Another Killer Turnover Hurts Chiefs

From Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California

In the first two games this season, the game turning Chiefs turnover came early in first quarter. That was Dexter McCluster fumbling the opening kickoff against Buffalo and then Jon McGraw fumbling back his interception against Detroit.

Against the Chargers on Sunday, the turnover that decided the game came with just a few seconds left on the clock.

Until San Diego FS Eric Weddle grabbed QB Matt Cassel’s screen pass intended for McCluster with 55 seconds to play, the Chiefs had not turned the ball over all day. But this one snuffed out any chance available to tie or even win the game in the final moments.

“That’s obviously all on me,” Cassel said after the game. “I don’t have any words for that other than the fact that I’m hurting inside and I wish I could change it.”

What’s especially aggravating for Cassel is that he worked so hard in the week of preparation on not turning the ball over. With three interceptions and a fumble last week against Detroit, he knew it was imperative for him to not provide gifts for the opponent. Against the Chargers he coughed the ball up one time under pass rush pressure, but the Chiefs recovered that fumble. Then, came the interception at a time when the Chiefs were still in position to win the game.

“Coach (Greg) Manusky called in a blitz and it was me off the edge,” Weddle said of the play. “Number 22 was in the backfield so if he released or steps up it’s my guy. It’s just reading the route. I knew a screen was coming or something was up, if he’s not blocking or releasing. I got by the lineman (Ryan Lilja) and I don’t know if he was throwing it away or not.”

There was nothing about Weddle’s reaction that surprised head coach Todd Haley.

“They were doing what we thought they would do,” Haley said. “In critical situations, they’re going to bring pressure and they like to bring it off that weak side. We can see that on all the tapes. We had a little screen into it, which is a play we really like and have worked on. The ball just didn’t work out the way that we wanted it too.”

On the day, Cassel was 17 of 24 (70.8%) for 176 yards with a pair of TD passes and the interception. That was 7.3 yards per attempt and 10.4 yards per completion.

“You try to keep your head downfield and when I swung back around I thought I could get it in there to Dexter,” said Cassel. “Obviously it’s one that I would like to have back.

“As the quarterback of a team, it’s disappointing because you get an opportunity to be in a position that you always want to be in, the two-minute drill. You move the team down and we got some momentum with that first throw (20-yard completion to TE Leonard Pope) and then for it to end the way it did with that interception …”

2 Responses to “Another Killer Turnover Hurts Chiefs”

  • September 26, 2011  - Chiefs Play Good Enough To Win, But Lose 20-17 : says:

    [...] SIDEBAR: This week’s killer turnover. [...]

  • September 26, 2011  - leonard says:

    I am glad he blames himself. Well no kidding. Cassel has to be sat down. Stanzi could not do worse. 5 INT’s, 3 fumbles in 3 games. This is not a rookie. Hell he has started 3 years now for the Chiefs. It is inexcusable for a QB to throw that pass. The D played their hearts out. The offense in the first half did nothing, and the Bolts had 20 to 10 minute advantage in Time of possesion, and yet we were still in the game. What is with all the run calls. They score on long passes, and go back to running. WTF. What is up with succoup.
    The D should be angry at Cassel, and the coaches that refuse to sit him down. It may do some good.

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