four-or-more touchdowns in a game.
What’s next: The Broncos host the Chargers on Thursday night in their regular-season home finale.
Between the hash marks:
-The Broncos have outscored opponents 176-66 in the second halves of games at Sports Authority Field at Mile High this season.
-Denver became the second team to ever have three different receivers with 10-or-more receiving scores, as tight end Julius Thomas and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas have caught 11 each, while wide receiver Wes Welker has caught 10. Wide receiver Eric Decker, who caught eight passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, also has caught eight touchdowns.