The last week of the regular season saw the Chargers knock off the Chiefs in dramatic fashion to clinch the final wild card spot. Novak’s 36 yard field goal with 5 minutes to go in overtime gave San Diego the 27-24 victory. The Broncos also routed the Raiders 34-14, in a contest that was over well before halftime.
Denver: First Half
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Denver’s starters embarrassed the Raiders in Oakland in the first half. Manning capped off his record setting regular season with 4 touchdown passes, and broke Drew Brees’ record for the most passing yards in a season, finishing 2013 with 5,476. Demariyus Thomas caught a pair of touchdown passes, the defense was stout, and with home field advantage on the line Denver’s 31-0 lead at halftime allowed the Broncos to rest most of their starters in the second half.
Kansas City: Competing
The Chiefs rested 20 of their 22 starters for Sunday’s contest, and still were only a missed field goal away from knocking off a playoff team with everything to play for. This shows impressive depth for the Chiefs, and their backups should have a newfound confidence going into the postseason.
Well, the Raiders did a great job of securing a top 5 draft pick. Their four game losing streak to end the season was an embarrassment. Oakland has a solid roster, and they didn’t even come out and compete with Denver at home. They could have tried to bring some pride into the offseason by ruining the Broncos home field advantage. Instead, the entire team looked like they had already gone fishing after the opening kickoff.
San Diego: Philip Rivers
In a big game, Philip Rivers rose to the challenge once again. The Chargers quarterback finished with 3 touchdown passes while racking up 229 yards and only one interception. He was sharp in leading a fourth quarter drive that set up the chip shot game-tying field goal in regulation, and again when his offense set up the game-winner in overtime. Rivers is on a roll right now, and will need to keep this precision to knock off the Bengals next week.
Denver: Punt Team
Britton Colquitt’s punt being blocked is a lone black mark on an otherwise sterling day for the Broncos. I’m on record as saying that having a punt blocked is inexcusable at any level, and in the NFL it is egregious. Denver will have to clean this area up as they head into the playoffs.
Kansas City: Special Teams
The Chiefs could have won this contest in regulation if Ryan Succop had not missed a 41 yard field goal attempt with 4 seconds to play in regulation. While there was controversy about San Diego’s potentially illegal formation on the play, Succop’s kick wasn’t effected by it, he just pushed it wide right. Then in overtime on San Diego’s game-winning drive, the Chiefs allowed Eric Weddle to convert a fake punt on a 4th and 2 for a first down.
The Raiders first 30 minutes of football was as bad as I’ve seen all year; just a terrible performance from Oakland.
San Diego: Needing Overtime
Everyone’s fired up about San Diego sneaking into the playoffs, but nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room: they should have lost to a Chiefs team that rested EVERYBODY. The fact that this game wasn’t a blowout is bad for the Chargers, and they’ll need to play much better next week if they want any chance of knocking off the starters from Cincinnati.
Denver: Will Manning actually be able to translate ridiculous regular season statistics into postseason success this year?
Kansas City: Can the Chiefs beat a Colts team in Indianapolis that smacked them at home two weeks ago?
Oakland: Does anybody in this organization even care about winning?
San Diego: Will the Chargers be able to put up points against one of the league’s best defenses on the road?