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How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch

11/17/2009

Falling

SimmsSimms

1. Chris Simms, Broncos quarterback: No one is going to be clamoring for Simms to get playing time after his horrible performance Sunday as an injury replacement to Kyle Orton. Simms replaced Orton, who injured his ankle, in the second half.

Simms cost Denver the game at Washington as he was 3-of-13 passing, including a crucial interception. Simms may have to play Sunday against San Diego in a game for first place in the AFC West. Simms looks like he’s far from being a quality starting quarterback.

Heyward-BeyHeyward-Bey

2. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders wide receiver: The No. 7 overall pick is getting plenty of chances to show he was a quality choice. But he has been unable to prove it. Heyward-Bey has one of the worst pair of hands among receivers in the NFL and he proved that Sunday against Kansas City. He dropped a perfect pass from JaMarcus Russell at the Kansas City 2-yard line. Then, in the final seconds, he had a ball bounce out of his hands that Chiefs safety Mike Brown intercepted to seal the game. Heyward-Bey has been a big disappointment and now he’s costing Oakland games.

3.Denver Broncos: The Broncos are falling in general. They have lost three straight games and are making mistakes on both sides of the ball. Their masterful 6-0 start is a distant memory. The Broncos will try to end their three-game skid against the visiting Chargers on Sunday.

Rising

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1. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs running back: The second-year back had a nice day in the Chiefs’ first game after cutting running back Larry Johnson. Charles had 103 yards on 18 carries. He scored a touchdown on a 44-yard run on fourth and 1.

Charles has great speed and he is giving the Chiefs a boost in the post-Johnson era.

TomlinsonTomlinson

2. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers running back: Tomlinson had his best game of the season. He had 96 yards in 24 carries and scored two touchdowns. Those numbers are nowhere near the numbers Tomlinson, 30, displayed in his heyday. But he did enough to help San Diego keep pressure off the passing game and keep Philadelphia’s defense honest. If Tomlinson can establish a solid rushing attack each week, the Chargers will be difficult to beat.

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3. Michael Bush, Raiders running back: Oakland’s big, bruising tailback had a nice game in a losing effort. Oakland has solid running backs but it has been unable to establish much of a running game. Bush had 119 yards on 14 carries. He's big and tough and he can break long plays. Bush needs to get more chances.