Not all weeks are perfect, as we know. But that doesn’t make all weeks completely terrible either, as the Chiefs’ biggest threat in the division stubbed its toe as well.
Los Angeles Chargers
A conversation about the complete lack of clutch play from Philip Rivers is long overdue. With all the hype that surrounds this team each year, it’s Rivers’ constant presence that provides much of that fuel. But here is a serious question. Why?
Rivers’ overall resume is pretty meh. His postseason performances are largely mediocre. And the games he’s lost this year have been down right pedestrian. In the loss at Detroit he threw the game-clinching interception in the end zone on a pass into double coverage. And in Sunday’s loss at home against the Broncos he threw a pair of interceptions and managed just 4.4 yards per pass – his lowest output since 2007.
Rivers is always trying to lead a 4th quarter comeback because there are always huge stretches of a game where he does absolutely nothing, putting his team behind. Shut out in the entire second half by the Lions. Against the Texans the Chargers scored just 3 points in the second half. Against the Broncos the Chargers didn’t score until a punt return at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Chargers’ offense managed just two field goals for the game and have now lost at home against the Broncos for the second straight year and seven of the last nine years. Yikes, that’s not good.
The Chargers are not, and never should have been favorites to win the AFC. They are 2-3, and with two games to come against the Chiefs and the Bears, Vikings, Packers, and Jaguars all still on the schedule, this team may miss the playoffs entirely.
I wouldn’t hate it.
Yes, they are beat up. Injuries have ravaged that defense. But Rivers has his full compliment of wide receivers and they just got Melvin Gordon back, and that offense still just isn’t very good.
Rivers does a nice job of screaming at his teammates, making it always seem like it’s someone else’s fault. But in truth, this disappointing Chargers season, in a long line of disappointing Chargers seasons, is on him.
Up next: Chargers host Steelers.
The Chargers’ pain is the Denver Broncos’ pleasure, as they finally got off the schneid (my favorite of all the Yiddish sports phrases) and broke into the win column.
Heading into Sunday the rumor coming out of Denver was that a fire sale was imminent, with Chris Harris and Von Miller as possible candidates to change teams. The Broncos now say Miller isn’t going anywhere – and the fans would no doubt revolt. But the community’s connection to Harris and others isn’t nearly as strong.
Of course the Chiefs are connected to any cornerback that may be on the market, but there is zero chance that will happen. Zero. Just stop it.
As of the writing of this, the Eagles, Saints, and Ravens are being talked about as possible landing spots for Harris. He’s 30, which means he’s cheaper, and he’s a free agent after this year, so he doesn’t come with a cumbersome contract. He also hasn’t quit on his team like Jalen Ramsey has.
On the field for the Broncos Phillip Lindsay continues to be a steal, with 147 yards from scrimmage at the Chargers. Courtland Sutton had 92 yards and a touchdown. The assumption is that Bradley Chubb will return next season from his torn ACL without any complications. And Noah Fant is a physical beast, if he can get the rest of his game in order. But other than that there simply aren’t very many young good players on this team. An overhaul is coming, and it’s coming soon.
The NFL trade deadline is October 29 and John Elway’s phone will be ringing.
Up Next: Broncos host Titans.
My favorite part of the Chiefs’ win at Oakland was how the Raiders looked good in the first quarter, and then got cocky. Thanks to an overrated Bears team and the unpredictability of games played in England, we’re now getting four quarters’ worth of cockiness.
I mean, sure. Good win. You’re definitely not as bad as the Broncos. But coming up after your bye week are the Packers, Texans, Lions, and Chargers. Win three of those games and you’re definitely playoff contenders. Lose three, however, and you’re still the Raiders. (Go 2-2 and I just shrug.)
Rookie Josh Jacobs continues to run like a top back, rushing for 123 and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with less than two minutes to go. A comeback that was precipitated by the Raiders blowing a 17-point lead (it’s worth pointing out). And a comeback fueled by a couple of bad decisions by old friend Chase Daniel, getting the start for the injured Mitch Trubisky.
The Raiders feel good, and they have the right to. Flying 6,000 miles and getting your hat handed to you is a far worse fate. Ultimately, however, this team will only go as far as Derek Carr takes them, and that ceiling remains fairly low. Almost as low as the level of class these players demonstrate.
Last week it was chronic offender Vontaze Burfict getting his full-season suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit. This week it was league misanthrope Richie Incognito showing off his winning personality.
Incognito is just off his own suspension and the league will no doubt take an extra long look at this.
Up next: Bye week.