Heading into Week 1 of the NFL regular season you never know how it’s going to play out, and a lot happened in the AFC West this past week.
For months, all we’ve heard about in Kansas City is the hype surrounding their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes II. The former Texas Tech Red Raider started in the final game of 2017 – his first career start – defeating the Denver Broncos 27-24. In his second career start, Mahomes faced another division rival, and the results were once again in his favor.
Around the division there were a handful of impressive performances from the next generation of players. It’s time to break down the first week of action from the AFC West; let’s get to it.
Making his Broncos debut, Case Keenum delivered against the Seattle Seahawks, leading the Orange Crush to a 27-24 victory. It wasn’t the most glamorous performance, however, as Keenum threw three interceptions, but he remedied that by throwing for 329 yards with three touchdowns. While the main storyline entering the game surrounded Keenum, postgame it was all about rookie running backs Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay. The two both rushed 15 times for 71 yards, but Lindsay proved to be a factor in the receiving game as well by adding 31 yards and one touchdown.
It appears as though the Broncos have a two-headed backfield brewing, and the Raiders will be tasked with stopping it this Sunday. The division rivals will kickoff at 1:25 p.m. PDT at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
Kansas City Chiefs
Last week, Raiders running back DeAndré Washington warned me that his former college teammate Patrick Mahomes would be the real deal, and after his performance against the Los Angeles Chargers Week 1 it’s hard to dispute that claim. The soon-to-be 23 year old will naturally experience some growing pains like any young player in the league, and he won’t be perfect every time he takes the field, but his 256 passing yards and four passing touchdowns were hard to ignore this week.
He’ll face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, who are still without one of their best playmakers in Le’Veon Bell.
Los Angeles Chargers
Proclaimed as the favorites to win the AFC West at the start of the season by NFL analysts, the Bolts were losing to the Chiefs 31-12 at the end of the third quarter. Without star defensive end Joey Bosa, the Chargers aggressive pass rush only tallied one sack, which came courtesy of the team’s 2018 first-round pick Derwin James. The rookie safety out of Florida State had a productive game, registering three tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and one quarterback hit. The team was eventually felled by the Chiefs 38-28, but they’ll have an opportunity to rebound in Week 2 against a hapless Buffalo Bills squad on the road.