The Broncos defense keeps them atop the AFC West

Dec 2 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fan holds a sign in reference to the team clinching the AFC West following the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos and Chargers rematch finally came and went with a better result the second time around, at least for Broncos Country! It wasn’t pretty, at least offensively, but they got the job done.

With the win over the Chargers, Denver improves to 6-2 on the year and remains tied with the Raiders for first place in the AFC West.

Once again, the Broncos defense bailed out a lackluster performance from Trevor Siemian and the offense. Denver was without cornerback Aqib Talib and linebacker Brandon Marshall, but still came away with three interceptions, one of which was taken back for a Broncos touchdown, courtesy of Bradley Roby. DeMarcus Ware did return to the lineup for the first time since suffering a fractured forearm, and while his snaps were limited, his presence helped open room for the rest of Denver’s pass rushers. He commands attention, even if he is not playing at 100 percent.

Also not at 100 percent was defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. During the Bradley Roby pick-six, Wade went down after Chargers running back Melvin Gordon ran into him on the sideline — save the conspiracy theory tweets; there’s no way that was done on purpose. The defense continued to do their part with linebacker coach Reggie Herring calling the plays.

Denver did get the win, but there are plenty of things to work on as they prepare for the Raiders. First and foremost, if Joe Thomas or Joe Staley are available for trade, John Elway has to at least make the call. See what they are asking for, because this line is going to continue to struggle. If there is an opportunity to get better before Tuesday’s deadline, then they have to do it. It is tough to gauge quarterback play when the guys in front of him struggle week in and week out.

Another concern is the running game. Not so much Devontae Booker, but Kapri Bibbs, who now sits behind him as the No. 2 back with C.J. Anderson being placed on injured reserve. Bibbs was limited on Sunday, but in his limited reps he dropped a pitch from Trevor Siemian and missed his hole on the other carry he had. More reps will help, but not as much as an All-Pro tackle.

The defense is good — great, when they play the way they did against San Diego — but they cannot be relied upon to play at this level every single week. Denver has to improve on offense if they want to continue their chase for another division title.

As far as the Chargers go, the two teams have played twice in 17 days and will not see each other unless they meet again in the postseason, which was a laughable thought a few weeks ago, but the Chargers have shown that they are not out of the race just yet. Philip Rivers played pretty bad on Sunday, but he was also facing the league’s best defense. I expect the Chargers to continue to improve despite that god-awful visor their head coach rocks.

The Chiefs got a 30-14 victory over the Colts to improve to 5-2 on the year. They did so thanks to a couple of touchdown passes from backup quarterback Nick Foles after Alex Smith left the game with a concussion. The Chiefs have shown that they are getting better every week, but the Colts are not a great measuring stick, as they have proven to be terrible this season.

Last, we go to Oakland, where the Raiders won yet another road game. They are now 5-0 on the road and overcame 23 penalties, which set an NFL record. They were able to do so in large part because of Derek Carr, who was 40-59 for a franchise-record 513 yards. Oakland has shown that they are the real deal, even on a day where they do the wrong thing 23 times!

IT IS FINALLY HERE! I know Monday is used for recapping the win on Sunday, but screw that … let’s get going on RAIDER WEEK!

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