They didn’t get the help they needed from KC to secure the #1 seed, but (12-4)LA did their part in defeating (6-10)Denver 23-9.
On offense for LA, this was a very meager outing. Philip Rivers finished 14/24 for 176 yards, one touchdown and a pair of terrible interceptions. He only put together one sustained drive which ended in an Austin Ekeler (8 rushes, 58 yards) rushing touchdown. Melvin Gordon struggled to get it going vs Denvers good front 7, and left after tweaking his ankle in the second half. Mike Williams was the star of the game, hauling in some incredibly difficult catches to go along with his 3-yard TD score.
For Denver, the offense was gifted 2 interceptions on the first 3 drives for LA. They didn’t convert on either, and were mostly held back by some abysmal offensive line play. Besides being penalized seemingly every play (looking at you, Garrett Bolles), they also let Case Keenum (31/48, 292 yards, 1TD 1INT) get flushed out a lot. He was only hit 3 times and sacked once, but the pressure forced him into some bad decisions. Royce Freeman got the start with Phillip Lindsay out, and he couldn’t get much going vs a hurting LA rush defense finishing with 3.5 YPC on 17 attempts. We did, however, get a fullback touchdown. Shoutout to the executive VP of football operations for Lights, Camera Barstool.
On defense, LA did just about as well as they should have vs Denvers struggling offense, and also bailed out Rivers multiple early mistakes by making some key stops. Adrian Phillips was the star of the day, racking up 12 total tackles, forcing a fumble and defending 2 passes including one which was picked off by Jahleel Addae in maybe the most mind boggling play of the year.
Joey Bosa also had a great game, forcing Keenum into decisions he didn’t want to make and sacking him once. Kyle Emmanuel also took a backwards pass/fumble back for a touchdown, and Casey Hayward intercepted a 2PC and returned it 102 yards. Overall, they were the stars of the game.
For Denver, they played great to start the game. Isaac Yiadom had is first career INT, and Will Parks followed up with one of his own a series after that. They managed 4 PD as a unit and 3 QB hits, including a 16-yard sack in garbage time on Geno Smith and a strip sack from Von Miller. They did a great job bottling up Melvin Gordon, but struggled vs the change in pace of Austin Ekeler.
Takeaways for LA: The game was a triple whammy. They had to play their starters because of the opportunity to win the #1 seed if KC lost. but they dominated Oakland in a no-doubter. They ended up losing Jatavis Brown, the third leading tackler on the team, for the rest of the year with an ankle injury in the first quarter as a result. Also, the Browns were driving to defeat the Ravens at the end of their matchup, which would leave the Bolts with the favorable matchup vs Pittsburgh. Instead, they have to go to Baltimore to play the leagues best defense which dominated them last week. I’ll have a playoff preview blog up for LA and KC later this week.
Takeaways for Denver: This was Vance Joseph‘s last game as head coach, and that’s probably for the best. He made a ton of awful decisions this year which directly cost them at least 2 games, and it’s really tough to have back-to-back double digit loss seasons and remain a head coach, especially as a rookie to the position. He’ll find a job as a DC easily somewhere else. This year had a lot of promise for next year, including the incredible tandem of Chubb and Miller, the emergence of Courtland Sutton and the surprise joy that is Philip Lindsay. They are set right now to have the 10th overall pick in the draft.
There isn’t really much to say other than this was a dominating effort by (12-4) Kansas City in their 35-3 victory over (12-4) Oakland.
On offense for KC, they destroyed a reeling Oakland defense. The obvious NFL MVP Pat Mahomes finished with 281 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He also threw his 50th score, joining Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only 2 quarterbacks to reach that landmark. He already broke pretty much every franchise passing record this year, but added the belt for completion total in this game for good measure. Travis Kelce (5 receptions for 62 yards) also broke Rob Gronkowski’s league record for receiving yards for a Tight End only for George Kittle to break his record, like, 10 minutes later. If it’s any consolation, he also set the franchise reception total record with 103. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill (5 receptions, 101 yards and both a rushing and a receiving touchdown) also set the franchise record for receiving yards with 1,479. Remember this?
Lmao. On offense for the Raiders:
This was one of Kansas City’s better games on defense. Jared Cook gave up on a designed out route for him, leading to a Daniel Sorensen pick-six. This was followed up by a 67-yard Reggie Ragland pick later in the game. Yes, you heard that right. Justin Houston had a game and a half, totaling 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits and a strip sack. Dee Ford had a sack of his own and and an additional TFL. This defense is turning on at just the right time (minus the Jordan Lucas injury).
For Oakland, Gareon Conley had an interception. He is good!!!!
Takeaways for KC: Like I mentioned earlier, they are turning on at just the right time. Justin Houston makes their pass rush extremely formidable alongside Chris Jones and Dee Ford. This game also served as a reminder that Mahomes is clearly the MVP for the 2017-2018 season. It’s really not even close at this point. If you’re not a Saints fan and make a case for Brees, you’re just the worlds biggest dummy. I’ll have more on what to expect for the Chiefs in a playoff preview blog later this week.
Takeaways for Oakland: This was just a pride game for them which I was hoping they would win as a LA fan. It lands them with the 4th overall pick in the upcoming draft.