Without several players on the field, and Maurice Clarett not even making the trip, the Broncos were able to score ten fourth quarter points for a three-point win over the Texans. Each of the quarterbacks played well as it seems Jake Plummer may be feeling some pressure form his back-ups.
Plummer went 6 for 10 with 76 yards and a score. Rookie Bradlee Van Pelt went 10 for 17 for 107 yards and a 40-yard run going for 45-yards on three rushes. His efforts led the Broncos to two scoring drives. Second year player Matt Mauck may have been involved in the best play of the week as he connected with rookie Todd Devoe on a slant for a 96-yard touchdown capping a 99-yard drive.
Ron Dayne carried the ball well for Denver rushing for 56-yards on 11 carries, numbers that remind Mike Shanahan of the running back's Heisman trophy days. Quentin Griffin and Tatum Bell sat the game out as they look to heal themselves. Also sitting out were Champ Bailey, Gerard Warren, Matt Lepsis and Courtney Brown.
The Broncos defense held the Texans first string offense on four plays at the goal line keeping Houston out of the end zone. All in all it seemed to be a fairly successful trip for Denver and they will return to work on Monday at Dove Valley.
Oakland traveled across the bay to San Francisco to fall to the 49er's 21-13. The Raiders first-string defense continues to impress while they completely shut down the first pick overall in this years draft Alex Smith. Smith went 3 for 9 for 25-yards while getting to know Warren Sapp first hand. A rejuvenated Sapp looks to lead a defense that will make the Raiders a successful team if it continues to emerge, as it has done in training camp already.
LaMont Jordan didn't get the number of carries he thought he would as he rushed four times for 23-yards. Randy Moss oozed with confidence thinks the Raiders can move up and down the field at will. Kerry Collins hit Moss only once for eleven yards. Collins didn't throw any picks, but his back-ups did.
Marquees Tuiasosopo threw a pick that was returned 87-yards for a score by the 49ers Derrick Johnson. Rookie Andrew Walter threw two picks but also tossed a touchdown, passing for 131 yards. Tuiasosopo passed for 126-yards.
The Raiders shut out the 49ers in the first half and did not give up any points until the third quarter when they gave up all 21-points. On special teams Sebastian Janikowski went 2 for 3 in field goals and speedster Doug Gabriel returned a punt 36-yards.
The big news in San Diego has to be the mindset of kicker Nate Kaeding who has now missed his last four attempts, one of which was in overtime during a playoff game against the Jets. Kaeding missed all three in the game at Green Bay from 44, 45, and 46-yards away.
He then had to sit and watch Ryan Longwell drill one from 53-yards to put the Packers up 10-7 with 33 seconds left in the game under sloppy conditions. General Manager A. J. Smith says the team is standing by Kaeding and that his missed kicks are not a part of Kaeding's history and it would be "knee-jerk" for the Chargers to overreact right now.
Drew Brees did not play much but threw a pick in the opening drive of the game. He did have some nice scrambles and he left the door slightly open for Phillip Rivers who looked great. Rivers went 12 for 17 for 97-yards and a score when he connected with Willie Quinnie on a 34-yard pass. The drive went 72-yards in just 3:22, very quick striking to say the least.
Michael "The Burner" Turner rushed for 70-yards on eight rushes in what was a strong rushing effort. Turner heads straight up field and when he hits the sideline he doesn't run out, he cuts it back inside looking to initiate the contact with the secondary. Darren Sproles led the team in receiving, as he is a pest in the flats for opposing defenders.
The defense made a decent effort, but Brett Favre stole the show. The veteran quarterback looks like he can play five more years. Favre looks like he's in the best shape of his career and he hit Donald Driver on a rope in the end zone from 23-yards away.
The Chargers came out of the game with a couple of injuries. Defensive end DeQuincy Scott may miss a week or two with a thigh injury while Vincent Jackson has a sore Achilles, the same injury as Donnie Edwards.
This Saturday Oakland will play at Houston, the Broncos will host San Francisco, The Chiefs will play Arizona at Arrowhead and on Sunday St. Louis will travel to San Diego.
AFC West Report: Division Goes 1-3 in First Week
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