The 2012 season was good for one AFC West team, but for the other three it was bad, and at times really ugly. So, for the final week of the 2012 season, let’s go through the good, the bad, and the ugly:
Good – Peyton Manning put the finishing touches on an MVP campaign Sunday against the Chiefs, completing 23 of 39 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns – all in barely three quarters of work. Manning was sharp throughout day and looks to be clicking with his receivers heading into the playoffs after 16 games together.
Bad – It was the Broncos’ worst nightmare come true early in the game when Knowshon Moreno fumbled the ball, his first since being re-inserted into the lineup midseason. Moreno had all sorts of problems with fumbles during the first few years of his career and the Broncos can’t afford for him to have a return to those problems heading into the playoffs. It’s one of few concerns Denver actually has as they look into the postseason.
Ugly – There was nothing ugly about Denver’s game on Sunday except their competition. The Broncos proved why they are perhaps the most well rounded team in the NFL. They are balanced on both offense and defense and are clicking on all cylinders. Now that they have the first seed in the AFC locked up they should be considered the top favorite to get to the Super Bowl.
Good – Well, if nothing else, at least the season is over. For the Chiefs is a good thing. It is been a tumultuous season for Kansas City and their fan base, but there will likely be a new head coach and a new general manager in Kansas City next season, so there is some hope of a new start coming for the Chiefs.
Bad – Like they have for much of the season, the Chiefs lacked any competitive spirit on Sunday. Once the Broncos got a comfortable lead, the Chiefs appeared to roll over and let them tack on to it, which is understandable, but it would have been nice if Kansas City could have put in a professional effort on the final day of the season.
Ugly – What was a good pass defense for most of the season got picked apart by Manning on Sunday. The Chiefs had no pass rush to speak of, which allowed Manning to do anything he wanted to do. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker had seven catches each, and combined for three touchdowns.
Good – In his first career start, Terrelle Pryor figured things out in the 4th quarter and led the Raiders on a comeback that just fell short. Pryor ran for a touchdown and threw another touchdown in late-game rally that brought Oakland to within a field goal. For the game, Pryor was an unimpressive 13 of 28 for 150 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, in addition to nine rushes for 49 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t a great performance, but it gives the Raiders something to think during the offseason.
Bad – The Raiders put themselves behind the eight ball early when they allowed San Diego’s Michael Spurlock to take the game’s opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Oakland would eventually fall behind 10-0 and trail by as many as 17. If not for spotting the Chargers seven point the Raiders may have been able to come all the way back to win the game.
Ugly – Early on Oakland running back Mike Goodson was involved in a fight with San Diego linebacker Takeo Spikes. As a result, both players were ejected from the game, in one of the ugliest incidents in the NFL all year. The frustration for both players is understandable, but there’s no excuse for fighting, getting ejecting, and hurting your team the way both players did.
Good – In a season in which San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers took a lot of steps backwards, at least he was able to end the season with a solid performance. Rivers only attempted 17 passes, but he was efficient, completing 13 of them for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Rivers also helped the Chargers play turnover-free football against the Raiders, and that went a long way towards securing the win.
Bad – After 11 sacks last week against the Jets, the Chargers failed to get even one this week against a mediocre Oakland offensive line. They managed a few tackles for loss, but had just one hit on the quarterback, as this was not the same ferocious San Diego front seven that we’ve seen for much of the year.
Ugly – One more time, just for old time’s sake, let’s talk about how awful the San Diego running game was. Just 70 total yards and less than 2.5 yards per carry to wrap up the season. Ronnie Brown and Curtis Brinkley had a few nice carries, but as a whole the Chargers could not get their ground game going in this game, nor could they get it going at all this season.