Friday, September 28, 2012
Final Word: AFC West
By Bill Williamson
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 4:
Chargers have had trouble in new Arrowhead: Sunday will be the Chargers’ third trip to Kansas City since Arrowhead Stadium was renovated. The first two games were disasters for San Diego. In 2010, in a Monday-night season opener, the Chiefs beat the Chargers in a monsoon. Last year, in another Monday-night game (on Halloween), San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers dropped a snap with the Chargers primed to kick a game-winning field goal in the final seconds of a game the Chiefs would take in overtime. Yes, it’s a new season, but the Chargers have to be wondering what can go wrong this year at Arrowhead.
One can hardly blame new Chiefs coach Andy Reid for being eager to work with RB Jamaal Charles.
Charles thrives on the outside: Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles ran for 233 yards in a Week 3 victory over New Orleans and did most of his damage outside the tackles. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Charles averaged 11 yards per attempt on 11 carries outside the tackles in Week 3 -- another sign he is recovered from a torn ACL he suffered last year. Charles led the NFL in yards outside the tackles in 2010. Watch for San Diego to try to limit that this week.
Will Raiders blitz Manning? The Raiders haven’t had much of a pass rush this season, but I’m sure they were inspired by what Houston, which has a great pass rush, did to Peyton Manning on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Manning completed just 37.5 percent of his passes when the Texans rushed five or more defenders. In the first two games, Manning was very good against the blitz, completing 65.2 percent of his passes.
Will Allen enjoy his Denver homecoming? New Oakland coach Dennis Allen returns to Denver, where he was the Broncos' defensive coordinator last season. The Raiders are trying to win in Denver for the fifth consecutive time; that would be the Raiders’ longest win streak in Denver since they took eight straight there from 1965 to 1972. One way Oakland can increase its chances is if Carson Palmer completes a pass thrown farther than 20 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Palmer is 0-for-8 on such throws this season.
Chiefs would like to find the lead: The Chiefs are 1-2. Their win over New Orleans was secured in overtime, ending when Ryan Succop's field goal went through the uprights. Thus, a strange streak continues: According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chiefs have never had the lead during any game this season -- the only team in the league with that distinction. One of the reasons is the Chiefs’ inability to score a touchdown on their first drive of the game. They haven’t done it this year and didn't at any point last season.