Week 13 saw the Broncos take the outright lead in the West with a 35-28 victory in Arrowhead against the Chiefs. The Raiders fell to the Cowboys 31-24, and the Chargers lost to the Bengals 17-10 in San Diego.
Denver: Eric Decker
Decker was a beast in the rematch in Kansas City, catching eight balls for a career-high 174 yards. He hauled in four Peyton Manning touchdown passes, and dominated the Chiefs secondary. Three of the touchdowns were in the second half, and proved crucial in Denver’s stretch of 28 consecutive points after falling behind 21-7 early.
Kansas City: Alex Smith
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Sunday afternoon was Smith’s best game as a Chief, and he matched Manning blow for blow on the field. Smith threw for 293 yards and 2 touchdowns despite an atrocious afternoon from his wide receivers. The Chiefs wideouts dropped at least 5 balls in the fourth quarter alone, and Smith could have easily been over 400 yards if they’d done their job. After one early mistake, he was sharp all afternoon.
Oakland: Nick Roach
For a second straight week Roach was a force for the Raiders on defense. The middle-linebacker racked up 10 individual tackles on Thanksgiving, and assisted on another. He also sacked Tony Romo twice, and forced his second fumble in two games.
San Diego: Eric Weddle
The seventh year safety helped to keep the Bengals passing game at bay, as Andy Dalton only completed 14 passes in San Diego. Weddle picked off Dalton in the second quarter and returned it into Bengals territory, but his anemic offense couldn’t turn it into points. Weddle also recovered a fumble and recorded six tackles in the afternoon, adding to his solid all around game.
Denver: Knowshon Moreno on the Ground
A week after running for a career high 224 yards in New England, Moreno was a ghost against the Chiefs. The running back out of Georgia only managed 18 yards on 15 carries, which totaled a whopping 1.2 yards per carry. Compare this to his backup Monte Ball who managed 117 yards on only 13 touches. While he did catch a touchdown pass, his running performance was one of his worst in his 5 year NFL career.
Kansas City: Marcus Cooper
Manning made this undrafted rookie look like an undrafted rookie on Sunday afternoon. The after throwing an early interception to him, the veteran signal caller bullied Cooper for the duration of the afternoon, and he could not keep up with the Broncos receiving corps. Often times he was matched up with Eric Decker on the outside without safety help over the top and Decker’s stats tell the story.
Oakland: Matt McGloin
The rookie quarterback was not impressive against one of the league’s worst defenses. He only completed 18 passes, and did not reach the endzone once through the air. He also threw an interception to Brandon Carr, and didn’t make enough plays to win the game. The Raiders 24 point total is deceptive, as one of their scores was a fumble return on the opening kickoff that Oakland special teamer Greg Jenkins returned for a touchdown.
Chargers: Converting in Opponents’ Territory
The San Diego Chargers offense had 7 trips into Bengals territory on Sunday, and only managed to score 10 points. Let me repeat that, the Chargers could only muster 10 points on 7 possessions in opponents territory. Nick Novak didn’t miss a field goal. The offense just turned either turned the ball over or punted five times different times after they crossed midfield. There’s bad, and then there’s bad.
Kansas City: Wide receiver drops leading to the Chiefs dropping their third straight loss.
Denver: Failing to close the Chiefs out in the fourth quarter.
Oakland: Falling out of contention in the Wild Card race.
San Diego: Don’t even get me started on the Chargers offense.