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Sunday, November 16, 2008
AFC West news and notes

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here are some random AFC West thoughts with three teams in the books and San Diego playing in the second half in Pittsburgh:

The Chargers' defense looks like it's clicking under new coordinator Ron Rivera. He is in his second game since taking over for the fired Ted Cottrell. San Diego's defense clicked in the second half last week against Kansas City and is playing aggressively against the Steelers in a bad weather game in Pittsburgh.

The Chargers have been hassling Pittsburgh quarterback Ben oRoethlisberger all game long. San Diego had a critical defensive stand in the first half as Pittsburgh was stranded near the goal line.

Undrafted rookie Josh Bell started for Denver at cornerback Sunday, replacing Champ Bailey. Karl Paymah had been playing for the injured Bailey, but Bell took over Sunday. The Baylor product was originally signed by San Diego. It's interesting that Bell has moved up so quickly. Not only did he pass up Paymah but also he passed fourth-round pick Jack Williams who had been playing earlier this season. Expect Bell to be the nickel cornerback when Bailey returns.

San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson has had a few nice runs against the Steelers. Expect Tomlinson to continue to improve as the season wears on. He is healthy after dealing with a turf toe injury most of the first half of the season.

With Cincinnati tying Philadelphia on Sunday, the Chiefs, 1-9, are now on pace to get the second pick in the April draft.

New Oakland return man Justin Miller had four kick returns Sunday and had a best return of 40 yards. He was claimed off waivers from the Jets on Wednesday.

Denver tight end Daniel Graham, who caught the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Falcons on Sunday, has four touchdowns in the last five games.

The Raiders have been beaten badly in the first half of games in the past three weeks. Oakland has been outscored 50-3 in the last three first halves. In those games, their opponents achieved 41 first downs while the Raiders have had seven.

The Raiders announced after the game that quarterback JaMarcus Russell was informed of a death in the family after the game. He did not speak to the media.