AFC West: 2010 Week 2 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Raiders 16, Rams 14

September, 19, 2010
What it means: There’s a quarterback controversy in Oakland. Actually, there may not be a controversy. It may be cut-and-dry: Bruce Gradkowski is in and Jason Campbell is out. At least, that’s how it should be after Gradkowski led Oakland to 13 points in the second half after he took over for Campbell. The Raiders probably would have lost if Gradkowski didn’t come in and save the day.

Tomorrow’s talker: Oakland’s young offensive weapons flourished. Running back Darren McFadden had a great game, his second strong game in a row. He had 145 yards on 30 carries and he now has 240 yards rushing in two games. Second-year receivers Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey both had excellent games. They combined for 12 catches for 171 yards. It was, by far, Heyward-Bey‘s best game as a pro.

Hero: It has to be Gradkowski. His numbers weren’t great, but that doesn’t matter with this guy. He ignites this offense. His teammates clearly believe in him.

What’s next: The Raiders play a very winnable game at Arizona on Sunday. The Cardinals got thrashed in Atlanta. There’s no reason not to think Oakland can’t start the season 2-1.

Wrap-up: Broncos 31, Seahawks 14

September, 19, 2010
What it means: The Denver Broncos are in a three-way tie with San Diego and Oakland at 1-1 for second place in the AFC West. After playing decently but losing at Jacksonville in the season opener last week, Denver dominated Seattle 31-14. The Broncos played well in all phases of the game. If Denver makes a run this year, this game will be remembered as the beginning. It was a very encouraging day for Denver.

Tomorrow’s talker: First-round pick Demaryius Thomas had a special NFL debut. After missing last week while recovering from a lingering foot injury, Thomas broke out against Seattle. Thomas had eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. When healthy, Thomas looked spectacular in camp.

Hero: Kyle Orton has been terrific. He is growing in Josh McDaniels’ system and he looks like a star. Orton completed 25 of 35 passes for 307 yards. He threw two touchdowns and he was not intercepted. Orton will keep Denver is games this season.

What’s next: Denver hosts Indianapolis and renowned Bronco killer Peyton Manning in Week 3.

Wrap-up: Chiefs 16, Browns 14

September, 19, 2010
What it means: Kansas City, which was last 2-0 in 2005 when it finished 10-6, will enter Week 3 in sole possession of first place in the AFC West for the second straight week. Chiefs coach Todd Haley said last week that his team would not be pretty to watch and Sunday’s game held true to that comment. But the Chiefs played tough defense and gutted out the win. It secured a first down with 1:53 to go on fourth-and-1 at the Cleveland 35. This is a tough team that is learning how to win. Last week, Kansas City secured he win over San Diego with a defensive stand at its own 6-yard line. It is clear Kansas City is a different team in Haley’s second season.

Trending: Thomas Jones is getting he bulk of the carries. He had 22 carries for 83 yards. Jamaal Charles had 11 carries for 49 yards. Thomas has 33 carries in two games while Charles has 22 carries in the same span.

Tomorrow's Talker: Quarterback Matt Cassel is still not lighting the world on fire. Cassel, who threw for 68 yards last week, was 16 of 28 for 176 yards, but he was intercepted twice. The Chiefs scored on defense and had to settle or three Ryan Succop field goals. Cassel will have to find a way to lead the offense.

What’s next: The 49ers host the New Orleans Saints this Monday night, so they will be traveling to Kansas City on short rest.