NFL@L.A.: 2011 Week 3 reaction

Rapid Reaction: Chargers 20, Chiefs 17

September, 25, 2011
SAN DIEGO -- A look at a game that was much closer in the end that it should have been.

What it means: The Chargers need to learn the create separation between themselves and their opponents. They dominated this game, but the Chiefs came back in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs had an opportunity to try to tie the score with a field goal in the final minute before San Diego safety Eric Weddle sealed it with an interception off a poor decision by Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. San Diego is now 2-1. The Chiefs fell to 0-3.

Tomorrow’s talker: There could be some hope for the Chiefs. They played much better in the second half offensively. The Chiefs didn’t convert a first down in the first half. It was the first time that has happened in the NFL since December 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Yet, Todd Haley’s team did not lay down Sunday. That has to be encouraging.

Trending: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown two interceptions in all three games this season. He has never thrown three interceptions in a game. His highest season interception total is 15. Rivers is playing well, but he has been far from perfect.

Mathews’ maturation: San Diego running back Ryan Mathews is a much better player in his second season than he was last year. He had 98 yards rushing and added 51 yards receiving. He is running with a lot of confidence.

What’s next: The Chargers host winless Miami on Sunday. Barring a meltdown, the Chargers should emerge from the first quarter of the season with a 3-1 record. That would help quiet the worry over slow starts under Norv Turner. The Chiefs go back home, looking for their first win when they host former star defensive end Jared Allen and the Minnesota Vikings. It will be the first time Allen has played against the Chiefs since they traded him in 2008.

Wrap-up: Raiders 34, Jets 24

September, 25, 2011
A look at a tremendous victory for the Raiders.

What it means: This was a monumental win for the Oakland organization. The Raiders accomplished much Sunday. First, they learned to finish a game. The Raiders gave up 35 points in the second half at Buffalo last week. Yet, this week, against a strong Jets’ team, the Raiders came back from a 17-7 deficit and took over the game. They had an impressive drive late in the game to seal the win. In the end, the Raiders, who were 2-8 outside the AFC West last year, showed they can beat a quality AFC opponent. If the Raiders are in the playoff conversation in December, this game will be looked upon as a catalyst.

Tomorrow’s talker: That was a very good defense Oakland just torched. The Raiders’ offense is playing great. It has scored 69 points in the past two games. Head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Al Saunders are doing a terrific job. It doesn’t hurt to have Darren McFadden. He had 170 yards on 19 carries, McFadden is a legitimate threat to win the NFL rushing title this season.

Trending: Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who tied the NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in Week 1, is getting better with age. In 13th NFL season, Janikowski is bombs away. He nailed field goals of 54 and 49 yards. To have that type of a consistent weapon is going to help this offense.

What’s next: The Raiders host New England, fresh off a frustrating loss at Buffalo. What are the odds of Tom Brady throwing four more interceptions next week?

Wrap-up: Ravens 37, Rams 7

September, 25, 2011
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' Week 3 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in the Edward Jones Dome:

What it means: The Rams are 0-3 and falling far short of reasonable expectations, even when taking into account significant injury issues. They are 0-2 at home and already two games behind in the NFC West race. Their late-season schedule is packed with division games, so there's no sense in writing off the Rams at this early stage. But there have been too few signs the Rams are close to getting things going. They are floundering. This was a big step backward for a team already heading in the wrong direction to open the season.

What I liked: Steven Jackson was active for the first time since suffering a quadriceps strain early in the season opener. Rookie first-round pick Robert Quinn had two quarterback hits, as did Chris Long. Long now has three sacks in three games. Sam Bradford found Brandon Gibson for a 34-yard scoring reception.

What I didn't like: The Rams looked like a lost cause on both sides of the ball. This was the third consecutive game a Rams' opponent has returned a Bradford fumble for a touchdown. The Rams' 32nd-ranked run defense continued giving up far too many yards, including runs of 53 and 28 yards. Their pass defense was worse, making Ravens rookie Torrey Smith look more like retired Rams legend Torry Holt. Smith's three first-quarter scoring receptions from Joe Flacco covered 74, 41 and 18 yards, blowing open the game. Smith had never caught a pass in the regular season before Sunday. He caught four passes for 20 yards during the preseason. Sure, the Rams have injury-related issues in their secondary. The occasional breakdown is going to happen. This performance was inexcusable.

Playing from behind: The Rams' offense has yet to take a snap this season while the team led its opponent on the scoreboard.

Disappearing Danario: Rams receiver Danario Alexander made big plays downfield against the New York Giants on Monday night. The Rams targeted him frequently in this game, with disappointing results.

What's next: The Rams face the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome in Week 3.



Philip Rivers
482 326 3639 27
B. Oliver 133 458 3.4 2
R. Mathews 74 330 4.5 3
K. Allen 77 783 10.2 4
M. Floyd 45 777 17.3 5