Around The AFC West – 12/19

Tim Tebow (right) made his debut as a starting quarterback on Sunday in Oakland.

What a tough place for any young quarterback to get an initial start – in the Black Hole against an improved Raiders team.

So that’s why Tebow walked out a loser with the rest of the Denver Broncos, falling 39-23 to the silver and black. That’s nine losses in the last 10 games for the Broncos.

But the Raiders are hanging in there in the post-season picture after the victory over Denver.

The Chiefs are 9-5, with the Chargers 8-6 and the Raiders 7-7. Only the Chiefs can win it outright with two victories in their final two games. The Chargers and Raiders would both need help.

Here’s how their schedules come down in the last two weeks:

  • Chiefs – host Tennessee, host Oakland.
  • Chargers – at Cincinnati, at Denver.
  • Raiders – host Indianapolis, at Chiefs.

Raiders 39, Broncos 23 @ Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The score was tied at 17-17 when the Broncos and Raiders went to the locker room at half-time.

Apparently, Oakland coach Tom Cable very quickly made his displeasure known.

“That’s the most animated I’ve ever seen him,” said DT Tommy Kelly. “From the time we came in here pretty much until we left, nobody really talked except Cabes.”

Oakland had given up two long TDs to Denver QB Tim Tebow, making his first NFL start. Plus, a Raiders penalty had taken a touchdown off the board. Too many mistakes were threatening the fragile string that keeps alive the silver and black’s hopes for the playoffs.

They came out in the second half and produced some big plays of their own. QB Jason Campbell connected on a 73-yard pass play to FB Marcel Reece and rookie WR Jacoby Ford had a 71-yard run. RB Darren McFadden was running for 119 yards and the Raiders walked away with a division victory.

“I wish we were in a better position, but to still be in the fight, still be in the hunt, we’ve grown a long ways,” Campbell said. “What we have to do is control what’s in front of us from here out.”

San Diego enjoys a weekend of rest

With their victory this week in the bag from last Thursday night against San Francisco, the Chargers used the weekend to rest up and they hope, get healthy for the stretch.

It starts with TE Antonio Gates. His injured right foot may keep him out until the playoffs, if San Diego can get there. Still, he’s not been ruled out at any point in the final two games.

“I’m hoping for Gates in Cincinnati,” head coach Norv Turner said, referring to the Chargers’ next game. “I know it’s hard for him because he’s the guy who has to go play. I think he’s getting better. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for Cincinnati, but if he is we need him.”

The Chargers head coach was also hopeful that injured WR Malcom Floyd and LB Larry English will return for the game against the Bengals; both aggravating injuries against Kansas City. Turner said he “wouldn’t count on” WR Patrick Crayton playing in Cincinnati, but there is a possibility. Crayton has not played since injuring his wrist Nov. 22 against Denver. There is also an outside chance RG Louis Vasquez, out the past three games with a neck injury, will return for the Bengals game.

“We have a lot of guys that have nicks and are banged up and (have) little things they’re playing with,” Turner said. “You hope the extra days rest will help that.”

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