AFC West Report: Broncos and Chargers Lose

It appeared late in Sunday's games that both the Broncos and the Chargers were going to be able to pull out huge road wins. However, that was not the case as both teams lost while Oakland defeated Buffalo as the division race has tightened from top to bottom.

In a game where a ruthless Philadelphia Eagles defense held LaDainian Tomlinson in check all day limiting him to seven yards rushing, the San Diego Chargers were able to grab a late lead. In fact, it looked as if they were going to steal their fourth win of the year. When Marty Schottenheimer sent in Nate Kaeding into the game with the Chargers leading 17-13, it was apparent that the Chargers were going to tack on the three points. That would mean the Eagles would have to score a touchdown to tie the game.

Funny things happen though in the National Football League and as soon as the kick left Kaeding's foot Quintin Mikell got a hand on the ball and Matt Ware returned it 65-yards for the game-winning touchdown with 2:25 left in the game. Still the Chargers made a run. They quickly moved into field goal range. But the game turned when Chargers receiver Reche Caldwell was stripped of the ball by Sheldon Brown as Caldwell entered the red zone in the games waning seconds. The Eagles held on for the 20-17 win.

It's the fourth game that the Chargers have lost. Even further in those four defeats they've lost them by a combined 12 points. Drew Brees showed some moxy in the loss leading his team back from ten points down in the second half when the Eagles were dialed into stopping Tomlinson. Tomlinson only carried the ball 17 times and the Chargers are 0-4 when he does not carry it more than 20 times in a game. Brees finished up 23 for 40 for 299 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Terrell Owens caught his 100th touchdown of his career for the Eagles.

The Chargers are stuck with the stigma that they can't win the close games. They very easily could be undefeated at this point but instead they sit at 3-4 with the Chiefs coming into town on Sunday. A key game for both teams as they continue to try to chase down the Broncos.

The Denver Broncos had a big chance to stay a game and a half ahead of the Chiefs but they faltered late at the Meadowlands and the New York Giants won 24-23. The Broncos thought that they did everything right to win this game by following their game plan but they came up short.

Jake Plummer was mistake free once again passing for 194 yards and a touchdown. Mike Anderson had 120 yards rushing with a score and Tatum Bell added 60 more yards for an effective ground attack. Plummer was able to spread the ball to six different receivers. The offense and defense played strong for the first 55 minutes of that game but that all changed over the games final minutes.

It wasn't so much that the Broncos lost the game but it was more how Eli Manning won it for the Giants. New York was able to capitalize on a Jason Elam missed field goal keeping the game within a score late. The Giants were down 13 points but Tiki Barber cut the lead to six with 9:07 left to play.

Champ Bailey picked off Eli Manning with 4:56 left but after Denver took over but they went three and out. The Giants took over at their own 17-yard line and fifteen plays later they entered the end zone with just five ticks left on the clock. Manning connected with Amani Toomer for the game winning touchdown. It was Toomer that ended the Broncos 13-0 run in 1998 when Kent Graham hit him form 37 yards out to win 20-16.

With the loss, the Broncos let a firm control of the AFC West slip away. It won't get any easier next week when the NFC Champion Eagles come to Invesco Field next Sunday. With a loss at home and a Chiefs win the Broncos will lose the division lead before they enter their bye week. With a loss and Chargers win the Chiefs and Chargers will both trail the Broncos by a game or less. If that happens, the division will be officially up for grabs as all four teams including the Raiders will be in it.

The Oakland Raiders turned in a big performance at home against the Buffalo Bills winning 38-17. It seems that whenever Norv Turners job comes into question the Raiders come out with a big win. Now at 2-4 they are far from out of the chase.

Randy Moss was supposed to be on the sidelines for this game, but that never happened. Moss caught a touchdown early in the second quarter from Kerry Collins and not soon after did the Raiders win the game going away. Doug Gabriel also had a big game with 101 yards receiving.

But the biggest performance on the day came from the running game. LaMont Jordan continues to be the best free agent running back acquisition in the league. Jordan had 122 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns.

Willis McGahee had big words for the Raiders defense before the game on Sunday. However, the Raiders defense was the ones who backed it up. They held McGahee to 50 yards on the ground and the Bills offense to 210 total net yards.

Still the news was not all good for the Raiders as they lost a pair of defensive backs. Charles Woodson and Derrick Gibson are both out for the year. Woodson is out with a broken leg and Gibson with a dislocated wrist.

Despite all of the injuries at wide receiver, the Raiders offense appears to be clicking pretty well that is the good news. With a win next week at Tennessee, the Raiders will draw to within a win of .500, and still in the division chase. Top Stories