AFC West: 2012 Week 3 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Raiders 34, Steelers 31

September, 23, 2012

A look at a thrilling 34-31 win for the Oakland Raiders against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers:

What it means: The Raiders have won the first game of the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen era. After looking terrible in the first two games, Oakland battled back from down 10 points down to come back and win as time expired, thanks to a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.

Offense improves: After being stagnant in the first two games, Oakland’s offense came alive. Quarterback Carson Palmer was efficient throughout the game and he was brilliant in the fourth quarter. Running back Darren McFadden, who was bottled up the first two weeks, had 113 yards on 18 carries. The offensive performance should quiet the fan uproar about the Raiders not having the right personnel for the zone-blocking scheme.

Taking advantage of mistakes: The Steelers had 433 yards of offense, but they made key mistakes and the Raiders jumped on them.

Scary injury: Oakland starting receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off the field and taken to a nearby hospital with a neck injury after taking a vicious hit. We’re hoping Heyward-Bey has a speedy recovery.

What’s next: The Raiders travel to Denver on Sunday for a battle of two 1-2 teams.

Wrap-up: Falcons 27, Chargers 3

September, 23, 2012

A look at a miserable day for the Chargers, who lost 27-3 to the Atlanta Falcons:

What it means: The Chargers are not among the league’s elite teams. But the Falcons may be. Traveling cross country after a Monday night game, the Falcons throttled the Chargers. San Diego looked good in its first two games as it started 2-0 under Norv Turner for the first time, but the Chargers had nothing Sunday.

Not a good return for Mathews: San Diego running back Ryan Mathews fumbled near the goal line as the Chargers were poised to take the lead in the first quarter. Sunday was Mathews’ season debut. He broke his clavicle in August. He had 44 yards on 10 carries.

Gonzo strikes again: Tony Gonzalez has to love his AFC West tour. The former Chief great has played his first three games against AFC West opponents and he has scored a touchdown in each game.

Defense fades: San Diego’s defense was stellar in the first two games, but the Falcons ran and passed all over them at will.

What’s next: The Chargers need to bounce back at Kansas City on Sunday where they face a team that is riding high after an overtime win at New Orleans.

Wrap-up: Chiefs 27, Saints 24 (OT)

September, 23, 2012

A look at the Kansas City Chiefs' huge 27-24 win over the New Orleans Saints:

What it means: The Chiefs are off the snide in a big way. Kansas City fought its way back to win in overtime in a game between two desperate 0-2 teams. The Chiefs were trailing 24-6 late in the third quarter. A win like this can change things for this talented team.

Second chance: On third-and-12 in overtime, Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel hit inexperienced running back Shaun Draughn for 12 yards. Instead of marching for a winning field goal, Draughn fumbled and it was picked up by Roman Harper, who ran 57 yards for a touchdown for the game winner. But the play was reserved on a challenge, giving the Chiefs new life.

Succop nails winner: Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop hit a 31-yard game-winning field goal. It was Succop’s sixth field goal of the game and his fourth after the start of the fourth quarter. I smell the AFC special teams player of the week.

Charles is back: Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles had 233 yards on 33 carries. This yardage explosion was fueled by a 91-yard touchdown run. He added 55 yards on six catches. It is a sign that Charles is back from the torn ACL he suffered 53 weeks ago. It’s great to see. Charles is one of the NFL’s bright, young running backs. His explosion is special and it’s nice he still owns it.

No problem, Houston: Chiefs second-year pass-rusher Justin Houston had a monster game. He had three sacks, including a sack for a safety. Houston is a star in the making.

Defense improved: After allowing 75 points in the first two games. The Chiefs improved, especially late in the game. There is talent on this unit and it showed Sunday.

Still starting slow: Last season the Chiefs didn’t score a touchdown on their opening possession. That trend has continued through the first three games of this season.

What’s next: The Chiefs host San Diego on Sunday in a big AFC West game.