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AFC West Rundown: Week 7


Week 7: Won 42-17 vs. San Francisco

How it happened: It didn't take long for Peyton Manning to make history, as he hit Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas for first-half touchdowns to break Brett Favre's all-time passing touchdowns record and put the Broncos up 21-3. Despite a late first-half touchdown by the 49ers, Denver pulled away with 21 third-quarter points, including another touchdown from Manning to Thomas and two touchdown runs by Ronnie Hillman. Brock Osweiler entered the game for the Broncos with 13:32 remaining in the game with the Broncos comfortably ahead.

It was over when: Late in the third quarter, Hillman capped a 12-play, 73-yard drive that took 7:08 off the clock with a 1-yard TD plunge, putting the Broncos up 32.

Key performer: Who would you guess? The man who made history authored one of the better performances of his career, which is saying something. His 157.2 rating was his sixth-highest ever in a game, while he managed at least as many touchdowns as incompletions (4 of each) for the seventh time in his career.

Between the hash marks:

  • Demaryius Thomas' slow start to the season is more than a distant memory at this point. His eight catches, 171 yards and two touchdowns capped the most prolific three-game stretch in team history, during which he caught 26 passes, 521 yards and five TDs.
  • Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware terrorized Colin Kaepernick for five of the team's six sacks. Miller leads the NFL with eight sacks, with Ware tied for second with seven, while their 15 combined is more than 14 NFL teams.

What's next: The Broncos host the Chargers on a short week on Thursday Night Football at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.


Week 7: Won 23-20 at San Diego

How it happened: The Chiefs dominated time of possession and overcame a few breaks of bad luck to top the Chargers on the road with a late field goal. Coming off the bye, Andy Reid's offense moved the ball effectively throughout the day, despite some drops at key moments. After taking a second-half lead, the Chiefs allowed San Diego to tie the game with two field goals, but Alex Smith marched the offense back down the field for a late field goal that proved to be the game-winner.

It was over when: Down by three with under 20 seconds remaining, Philip Rivers overthrew a deep pass that was intercepted by Kurt Coleman.

Key performer: His yards per carry average wasn't excellent (4.3), but Jamaal Charles was a workhorse in this game, picking up 107 yards on 24 touches and scoring on the ground.

Between the hash marks:

  • Each of the Chiefs' top pass rushers, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, got home for a sack of Philip Rivers.
  • Andy Reid is now 14-2 after the bye week in his career.

What's next: The Chiefs will host the battle of Missouri as the Rams come to town fresh off of a 28-26 win over the Seahawks.


Week 7: Lost 24-13 vs. Arizona

How it happened: A week after giving the Chargers a scare, the Raiders fell into a 14-0 hole against the Cardinals and could never quite recover. They used a Darren McFadden touchdown run and a pair of Sebastian Janikowski field goals to pull within one point in the third quarter, but went scoreless the rest of the way. A stagnant ground game (2.9 yards per carry) and a limited passing game (5.7 yards per attempt) led to just 220 total yards for the Raiders and 4-of-12 on third down conversions.

It was over when: Up 21-13 and facing third-and-8 from the Oakland 35, Carson Palmer hit Andre Ellington for a 10-yard gain. The Cardinals were then able to burn the clock to 33 seconds and secure a field goal to make it a two-possession game.

Key performer: Former first-round pick Sebastian Janikowski hit two field goals, including a 53-yarder, to put him over 350 made field goals in his career.

Between the hash marks:

  • For the second consecutive week, Brice Butler had a big gain through the air, hauling in a 55-yard pass in the second quarter.
  • The Raiders' offensive line allowed no tackles for loss and just one sack.

What's next: The Raiders head to Cleveland to face the Browns, who lost to the previously winless Jaguars in Week 7.


Week 7: Lost 23-20 vs. Kansas City

How it happened: Philip Rivers had his lowest completion percentage (54.8) and fewest passing yards (205) of the season as the Chargers struggled to get going on offense. They converted only 3-of-10 third downs and only held the ball for 21 minutes. After Antonio Gates caught a tipped pass for a 27-yard touchdown late in the first half, San Diego couldn't muster much on offense the rest of the way, managing six points. Kansas City took the lead late and left very little time on the clock, but Rivers did have time for two deep heaves. On the first, Eddie Royal nearly came down with the first down, but the second was intercepted.

It was over when: Down by three with under 20 seconds remaining, Philip Rivers overthrew a deep pass that was intercepted by Kurt Coleman.

Key performer: Though he didn't get a ton of opportunities, Branden Oliver continued his strong season in relief of Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown. He had 67 yards on 15 carries and ran with good power.

Between the hash marks:

  • Though he only picked up 58 yards, Keenan Allen was targeted 10 times, his second-highest number of the year.
  • Antonio Gates caught his seventh touchdown of the year, including his fourth in his last three games. What's next: The Chargers head to Denver on a short week to play on Thursday night.
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