The games finally matter, and we can now actually see on the field just how good (or bad) the offseason was for the rest of the AFC West.
Los Angeles Chargers
As we expected, the Chargers do not miss holdout running back Melvin Gordon. Austin Ekeler had 154 total yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. He was everything Gordon is on the field, minus the headache that Gordon has become off it. Gordon will likely continue his holdout to save a little face, but his camp knows that they have zero leverage going forward.
The Chargers do, however, miss left tackle Russell Okung very much. His replacement, Trent Scott, gave up a pair of sacks – including a fumble – and for the day Philip Rivers was taken down four times. Considering they face Von Miller twice, Frank Clark twice, and they have a date in Chicago against Khalil Mack, a Philip Rivers whine warning has already been issued.
I don’t know about worst player in the league. That feels kinda harsh. I mean, did Todd not see Steven Nelson play corner against the Patriots Sunday night?
On the day, the Chargers won. But being up by 15 at home against Jacoby Brissett, then having to go to overtime and only winning because a future Hall of Fame kicker missed two field goals and an extra point is not exactly a foundation to build a season on. They say it’s better to be lucky than good, which worked well out for the Chargers, because many parts of their game on Sunday were not good at all.
Up next: Chargers at Lions.
The Raiders are ready to turn the page on the Antonio Brown era. Raider fans, on the other hand, aren’t quite ready.
This fan totally looks like the guy who feels jilted, tells all his friends that in fact he was the one who broke up with her, and can then be seen cruising by her house late at night to see if there are any other cars in the driveway.
“No, dude. Antonio didn’t ask about you. He’s moved on. He wants you to move on too. And stop calling and hanging up when he answers. He has caller ID, knows it’s you, and it’s creeping him out.”
As for the football, the Raiders proved that at least for one week their offense can survive just fine without AB. Tackle Kolton Miller was not at all terrible. New wide receiver Tyrell Williams justified his free agent contract this offseason, catching six balls for 105 yards and a touchdown. And rookie Josh Jacobs – the first running back taken in this year’s draft – looked more than worthy of that status with over 100 yards in total offense and a pair of touchdowns. He ran hard and tough the entire game, and while I still don’t think you need to use a 1st round pick on a running back, he doesn’t appear to be a wasted draft pick either.
A lot will also be said of Derek Carr’s 22-for-26 performance. Yes, he had some good balls, but he wasn’t taken down a single time in the game. When an offensive line keeps its quarterback that clean, completing passes is what they’re paid to do.
Up next: Raiders host Chiefs.
And speaking of Carr’s stain free uniform, what in the hell happened to this Broncos pass rush we heard so much about? Vic Fangio is a defensive genius. Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Chris Harris lead one of the most talented defenses in football. But Monday night they were absolute garbage. I watched every snap of the game and I don’t remember seeing or hearing Miller’s name even once.
We knew the Broncos offense was a dumpster fire. There’s a reason Joe Flacco lost his job in Baltimore. It wasn’t a preseason anomaly that had him only leading drives that ended in punts, turnovers, or field goals. They are terrible, and if you didn’t already know that offensive coordinator Rich Scangerello was calling plays at the NFL level for the very first time, you sure do now. His very first play-call of the season was a tight end reverse, and it only got worse from there.
And remember, the Raiders defense was abysmal last season and is expected to be only slightly improved this year. So what happens to this Broncos offense next week when they face the Bears defense on 10 days rest?
The Broncos have been shuffling blame for their mediocrity through a series of coaches and quarterbacks over the last few years. At some point – maybe even this year – the lion’s share of that blame has to fall on John Elway.
Up next: Broncos host Bears.