The Raiders' dominating performance on Thursday night against the Chargers put them a half-game ahead of Kansas City for first place in the AFC West. The Raiders just needed Tim Tebow and the Broncos to defeat Kansas City on the road in order to take a one game lead and full ownership of the division. The Broncos obliged, physically pummeling the Chiefs all day long with a grueling rush attack.
The Broncos had great success rushing the ball despite the fact that their two top running backs left the game with injuries. Lance Ball, the third-string running back, entered the game and rushed 30 times for 96 yards. Tim Tebow added 43 yards on 9 rushes, including a TD scamper early in the first quarter. Tebow did not complete a pass in the first half and only completed two of eight passes on the day, but one of his completions was a beautiful 56-yard touchdown strike to Eric Decker that put Denver up by 10 points in the fourth quarter. Kansas City scored a garbage time field goal, but did not recover the onside kick and the Broncos knelt for the victory.
The very presence of Tebow seemed to put the Chiefs off-balance. Even though he only passed eight times, the Chiefs were never able to sell out against the rush and were continually gashed by it, giving up 244 yards on the ground.
The Raiders have a long week to prepare for Minnesota, who will be facing the Packers on Monday night. With a good showing in that game, the Raiders may be able to gain some separation in the division. They clearly appear to be the best team in the division at this time, but they still have the entire NFC North to play as well as two more divisional games in the final two weeks of the season. The Raiders will need all the separation they can get if they want to make the playoffs.