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AFC West Rundown: Week 16

Posted Dec 24, 2013

The Broncos and Chargers came away with wins in Week 16.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

Week 16: Lost 23-7 vs. Indianapolis

 

How it happened: A promising start turned into a disappointing Sunday for the Chiefs, who lost their third consecutive game at Arrowhead Stadium by conceding 23 unanswered points to the Colts. Kansas City quickly got on the board on its opening possession of the game, as the offense marched 59 yards on four plays – capped by a 31-yard touchdown run by running back Jamaal Charles. It was the final time the Chiefs would get on the scoreboard, however. The Colts built a 13-7 halftime lead on the back of a pair of second quarter field goals by kicker Adam Vinatieri and a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck to running back Donald Brown. The Chiefs drove into scoring range once throughout the second and third quarters, resulting in a 47-yard missed field goal by kicker Ryan Succop at the end of the first half. The Colts added 10 third quarter points to extend their lead to 16 – and while the Chiefs drove into Colts territory twice in the fourth quarter, both drives resulted in turnovers, ending all hope of a Kansas City comeback. 

 

It was over when: Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman forced an Alex Smith fumble with 3:20 remaining and Indianapolis recovered, allowing the Colts to grind out the game’s final minutes and leave Arrowhead Stadium with a victory.  

 

Key performer: Charles totaled 106 rushing yards on 13 carries – accounting for the Chiefs’ sole touchdown of the day – and also caught five passes for 38 yards.

 

What’s next: While Kansas City’s place as the AFC’s five-seed in the playoffs has been sealed, the Chiefs will look to bounce back before the playoffs in their regular-season finale at San Diego on Sunday.

 

Between the hash marks:

-Charles trails Eagles running back LeSean McCoy by just 32 yards (2,012 to 1,980) for the NFL’s lead in combined yardage this season.

-Linebacker Derrick Johnson had an active day, totaling five tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss in addition to defending one pass.

 

Oakland Raiders (4-11)

Week 16: Lost 26-13 at San Diego

 

How it happened: The Raiders rank among the NFL’s 10-most prolific running attacks this season, but Oakland was unable to establish the ground game in San Diego on Sunday. The Raiders rushed for just 59 yards against the Chargers – although a 5-yard touchdown scamper by running back Darren McFadden gave the Raiders a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. Although the game was tied at 10 at the half, the Raiders were unable to overcome a 4-yard touchdown pass from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to wide receiver Keenan Allen, as well as three second-half field goals by Chargers kicker Nick Novak.

 

It was over when: The Raiders’ 17-play, 67-yard drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter came up empty after quarterback Matt McGloin’s fourth-down pass to fullback Marcel Reese fell incomplete in the end zone.

 

Key performer: Defensive tackle Pat Sims recorded 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss, as well as a sack and two quarterback hits.   

 

What’s next: The Raiders will conclude their 2013 season when they host the Broncos on Sunday.

 

Between the hash marks:

-The Raiders forced three Chargers turnovers on Sunday – a pair of fumbles and just Rivers’ second interception in five games.

-Wide receiver Andre Holmes had five catches for 71 yards, his second-highest total of the season.

 

San Diego Chargers (8-7)

Week 16: Won 26-13 vs. Oakland

 

How it happened: The Chargers kept their postseason hopes alive with their third victory in four weeks, outgaining the Raiders 344-265. While Oakland jumped out to a 7-3 lead, running back Ryan Mathews helped the Chargers answer with a 7-yard touchdown run with 3:13 to play in the second quarter. While the game was tied at 10 at halftime, San Diego seized control in the second half. Rivers threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Allen with 5:00 to play in the third quarter, capping a 12-play, 77-yard drive. Novak added three of his four field goals in the second half – and the Chargers kept the Raiders out of the end zone in the second half.

 

It was over when: The Charger defense stopped the Raiders’ final drive of the game inside the 10 yard-line, turning away Oakland on downs with 54 seconds to play. 

 

Key performer: Mathews finished one yard shy of his sixth 100-yard game of the season, churning up 99 yards on 25 carries – including his second-quarter touchdown – and also caught 3 passes for 20 yards.

 

What’s next: While a win alone won’t earn the Chargers the final spot in the AFC Playoffs, San Diego will look to stay alive for postseason contention when they host the Chiefs in a rematch of the Chargers’ 41-38 win in Week 12.

 

Between the hash marks:

-Allen caught his eighth touchdown of the season, and the rookie needs just 43 receiving yards in the Chargers’ regular-season finale to crack 1,000 for the season.

-The Chargers’ league-best marks in time of possession and third-down efficiency were again reinforced against the Raiders, as San Diego held the ball for 34:42 and converted 6-of-11 third down attempts.

 

 

Denver Broncos (12-3)

Week 16: Won 37-13 at Houston

 

How it happened: What ultimately concluded as a historic day for the Broncos – and for quarterback Peyton Manning – was a roller coaster ride for much of their showdown with the Texans. Before Manning threw his NFL-record 51st touchdown pass of the season – and before the Broncos clinched their franchise-record third-consecutive AFC West title – Denver was locked in a 16-13 tussle entering the game’s final quarter. Safety Mike Adams’ interception of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on the second play of the fourth quarter proved to be the spark, giving the Broncos the ball at the Houston 28 yard-line. Two plays later, Manning threw a 10-yard touchdown to wide receiver Eric Decker, giving Denver a 10-point cushion. From there, Manning took over – both in the game and in the NFL record books. Manning’s final pair of touchdown passes – a 20-yarder to Decker and a 25-yarder to tight end Julius Thomas – tied him with and then broke Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s NFL record of touchdown passes in a single season.

 

It was over when: Manning threw his record-breaking touchdown to Thomas with 4:28 to play, capping the Broncos’ 21-unanswered fourth quarter points. 

 

Key performer: The game where Manning threw his 51st touchdown of the season marked the eighth time this season that the quarterback has thrown four-or-more touchdown passes in the game. Manning finished by completing 32-of-51 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions – the eighth game this season where he was not picked off.  

 

What’s next: The Broncos will look to gain the AFC’s top-overall seed entering the playoffs when they travel to Oakland on Sunday – the Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-21 in Week 3.

 

Between the hash marks:

-Decker’s pair of touchdown catches gave him 10 on the season and made the Broncos the first team in NFL history with five players – Decker, Julius Thomas, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver Wes Welker and running back Knowshon Moreno – who have scored at least 10 touchdowns in a season.

-Moreno became the 20th 1,000-yard rusher in franchise history, bumping his career-best rushing total to 1,015 yards this season.  

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