AFC West: 2012 Week 15 coverage

Wrap-up: Raiders 15, Chiefs 0

December, 16, 2012
A look at an all-AFC West shutout as the Oakland Raiders downed the Kansas City Chiefs 15-0:

What it means: The Raiders sent fans home happy in the last home game of the season. Thank goodness for the Chiefs. Oakland ended a six-game losing streak with the win and it is now 4-10. It beat the Chiefs earlier in the season at Kansas City. The Chiefs fell to 2-12 and is still very much in control of the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Chiefs are 0-10 in the AFC West and have lost 16 of 17 conference games. Is a field-goal fueled win over the worst team in the NFL enough for Dennis Allen to save his job?

Bad offense or good defense? The Chiefs had 17 yards in the first half on 18 plays and ended the game with 119 yards. The Chiefs didn’t get one rushing first down. Getting blanked by the worst defense in the league is awful, but this is an awful Kansas City offense. Kudos to Oakland’s defense for stepping up, though. Oakland’s last shutout was in 2002, also against the Chiefs.

Pryor gets a taste: Oakland fans have been screaming to see Terrelle Pryor late in the season. Pryor attempted one pass, an incompletion, in the one series he played. It doesn’t seem like the Raiders’ coaching staff trusts Pryor beyond what we saw Sunday.

Good day for McFadden: Oakland running back Darren McFadden had 110 yards on 30 carries, showing he can still help this team.

Rough day for Charles: Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles had 10 yards on nine carries Sunday. That’s nice work by the Oakland run defense.

Jano-matic: Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski produced all the offense the Raiders needed with five field goals. He’s the best kicker in the league.

What’s next: Oakland plays at the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City hosts the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16.

Wrap-up: Panthers 31, Chargers 7

December, 16, 2012

A look at another bad day for the Chargers:

What it means: In a season of lows, this game ranks up there on the disappointment level. The Chargers were completely manhandled by a team that came into the game 4-9. There was a sparse crowd, and the few fans who bothered to come out booed the home team lustfully. After an impressive win at Pittsburgh last week, San Diego fell flat again. The Chargers are 5-9 (they went 0-4 against the NFC South) and officially out of the playoff race. The Norv Turner-A.J. Smith regime has two more weeks to go in San Diego.

Tolbert bites Smith back: One reason Smith is very likely to be fired is he let too many talented free agents walk. Mike Tolbert is one of them; San Diego’s underwhelming run game misses him. Tolbert scored the first two touchdowns of the game.

Tough day for Rivers: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers’ fumbling issues were a problem again. He fumbled four times and lost two. It was a bad day for Rivers, whose offensive line is in shambles. For the fifth straight game, San Diego’s offense failed to gain 300 yards. It tallied a paltry 164 yards. It just gets uglier.

Mathews hurt: The injuries keep piling up for San Diego running back Ryan Mathews, who has been unable to take the next step in his third year. He suffered a shoulder injury and did not return. The Mathews pick in 2010 is also a reason Smith is in trouble. Update: The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Mathews broke his left clavicle and is out for the season. Mathews broke his right clavicle during the preseason in what has been a miserable year. The Chargers had expected much from him this season, but Mathews finishes with just 685 yards on 180 carries and a score.

Milestone for Gates: There was some good news for the Chargers. Star tight end Antonio Gates caught his 81st career touchdown reception. He tied Lance Alworth for most in franchise history.

What’s next: The Chargers travel to face the New York Jets on Sunday in their final road game of the season. That’s a long way to go just for pride.

BALTIMORE -- A look at a huge statement win by the Denver Broncos.

What it means: The Broncos, who led 31-3 going into the fourth quarter, have beaten the Ravens for the first time in Baltimore after five consecutive defeats. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is now 9-2 against the Ravens and he has beaten them nine straight times. Denver has won nine straight games, the longest current streak in the league, and is 11-3. The Broncos are still very alive for the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. This is Denver’s most impressive win of the season.

Defense impresses: The Ravens were stymied on offense in Jim Caldwell’s debut as offensive coordinator. The Ravens didn’t get a first down until their sixth drive of the game. The game turned when Denver cornerback Chris Harris intercepted a short Joe Flacco pass and returned it 98 yards for a score to give the Broncos a 17-0 lead at halftime. It’s all about Manning in Denver, but this defense is becoming top-notch.

Moreno does it again: Denver running back Knowshon Moreno had 118 yards rushing on 22 carries. He had 119 yards at Oakland last week.

Manning does enough: Because of the great defense and the ground success, Manning was able to pick his spots. He kept his MVP pace up by completing 17 of 28 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. This game showed the Broncos are much more than just Manning.

What’s next: Denver ends the regular season with two very winnable home games. It hosts Cleveland in Week 16 and Kansas City in Week 17.