AFC West: 2013 Week 9 Upon Further Review AFC

Upon Further Review: Raiders Week 9

November, 4, 2013
An examination of four hot issues from the Oakland Raiders49-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:

[+] EnlargeD.J. Hayden
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesRaiders cornerback D.J. Hayden was burned repeatedly by Eagles receivers Sunday.
Right where they wanted ’em: The Raiders had just scored to get within 21-10 in the second quarter and their defense had the Eagles in a third-and-16 at their own 14-yard line. A defensive stop would surely shift momentum to the Raiders. Except ... Oakland rushed only three players, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had plenty of time to look downfield and DeSean Jackson found a soft spot in the zone, camped out and caught Foles’ pass for a 17-yard gain and a first down. Five plays later, the Eagles scored on the fourth of Foles’ record-tying seven touchdown passes, a 15-yard toss to Zach Ertz, and the rout was on. “That’s just unacceptable for this defense,” free safety Charles Woodson said. “That’s a chance to give yourself momentum and we came out and played fired up for the first couple of plays on that series, then, all of a sudden, they hit a third-and-16 and they keep the ball and continue to move down the field. That’s uncharacteristic of the way we’ve been playing throughout this season.”

Hayden’s baptism by fire: D.J. Hayden did his best Phillip Buchanon impersonation, and that was not a good thing. Hayden, the Raiders’ first-round draft pick, was torched, specifically by Jackson and Riley Cooper. On three specific catches, Hayden surrendered 139 yards, having come into the game with 20 catches surrendered on 34 targets for 247 yards. Hayden declined to comment at his locker. “He had a tough day,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Hayden. “He had a tough day, and D.J. wasn’t the only one that had a tough day. Obviously, when you play out there on the island and you have a tough day, those things stand out a little bit more. He’s a young player. He’s going to continue to work. He’s going to continue to get better and we still have confidence that he can go out and do the job.”

Watson debuts: Rookie Menelik Watson, who has been sidelined by calf and knee and issues, made his NFL debut in the second quarter, replacing the injured Matt McCants (foot) at right tackle. Was Watson nervous? “No, man, never nervous, never nervous,” he said. “They’re men out there, it’s not machines or aliens we’re playing against, it’s just men. I’m never nervous, whoever it is, it doesn’t matter to me.” The question, then, is if Watson takes over the starting gig at right tackle.

Of explosive plays VIII: And now for our weekly tracking of “explosive” plays. As deemed by Allen, such a play is one that gains at least 16 yards through the air or 12 yards on the ground. The Raiders had 11 such plays against Philadelphia, four runs, and seven passes, while the Eagles had 13 explosive plays, three runs and 10 passes (four of which went for touchdowns). In eight games, the Raiders have 60 explosive plays (21 runs, 39 passes), with two TD runs and four passing scores. Oakland’s opponents, meanwhile, have 59 explosive plays combined, 12 runs (one TD) and 47 passes (five TDs).

Upon Further Review: Chiefs Week 9

November, 4, 2013
An examination of four hot issues from the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-13 win over the Buffalo Bills:

Bye bye, Chiefs: Though there might seem to be a better time for the Chiefs to have their bye than while on a nine-game winning streak, nobody was arguing the timing. "This comes at a reasonable time," coach Andy Reid said. "The guys have been going for quite a bit of time with training camp and the nine games here. I don't think it's a bad time. I've got a mature bunch. I think they'll handle it the right way." The Chiefs have the normal collection of bumps and bruises but no significant injuries that need time to mend. But the break gives the Chiefs a chance to regroup before their Nov. 17 game for AFC West supremacy against the Broncos in Denver. "It's a chance to catch our breath a little bit," quarterback Alex Smith said.

Tying the record: The Chiefs allowed just 13 points against the Bills and haven't given up more than 17 points in any of their nine games this season. That equals the NFL record of nine consecutive games allowing no more than 17 points. It is held by the 1977 Atlanta Falcons. The Chiefs' quest for 10 straight figures to be challenged in its next game against the high-scoring Broncos.

Scoring on defense: The Chiefs won by getting only three field goals from their offense. Both touchdowns were scored by their defense. The Chiefs through nine games have seven touchdowns from their defense or special teams, or almost half of the 16 they've scored on offense. The Chiefs have more than a few things to figure out before playing against the high-scoring Broncos. Kansas City had a season-low 210 yards against Buffalo and failed to score a touchdown on its only trip inside the Buffalo 20. A strength early in the season, the Chiefs are now below 50 percent when it comes to scoring a touchdown after getting inside the red zone.

Breaking the Buffalo jinx: The Chiefs hadn't defeated the Bills in Buffalo since 1986, a streak that included two defeats in the playoffs and four in the regular season. The Chiefs have busted some other hexes this season. They traditionally play poorly in Florida but beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville in the season opener. Then last month the Chiefs won their annual meeting with the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since 2006.
LANDOVER, Md. -- An examination of four hot issues from the San Diego Chargers' 30-24 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.

Can Chargers get to 10 wins? Safety Eric Weddle believes it will take 10 wins to get into the playoffs this season. With the Chargers at 4-4, that means San Diego would have to finish 6-2. The Chargers have not made the playoffs since 2009. If the playoffs were to begin today, San Diego would be on the outside looking in. The Chargers still have five of their last eight games against AFC West opponents, beginning on Sunday against Denver. “Basically we’ve got to get to 10 wins,” said Weddle, who led San Diego with 14 tackles on Sunday. “However that shakes out, that’s the way I think about it. To make things happen and get to where we want to get, we have to get to 10 wins.”

[+] EnlargeKeenan Allen
AP Photo/Alex BrandonKeenan Allen hauled in eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss.
The streak is over: Defensive coordinator John Pagano’s unit held teams out of the end zone for 12 straight quarters. Then the floodgates opened, and San Diego gave up four touchdowns against Washington, all scores on the ground. The Chargers were concerned with Washington’s ability to create big plays, and for good reason. The Redskins finished with eight plays of 20 or more yards against San Diego’s defense. Defensively, the Chargers struggled against the Redskins, and even benched their top cornerback (Derek Cox) in the second half. And it doesn’t get any easier, with Denver’s high-powered offense led by Peyton Manning coming to town on Sunday.

Up-and-down day for Allen: Let’s start with the good: Keenan Allen finished with eight receptions for a team-high 128 yards, including a 16-yard catch for a touchdown. Now the bad: Allen also showed he’s still a rookie, dropping an easy catch for a first down that would have continued a critical drive late in the game, and allowing childhood friend David Amerson to undercut him on an in route for an interception.

“He gave us a chance to be in the game,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “I know those are two mistakes he would like to have back. It was by no means a perfect ball on the one that was intercepted. He can help on that there, and I’m not going to point the finger at him. He’s giving us a chance and doing a heck of a job. He had a good game.”

Offense sputters: Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Chargers had been one of the best teams in the NFL on third down. But San Diego had trouble in that area against Washington, finishing 3-of-9 (33 percent). And the Chargers’ struggles inside the red zone continued, as they failed to score a touchdown with three chances from a yard out to win the game, settling for a field goal to force overtime. Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt need to develop a more reliable goal-line package so San Diego can put teams away late. And it should include the team’s best running back, Ryan Mathews. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chargers have scored on 2 of 11 snaps from the 1-yard line this season (18 percent), less than half of the league average in those situations entering Week 9 (49 percent).