AFC West: 2013 Week 11 NFL Buzz

Locker Room Buzz: Denver Broncos

November, 18, 2013
DENVER -- Observed in the locker room after the Denver Broncos' 27-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs:

Welker injured: Wide receiver Wes Welker, who has nine touchdown receptions this season, suffered a concussion on a 20-yard catch-and-run play in the fourth quarter. Welker started to leave the field and then took a knee. He had a reception later in the same drive, a 9-yard catch, but did not return to the game following that play. By the league’s concussion protocol, Welker will be limited in practice this week -- Friday would be his first full day of practice at best -- even if he passes a baseline test Monday. The Broncos play Welker’s former team, the New England Patriots, next Sunday night.

Grind it out: Running back Knowshon Moreno didn’t have the prettiest yards per carry average -- 2.9 -- but in the end he did outrush Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles 79 to 78. Moreno carried 27 times to hit that total, but that commitment to the run allowed the Broncos to keep the Kansas City pass rush away from quarterback Peyton Manning.

Zero sum: In the end, it may be the number that meant the most as Manning walked into the locker room after the game with a clean jersey. The Chiefs came into the game as the NFL’s sack leader and did not sack Manning. “We knew this would be a game where (the offensive line) would have to play well for us to have a chance,’’ Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said.

Julius Thomas a question mark: Thomas grabbed his right knee after a collision with a Chiefs player following an incomplete pass in the third quarter. The Broncos officially classified his injury as “lower leg,’’ but Thomas was getting treatment following the game. Joel Dreessen played as the lone tight end in the team’ three wide receiver look after Thomas left the game. Earlier in the game Thomas was the first opposing tight end to catch a TD pass this season against the Chiefs defense.

Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs

November, 18, 2013
DENVER -- Observed in the locker room following the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-17 loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday night:

Calling it closely: Both sides were penalized in the secondary for holding and pass interference in the secondary. Cornerback Sean Smith said it didn’t take long to understand how the officials were calling the game. "They throw a couple of flags and you understand you get one quick pop and then you’d better get your hands off," he said.

Forsaking the field goal: Coach Andy Reid initially sent Ryan Succop on to the field for an untimed down after a Denver penalty at the end of the first half for what would have been a 64-yard field goal attempt. Then, after seeing the Broncos send returner Trindon Holliday out to return the kick, Reid changed his mind and had the Chiefs try one more offensive play that didn’t come close to the Denver end zone. "(Sixty-four yards) is a pretty good shot, even in the high altitude," Reid said.

Injury update: Two starters on the offensive and defensive lines were injured in the defeat. Right tackle Eric Fisher injured his shoulder, guard Jon Asamoah his calf, defensive end Mike DeVito sprained his knee and defensive end Tyson Jackson strained his abdomen. Fisher, DeVito and Jackson were scheduled for MRIs.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Observed in the locker room after the San Diego Chargers' 20-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

One that got away: The mood was somber in the Chargers’ locker room, particularly from some of the veteran players who realized how important this game was for San Diego to continue to have realistic hopes of making the postseason.

“It’s tough,” Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “We needed to get this win. This was a big one. Now we’ve dug ourselves in a hole, and we’re going to have to beat some good football teams to get back out of it.”

Taking it one week at a time: Despite the three-game losing streak, along with losing a tiebreaker to a Miami squad in the mix for the last AFC wild-card spot, San Diego coach Mike McCoy says no one on his coaching staff or players are waving the white flag.

“I’m not worrying about the playoffs right now,” McCoy said. “We were trying to beat the Miami Dolphins today. That’s the only thing on our mind. We’re taking it one week at a time, and there’s a lot of football left. We’re taking the same approach this week.

“There’s a lot of football left. Things are going to change weekly from now on. … We’ve got to get better as a football team, No. 1. And play a lot better to win games in the National Football League.”

Better tackling needed: Defensive captain Eric Weddle focused on his unit's obvious struggles tackling against the Dolphins.

The Chargers allowed eight plays of 15 or more yards by Miami’s offense.

“We need to tackle better,” Weddle said. “Even if you’re a smaller guy, take his legs and then he cannot really run. It was a tough loss, but we’ll bounce back.”

“It’s not good enough,” Chargers middle linebacker Donald Butler said when asked how his team played defensively. “We gave up too many big plays and missed tackles. And that’s a recipe for a loss, and that’s what we got.”

Locker Room Buzz: Oakland Raiders

November, 17, 2013
HOUSTON -- Observed in the locker room after the Oakland Raiders28-23 win over the Houston Texans.

A house of redemption? Two years ago, the Raiders' locker room was filled with tears after Oakland’s last-second win the day after Al Davis’ death. This time, it was the scene of a raucous celebration. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin was the last one in the locker room, and he was greeted with salutes, cheers and a game ball.

Holding court: McGloin had already spoken at the lectern in a side room, so who better to command the attention of the media than his former college teammate, center Stefen Wisniewski? Li’l Wiz waxed poetic about the former walk-on’s tenacity.

Oh we, oh we, oh: Rashad Jennings, fresh from his 80-yard touchdown run and career-high 150 rushing yards, rocked the suit of the year, a crushed velvet-esque purple (rain?) number. Or, as @SalSilva2 wondered, did he “raid morris day’s closet?”

What is bliss? Linebacker Kevin Burnett was the last one to conduct an interview and was expansive at times, unaware at others, like when he said he did not remember his key fourth-quarter tackle. Or when he did not know about the Al Davis game two years ago.