Part of this is scheduling: In the first three weeks of the season, San Fran had to host the Green Bay Packers, fly to Seattle to face one of the toughest tests in the modern NFL and then come back home to play a young Colts team trying to build on its surprising 2012 playoff run. That excuse only goes so far, however. San Fran needed a ref bailout to beat the Packers, then put up 10 points the next two weeks.
In those games, we’ve seen the first signs of struggle for 2012 sensation Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers QB has completed less than 50% of his passes during the short losing streak and has thrown zero touchdowns against four interceptions. San Francisco’s ferocious defense has been mostly toothless all season, particularly in stopping the run. That unit, which may not have All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith for the next few weeks, has allowed an average of 175 yards on the ground the past two weeks.
– Chris Hase, USA TODAY Sports
The A’s wrote this script without all the drama of the last one, but it’s turned out to be just as riveting, with potential for an even sweeter ending.
In anticipating the sequel to be longer than the 2012 original, the A’s know plenty of work remains to make that happen. For now, they pause. And celebrate.
On a cloudless Sunday afternoon at a roaring Coliseum, the A’s experienced the thrill of securing yet another American League West title in front of a home crowd, their second in a row and 16th overall. Only the Yankees (18) and Braves (17) have reeled in more division championships.
– Jane Lee, MLB.com
Still, even with the most recent of these games coming only two years ago, it all seems like ancient history, with the Broncos having won three straight in the series by an average score of 34-14.
And on Monday, the folks in Vegas are predicting another blowout with the 2-0 Broncos, Manning and the league’s highest-scoring offense favored by 14.5 points over the 1-1 Raiders, QB Terrelle Pryor and his three career starts. It’s the most points the Broncos have been favored by in the 53-year history of the series.
Evenly-matched teams? Meaningful games? Close games? Heated rivalry?
Nope, nope, nope and . . . Not. Any. Longer.
– Ken Pomponio, Yahoo! Sports