AFC West: audibles 10
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 ET
This is what happens after you gain 77 yards of offense and three first downs in a 24-0 home defeat. This is what happens after you lose three games by a total of 87-13 under your interim head coach.
People wonder if firing the head coach really was the right idea. After weeks of intense speculation, Raiders owner Al Davis fired coach Lane Kiffin on Sept. 30. The Raiders had a 1-3 record, but the team was playing hard and competing under Kiffin.
Kiffin was replaced by offensive line coach Tom Cable. The Raiders aren't playing as hard.
They have the same 1-3 record under Cable as they did under Kiffin. But the Raiders haven't competed in the games they lost. They have been embarrassed. The team is going backward.
Was Oakland better off with Kiffin? This is the type of question that is asked when disasters happen.
There is a new air of enthusiasm around the San Diego Chargers as they emerge from their bye week. For a preseason Super Bowl contender that floundered to a 3-5 record in the first half of the season, there is renewed hope.
And it's in the form of Rivera. All eyes will be on his defense when the Chiefs visit. The Chargers shook their foundation early in the bye week by firing defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. Rivera, the team's inside linebacker coach and former defensive coordinator in Chicago, is now in charge of the defense.
Under Rivera, the Chargers promise to be more aggressive than they were under Cottrell. The Chargers haven't had an interception or a sack in their last nine quarters. San Diego also is ranked last in the NFL in pass defense.
There is too much talent on this defense for the follies to continue. The Chargers' offense is playing well enough to win. The team's Super Bowl run is being halted by the defense.
If San Diego makes it to the playoffs, it will be because Rivera turns around the defense.
Posted by ESPN .com's Bill Williamson
Jay Cutler did not hesitate in his postgame news conference Sunday when he was asked what was wrong with the Broncos' once high-octane offense
Turnovers, Cutler said. Simple as that, the Broncos' quarterback concluded.
And that's all he needed to say. The Broncos, who have lost four of their last five games, are destroying themselves on offense. They have 15 turnovers -- 11 in the first half -- in their four defeats.
Cutler threw three interceptions in Denver's home loss to Miami on Sunday. In Denver's first three games -- all wins -- it scored 114 points because turnovers weren't an issue. In the past five games, they have scored 76 points.
If Denver is going to improve its record to 5-4, turnovers need to be a thing of the past. It's as simple as that.