NFL Wrap-Up: Week 11 West Divisions

Tebow is clutch,  Cutler breaks thumb.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

More drama than your favorite soap-opera this week. ‘Injuries galore’ could have been an alternate appropriate title for this weeks’ article. But first, the ‘Game of the Week’…


AFC West


Oakland Raiders 27
Minnesota Vikings 21

This game was mired by multiple injuries that included Darius Heyward-Bey and Adrian Peterson, forcing them to exit early, thus proving this was a brutal slugfest.

Carson Palmer was solid, completing 17 of 23 in the passing game, and although he had one costly fumble, running back Michael Bush was just as stellar, rushing for 109 yards.

The Raiders are in first place and the Vikings are 2-8 for the first time since the early 1960’s. It’s uncertain on the timetable of Adrian Peterson’s return until he is evaluated further on Monday. Until then, looks like Toby Gerhart might have to pick up some slack.

San Diego Chargers 20
Chicago Bears 31

Speaking of injuries. Say hello to Caleb Hanie. He’s the new starting quarterback for the Bears.

It wasn’t known until after the game that Jay Cutler broke his throwing thumb and is out for possibly the next 6-8 weeks. It’s reported that Cutler broke the thumb on a play in which he was attempting to prevent a touchdown on a 64-yard interception return by Antoine Cason in the 4th quarter.

Good news is the Bears won again, improving to 7-3. The Chargers continue their free-fall, and are now sitting at 4-6.

Chargers QB, Philip Rivers wasn’t too bad until the final quarter, where he threw two interceptions. For San Diego to start winning, Rivers needs to lead the charge (no pun intended).

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots – Monday Night Football, 8:30 EST


NFC West

Arizona Cardinals 7
San Francisco 49ers 23

The Niners forced 5 turnovers and are now sitting pretty at 9-1, winning 8 in a row. The earliest team to clinch a division was the ’85 Bears, and the Niners can now join that company.

The 49ers missed 3 field goals in this one, but it didn’t matter much in a muddy, rain filled stadium. And even after having a spark the past couple of games, the Cardinals couldn’t battle both the rain and the San Francisco pesky defense.

Cardinals quarterback, John Skelton had a QB rating of 10.5. Yeah. Not good. Beanie Wells rushed for only 33 yards and although he scored the only Arizona touchdown, Larry Fitzgerald only hauled in 41 yards in the air.

On the San Fran offense, Alex Smith looked solid, still, throwing for 267 yards in the rain, and showing some love to Michael Crabtree, who caught 7 passes for 120 yards.

Seattle Seahawks 24
St. Louis Rams 7

St. Louis simply cannot protect Sam Bradford. He’s been sacked more than anyone in the league and was thrown to the turf five times in this contest, giving up two fumbles.

While Seattle was also shutting down Steven Jackson on defense, who only rushed for 42 yards, they also provided some offensive sparks from Marshawn Lynch (88 yards rushing, TD) and Sidney Rice (35 yards receiving, TD).

Not a huge game either way. It’s two teams in the NFC West, and the bottom of the barrel at that.


Game of the Week
New York Jets 13
Denver Broncos 17  (Thursday Night)

Say Tim Tebow doesn’t have the arm. Say Tim Tebow doesn’t have the fundamentals. Say what you want. Whatever he is doing though, Tim Tebow is doing something right in Denver. The Broncos are now 4-1 this season under his leadership and he now has four second half comebacks in his eight NFL starts, including three in the past month.

No doubt this was a defensive contest, but the Jets let the game slip away in the final minutes when they allowed Tebow to run it six times for 58 yards and toss three passes on the final drive, only to run it in from 20 yards out himself to win the game.

Don’t look now, but the Broncos have won 3 straight. And even though both teams sit at 5-5, you would think the mood in New York is that of a trip to the E.R., in contrast of Denver’s jubilance.  Jets personnel seem to be getting impatient, and that includes the likes of quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was lethargic in this contest.


Offensive Player Of The Week

Vincent Jackson (WR) San Diego – 7 Rec, 165 Yards, 1 TD

Defensive Player Of The Week

Von Miller (LB) Oak – 9 Tackles, 1 Asst, 1.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 PD
Division Standings
AFC West
Oakland Raiders 6-4
Denver Broncos 5-5
Kansas City Chiefs 4-5
San Diego Chargers 4-6

NFC West
San Francisco 49ers 9-1
Seattle Seahawks 4-6
Arizona Cardinals 3-7
St. Louis Rams 2-8