ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** With the regular season right around the corner, we take a look back at how the AFC West performed in their exhibition games.
The Broncos started off a strong preseason with a 21-16 win over the Seahawks at home.
Week 2 brought a trip to the brand-new Levi's Stadium and a 34-0 victory over the 49ers.
After a week of joint practices, the Texans edged out the Broncos 18-17 in Denver, though Denver's starters left with a 17-7 lead.
In the exhibition finale, the Broncos backups romped to a 27-3 win over the Cowboys in Dallas.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs' preseason started with a bang, as their game against the Bengals turned into one of the more exciting exhibition games in recent memory. The Chiefs struck with explosive touchdowns from rookie DeAnthony Thomas (80-yard punt return) and second-year tight end Travis Kelce (69-yard catch-and-run), in addition to pick-sixes from Sean Smith and Malcolm Bronson.
Relive the Broncos' series history with the Chiefs with photographs dating to the teams' AFL roots in the 1960s.
Thomas' and Smith's touchdowns happened just 16 seconds apart, while Kelce's came with 21 seconds left in the first half. The Chiefs also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter, but prevailed 41-39 in the wild affair.
The rest of KC's preseason was less glamorous, as they lost three games by 50 combined points to the Panthers, Vikings and Packers. The Chiefs trailed 13-5 and 14-6 when their starters left the games against the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. Both teams sat their starters in the preseason finale in Green Bay. The team's most productive player was Kelce, who picked up 193 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 11 preseason catches.
Even with the three losses to close the exhibition season, the Chiefs finished on a high note, extending quarterback Alex Smith's contract through the 2018 campaign. They open the regular-season slate by hosting the Titans on Sunday morning.
The Raiders began their exhibition season with a 10-6 defeat at the hands of the Vikings, a conservative matchup that saw both offenses average fewer than 4.5 yards per play. After a few joint practices with the Cowboys the following week, Oakland beat the Lions 27-26, highlighted by strong performances from Matt McGloin and rookie David Carr (16-for-31 for 223 yards and two touchdowns combined).
Take a photographic trip through the series history between the Broncos and the Raiders.
In their third preseason game, the Raiders fell behind the Packers 22-7 with both team's starters in the game on the way to a 31-21 defeat. But they rebounded in the final week with a 41-31 win over the Seahawks to move to 2-2. Though Seattle's starters didn't play long, Carr shined for Oakland, completing 11-of-13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders built a 28-7 lead.
The big game brought Carr's preseason stat line to 30-of-45 for 326 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, good for a team-high QB rating of 108.2. That performance, combined with a minor elbow injury to Matt Schaub, convinced Head Coach Dennis Allen to name Carr the starter for the opener at MetLife Stadium against the Jets.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
The Chargers also went 2-2 in the preseason, beating the Cowboys by 20 and the Cardinals by three at home and losing in Seattle and San Francisco by a combined 41 points. The win against Dallas was highlighted by Kellen Clemens' perfect passer rating, after he completed 5-of-5 for 134 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown.
Relive the Broncos vs. Chargers series history with photographs dating to the teams' AFL roots in the 1960s.
Though they trailed Seattle 24-0 in the second quarter, the Chargers were down just 10 when their starters left the game. Likewise, a 21-7 loss to the 49ers belied a 7-3 San Diego lead when both first-strings exited. The Chargers' backups held the Cardinals to just 98 total yards on 43 plays (2.3 yards per play) to win a field-goal fest in the preseason finale.
Philip Rivers was very sharp in limited work, completing 15-of-18 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, good for a rating of 123.6. The Chargers also got their first-round pick from the 2014 draft, cornerback Jason Verrett, back on the field for two games after he recovered from surgery to repair a torn labrum in March.