Friday, October 1, 2010
Final Word: AFC West
By Bill Williamson
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 4:
Kyle Orton is second in the NFL in passing yards and is on pace to set a single-season record.
AFC West arms race: Who says the AFC West is a poor division for quarterbacks? It’s no longer Philip Rivers and everybody else. Rivers has company -- Denver’s Kyle Orton. Don’t agree? Orton is right on Rivers’ heels in the race for the NFL lead in passing yards. Rivers has 1,087 passing yards and Orton has 1,078. Both players are on pace to set an NFL record for passing yards in a single season. It probably won’t get to that point, but Rivers and Orton are tossing the ball around. Rivers set a San Diego record with 455 passing yards last week in a loss at Seattle. In Denver's loss to Indianapolis, Orton threw for 476 yards, the second most in Broncos' history.
Stop the slop: The Chargers are not 1-2 because they are a bad team. They are 1-2 because they have been careless on the road. The result was another subpar September under coach Norv Turner. San Diego has to fix the sloppy play at home Sunday against Arizona. All San Diego has to do is play well fundamentally. San Diego has had nine turnovers and allowed three return scores in three games. If the Chargers clean up their act, they’ll easily beat the Cardinals.
Janikowski inspired for redemption: It was a tough week for Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski. On Sunday, he missed a 32-yard chip shot at the end of regulation in Oakland's 24-23 loss at Arizona. Janikowski, who missed three field goals Sunday, then had to deal with the death of mentor George Blanda on Monday. The legendary Oakland quarterback/kicker died at the age of 83. He and Janikowski had become close in the past 10 years after Janikowski was a first-round pick. On the day Blanda died, Janikowski said that he would love to redeem himself with a game-winning field goal against visiting Houston on Sunday.
Chasing the Chiefs: The Kansas City Chiefs have been the story of the AFC West through the first three weeks. They are one of three unbeaten teams in the league after amassing only 10 wins in the past three seasons. Every other team is 1-2 and two games behind Kansas City. The Chiefs have their bye this week and Denver, Oakland and San Diego are all trying to catch up. Regardless of this week's outcome, the Chiefs will still be in first place after their bye.
Catch the quarterback in Oakland: It could be a good day for the pass-rusher in Oakland on Sunday. Both the Raiders and Texans have had trouble protecting the quarterback. Oakland has given up nine quarterback sacks and 15 quarterback hits, while Houston has allowed 11 sacks and 17 quarterback hits. Expect pass-rushers on both sides to be licking their chops.