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AFC West Recap - Week 12

AFCW REcapTLDR: The Chargers are good again, The Broncos won a huge game and the Raiders are a football team.

chargersRivers set some records and the (8-3) team added another game of security to their wildcard spot in the 45-10 win over Arizona.

gettyimages-1065220400-e1543188714668The first quarter was…concerning… for the offense. After that, they found their rhythm and completely dominated for the nonexistent home fans.  Philip Rivers went 28/29 for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the process, he tied the record for consecutive completions at 25 in a row (previously set by Ryan Tannehill over the course of 2 games.), and set the single game record for the same category. ALSO, Max Kellerman, he became only the fourth quarterback to throw 2 or more touchdowns in each of the first 11 games AND he set the record for the best single-game completion percentage with at least 20 attempts. This seems good, in my opinion. Melvin Gordon had 10 rushes for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns before going down with a knee injury in the third quarter, and the combination of Justin Jackson, Austin Ekeler, and Detrez Newsome rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown in his absence. Keenan Allen hauled in 7 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown, but Mike Williams was the star with his 2 insane scores.

On defense, the game was highlighted by big performances from the stars. Joey Bosa had 5 total tackles and 2 sacks, and Derwin James co-lead the team in tackles at 7, defended 2 passes and picked off Rosen once. Considering the injuries to Perryman and Liuget, they did a great job keeping an admittedly bad Arizona offense off the field. It’s going to be interesting to see how they maintain this momentum going into Pittsburgh for a primetime game.

Takeaways: The Cardinals are not good. This may be a shock to many, but this was a game they were absolutely supposed to win so lets not pretend it’s THAT big of a deal. 45 unanswered points vs any NFL defense is extremely impressive, though, and they will need a TON of that energy going into Pittsburgh. Without Melvin Gordon, who is obviously a top 3 running back in football, the entire dynamic of their offense is going to change.

Notes: Trevor Williams, Jeff Richards, Chris Landrum, Cole Toner, Trent Scott, Forrest Lamp and Brandon Mebane were all inactive. Melvin Gordon went down with what is confirmed to be an MCL injury in the 3rd. They play @ the Steelers on SNF this weekend.

DenverIn an outstanding defensive effort, the (5-6) Broncos toppled the Steelers 24-17.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver BroncosDs8O-9AWkAIyspoOn offense, Case Keenum had a trademark efficient, but uninspiring performance with 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. Philip Lindsay continued his bid to be named OROY (Unless Saquon and Baker both die in a plane crash, he has ZERO chance) with 110 yards and a hard fought TD off 14 carries. He’s now 7th in the league in rushing yards while averaging 0.6 more Yards per attempt than the 6 players ahead of him. When you think about the fact that Ezekiel Elliot, #1 in the league in rushing yards, has nearly 100 more attempts than him, you have to be excited for the future with this stud. The receiving core did fine, but Courtland Sutton had a particularly hard time getting open. This was not a problem for Emmanuel Sanders, though, who gashed his former team for 86 yards and a touchdown off 7 receptions. The offensive line held up particularly well, only letting the league-wide sack leading Pittsburgh defense take down Keenum twice.

On defense, they put on clinic. They forced 4 turnovers on the day, including a Chris Harris jr. pick, an incredible Will Parks forced fumble for a touchback, a Bradley Roby forced fumble and a Shelby FOOKIN Harris goal line pick to end the game. Harris added a half sack with Von Miller, and Shaq Barrett got to Big Ben as well. This was one of their better games for big plays, which have been instrumental in bailing out their regular play-to-play defense which has been poor in the secondary.

Takeaways: They got them! This is a totally different team when the defense is constantly clicking on all cylinders. It allows that wiggle room for the offense to find their rhythm without having to search for a big play, which Keenum sometime struggles to find. They can be an incredible team if they can depend on above average defensive play and mediocre, or even just ground-and-pound, offensive play.

Notes: Dymonte Thomas, Shamarko Thomas, Alexander Johnson, Demarcus Walker, Sam Jones and Nico Falah were all inactive. Tramaine Brock, Shaq Barrett, and Jeff Heuerman were all injured and did not return to the game. They travel to Cincy to destroy the Bengals terrible defense and god awful chili on sunday.

OaklandThe (2-9) Oakland Raiders are a football team in the NFL that lost to the Ravens 34-17 last Sunday.

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This seemed to be a sort of back and forth type game for the offense until the 4th quarter, when things entirely fell apart. Derek Carr was sort of a non-factor, finishing 16/34 for 194 yards and a touchdown. He also took a vicious strip sack that was taken back for a touchdown courtesy of some terrible blocking by Brandon Parker.  They only managed 67 total yards on the ground, 51 of which coming from Doug Martin along with a touchdown. Seth Roberts hauled in a 44 yard catch, and Jared Cook continued his insane rejuviation. He is only a few yards away from matching his total from last year, and he already doubled his touchdown production +1. His one-handed TD grab was easily the offensive highlight of the game.

On defense, they managed some flashy plays vs an offense that has been sort of finding it’s rhythm under Lamar Jackson. They had two picks, courtesy of Marcus Gilchrist and Reggie Nelson, as well as a Nicholas Morrow sack. Other than the turnovers, the secondary was toasted pretty often. Melvin was beat bad by like a 300lbs Ravens TE for a 74 yard reception, and Crabtree split Nick Nelson and Darryl Worley’s zones for a red zone score very easily.

Takeaways: Gareon Conley is good! He had most of his receivers locked up all night, and defended 2 passes. In fact, knocked one of them in the air inbounds while on the sideline which was then picked off by Gilchrist. Other than that, there isn’t much else to remember. They had a decent chance to pull away after scoring in the third, but blew it all away in the fourth. The offensive line continues to struggle, allowing 3 straight sacks to Matthew Judon. I’m not sure what is up with Kolton Miller, but the confidence he was playing with in the beginning of the year is seemingly gone. Their whole line is patchwork and maybe that lack of cohesion is hurting him as well, but he needs to step up in a huge way.

Notes: Fadol Brown, Martavis Bryant, Leon Hall, Denver Kirkland, Emmanuel Lamur, Justin Murray and Ian Silberman were all incatvie. Mo Hurst left with an undisclosed injury in the third and did not return. They host KC on Sunday in what is sure to be the antithesis of must-watch football.

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