Final Word: AFC West

October, 23, 2009
10/23/09
4:00
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 7:
AP Photo/Denis Poroy
LaDainian Tomlinson wasn't on the field for a key third-and-goal situation against the Broncos.
Can the Chiefs hold onto the ball this time? The last time San Diego visited Kansas City, the AFC West dominoes began to fall. It all started when the Chiefs couldn’t hold on to an onside-kick attempt late in the game. It would have sealed the win for the Chiefs. Instead, San Diego completed an unlikely Week 15 comeback. Had the Chiefs held on for the win, Denver would have clinched the division. Had that happened, Mike Shanahan wouldn’t have been fired. Jay Cutler wouldn’t have been traded. Josh McDaniels likely would have been the choice in Kansas City by new general manager Scott Pioli. Norv Turner likely would have been fired and the Chargers would be starting over instead of the Broncos. It’s truly amazing what kind of impact one bounce of the ball can have on a division.

The blitz has to continue in Oakland: The Raiders unleashed the blitz against Philadelphia and it greatly contributed to Oakland’s upset win. The Raiders completely caught the Eagles off guard using the blitz and they sacked Donovan McNabb six times. The Raiders have been reluctant to blitz. I’d expect Oakland to continue the blitz against the Jets for two reasons: It worked well Sunday and the Raiders are facing rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. He has struggled in recent games and blitzing him won’t make his life easier Sunday.

How will LT react? Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was clearly peeved when Turner took him out of the game against Denver on a third-and-goal play in favor of Darren Sproles. Sproles was stuffed on the play. Tomlinson’s close friend and former lead blocker Lorenzo Neal suggested on a San Diego radio show this week that Turner’s call could cause Tomlinson to recoil from the team. We’ll see where Tomlinson stands this weekend. If he plays hard against the Chiefs, we’ll know his focus is where it should be. Tomlinson is a class act and I expect him to keep his focus during this tough time.

Perhaps Dorsey can relax: Glenn Dorsey can rest easy knowing he will be with the Chiefs for at least the next 10 games. There had been rumors that Dorsey was close to being shipped out of Kansas City since before the draft. Now that the trade deadline has passed, Dorsey isn’t going anywhere. That should settle him down and allow him to just worry about getting better instead of worrying about whether he is going to be dealt. Dorsey is making strides and the No. 5 overall pick from 2008 is making plays. Expect a relaxed Dorsey to play well against San Diego.

When will Orton cash in? The Broncos aren’t playing this week, but how can we ignore the story of the division? When Cutler, whom Orton was traded for in April, received a contract extension with two more years to go on his deal this week, it got me wondering: Maybe Denver should address Orton. He is a free agent after this season. Orton is clearly a terrific fit for McDaniels’ offense. The two men will very likely want to work together beyond this season. Denver should spend the bye weekend drawing up a contract proposal for its MVP candidate.

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