Cassel’s Season Ends With Thud

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the playoffs where NFL quarterbacks make their bones.

At the NFL’s premier position, the guy taking the snap is always in the spotlight. And the glare is never as bright as it is in the playoffs.

Matt Cassel got his first chance to elevate himself to the level of post-season QB on Sunday against Baltimore.

It was not a pretty picture. Cassel turned in one of his worst performances of his two-seasons as the Chiefs starting quarterback as Baltimore won easily 30-7.

Cassel only threw 16 passes on the day as the Chiefs couldn’t stay on the field with the ball. He chucked three interceptions and was sacked three times.

“This one hurts, it really does sting,” Cassel said. “I thought we had a great opportunity. We had a really good week of practice and it really came down to the second half and it came down to turnovers. We all know in playoff football you can’t turn the ball over and that starts with me.

“I forced a few balls and it didn’t turn out well. As a leader on this team and a leader of the offense I can’t do that.”

Cassel’s passer rating finished at 20.4. Rather than elevate his game, Cassel’s performance ranks among his three worst passing days in the 31 starts he’s made for the team. The numbers reveal how poorly he threw the ball, as he completed nine of 18 passes (50 percent) for 70 yards for 3.9 yards per attempt, no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Only one of his completions went for more than 15 yards. Only one receiver (Dexter McCluster) caught more than one pass and his leading receiver Dwayne Bowe was shut out again.

It was ughhhhhh-lee.

“Obviously I’m upset about it,” Cassel said. “I would have loved to come in here and thrown for 300 yards and come out with a victory. We did have a great season and I was happy with my performance through most of the season. It just makes you want to work that much harder in the offseason.”

At half-time, Cassel had completed four of five passes for 40 yards. Considering the Chiefs only had 17 offensive plays in the half, it wasn’t a bad performance. The same cannot be said for the second half. He was five of 13, throwing for 30 yards, and three of the eight incompletions went for interceptions:

  • INT#1 – On 3rd-and-11 at the Chiefs 19, Cassel’s high throw to Tony Moeaki went off the tight end’s hands and was grabbed on the deflection by S Haruki Nakamura. But on his return, Nakamura fumbled when he was hit by Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, and it was Charles that recovered the fumble. So no harm, no foul on that one; it wouldn’t be the same for the last two.
  • INT#2 – On 2nd-and-9 at the Chiefs 21, Cassel’s pass to Moeaki was short and SS Dawan Landry jumped the route and made the interception. Six plays later, the Ravens scored a touchdown to go up by nine points.
  • INT#3 – Down 23 points late in the fourth quarter, Cassel threw up a ball for WR Verran Tucker on the sideline. It was picked off by CB Josh Wilson ending any chance for the Chiefs to put any more points on the board.

Cassel’s nine completions on the day went for: 8, 22, 6, 4, -1, 15, 5, 8 and 3 yards.

“It started to unravel and things started to go bad for us,” said Cassel. “It was one thing after another and somehow you have to try and stop the bleeding and we weren’t able to do that. There were some times in the fourth quarter where I forced it and I can’t do that.”

The 2010 season ended with a strange last month or so for Cassel. He missed the San Diego game because of an appendectomy, but sat out just 10 days before returning and playing well against St. Louis and Tennessee.

But in the last two weeks he had awful performances against the Raiders and Ravens. In those games his combined numbers were 20 of 51 (39.2 percent) for 185 yards, 3.6 yards per attempt, 0 TDs, five INTs and he was sacked eight times. It’s a passer rating of 19.8.

“They do a good job of mixing up their coverages,” said Cassel. “For the most part, I think we did a good job. I knew where I wanted to go with the ball. There were some times where I forced it. “

12 Responses to “Cassel’s Season Ends With Thud”

  • January 9, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    The Chiefs need to bring in a strong QB to push Cassel. We don’t know what we have with him beyond his fantastic toughness and work ethic. The next Offensive Coordinator will have to be a very, very good QB coach, too. Cassel is a head-scratcher.

    His performance today was a big disappointment, to say the least.

  • January 9, 2011  - el cid says:

    On Cassel, he may be the “real thing” or he may be just what he seems. I believe he may be a “manager” and if surrounded by decent players more than adequate but to think of him as some “superstar” type is just kidding yourself. A new QB, who? Know of a young Unitas, Dawson, Bradshaw? Who will block for him? Who will catch his passes? Who will design his game plan because, to date, Haley cannot keep a OC. Cannot believe in Cassel or blame him, there just no parts around him. Look a the strong point of running back, Charles, our best, cannot carry the load (like Cassel?), Jones, apparently, cannot stay effective for 16 games, Battle does not play. To me RB is so bad, we may need the first round pick to be a stud RB with Charles going to the slot and dumping the rest. What do you do with McCluster? It is said getting him was Weis’ idea, not a very good one based on what he provided in the playoff game. So many questions and, frankly, not a lot of answers for 2011, potential for a real sucky year which could cost many jobs by the end.

  • January 9, 2011  - Paul says:

    Holy crap people. Calm down. So Cassel had a couple lowsy games in the final two games of the season. How many of us thought the Chiefs would even make it this far in the first place with the kind of “talent” the Chiefs put around Cassel. Cassel greatly improved from last year to this year. Not to mention he played against one of the toughest defenses to ever graze the plains of the NFL. The Ravens do that to quarterbacks. The Chiefs had an okay first half anyway. It was only 10-7 at the half. We still had a shot at that point. Give this draft class a year under its belt, add another draft class in under Pioli’s direction, and I’m pretty confident will have an even better team next year. Besides, does anyone REALLY think that Weis really cared about these last two games with Florida on the mind? Haley brought in Weis to jump start this offense anyway. He knew he wouldn’t stay long anyway, either. Now he just needs to find a OC to sustain it, and it will probably be a promotion from within the organization to take over. The Chiefs aren’t heading downhill by any stretch of the immagination. This is a team that greatly overachieved this year due to some phenomenal coaching and scheming. I’m pretty optimistic about next year; barring the NFL and NFLPA get their butts in gear and get this CBA figured out.

  • January 9, 2011  - Nate says:

    el cid you wouldn’t know a fart if you smelled it.
    It was a playoff game against a more talented veteran team. It got out of hand early in the 2nd half. That’s when the season ended. throw the rest of the game out. You can draw nothig from it.
    You didn’t think the chiefs would win more that 6 games this year and they won 10 games and won the division. Scott Pioli is one of the best GM in the league. Give him another draft plus some moderately priced free agents (he added 4 starters this way this past off season) and the Chiefs will continue to rise and go deeper into the playoffs. Meanwhile get some good anti-depressents or another hobby.

  • January 10, 2011  - Craig says:

    I hope/think? the Chiefs are headed in the right direction. Typically, teams that finish strong the previous year start strong start the next year. KC finished weak. KC played a weak schedule and finished 3rd against our division. It will be much tougher next year. Need a good draft and some free agents as Nate said. Cassel worries me. He is so inconsistent. We all want a Hall of Fame quarterback. Cassel is not that. Maybe a new OC will help. Go Chiefs!!

  • January 10, 2011  - Husteak says:

    I think the truth is somewhere in the middle…

    Cassel isn’t as good as the people saying “he’s a star…should have made the pro-bowl” think.

    And, he isn’t as bad as the people saying “he sucks…we need a new QB” think.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle, as El Cid suggests. He will need a GREAT team around him to take us deep into the playoffs. We will need a GREAT team around him to go to the playoffs every year. Cassel just isn’t a Manning/Brady/Brees/Rivers… He just isn’t that good. Time to face the facts Chiefs fans.

    What say you Bob?

  • January 10, 2011  - el cid says:

    Dear Nate, thanks for your imput. Could I suggest you look around before you show you only wear red and gold colored glasses. TB had 10, REPEAT, 10 rookies and barely missed the playoffs, NE had 2 rookie TEs and draftee starters. Pioli has the rep for being the best in the NFL but, I think, he is average at best. Said it before, 09 draft Jackson, Cassel, Vrabel, Succop, and McConnel left. Three starters for a team with “no” talent left on it. 10 draft, two safeties, one backup OL, two little people (who have disappeared since the first game). That is a average GM, AT BEST. So while I may be full of it, I have truth on my side.

  • January 10, 2011  - Nate says:

    I am not going to get into a spitting match with you El cid and I apologize for my fart comment, however I stand by what I said. You said on this site before the season that the chiefs would not win more than 6 games They won 10 games and won the division. In 2 years under Pioli’s direction the chiefs have gome from a 2 win season to a 10 win season. That’s the truth. Regarding the last game, it was a playoff game against a more talented veteran team that got out of hand early in the 3rd quarter. The season ended there. You can draw nothing from the rest of the game. Scott Pioli has been NFL executive of the year 3 times and NFL executive of the past decade. Here are a few names you missed in your evaluation of the past year. Tony Moieki, Tomas Jones, Ryan Lilga, Casey Weigman, and one of those little people Javier Arenas was the #1 nichel back and played extremely well. Let’s exchange thoughts this time next year and see if either of us has changed our opinion.

  • January 10, 2011  - Kenneth says:

    Pretty hard IMO to judge Cassel too harshly when he has only had one starting WR (Bowe) and he has shown this season that he only shows up to make big catches when he feels like it in some of the games.

    Even Brady would be hard pressed to be competitive with only a TE and a couple RB’s to throw to because your WR’s don’t show up, I love McCluster but he’s more of a rb than a wr IMO.

  • January 10, 2011  - Edward says:

    Ken I agree with your point. Lack of receiving talent has hurt this team. Moeaki a rookie tight end carried the team early on then Bowe made some plays and had his stretch run. The thing Cassel is lacking is consistent receviers. Next season the focus need to be on building an explosive offense in the passing game to compliment the run game. No QB in NFL history can be very successful without a good receiving core. Also this is Cassel first playoff game give the guy break. He’ll be fine. After 17 games he did more good than bad. Next season I expect Pioli to improve the o-line and receiving core if that happens now I’ll say it el cid will make a playoff push next season.

  • January 10, 2011  - el cid says:

    A little early to make the playoffs next year but why not.

    Just want to mention, the shortage at WR was ignorred last off season. Signed Curtis after it was all decided and over. Would not count your chickens before we see some acquisions.

  • January 12, 2011  - napahank says:

    After reading all the comments above I am reminded of all the “hopes and dreams” posts of the preseason. We all hoped (maybe even prayed) for progress, maybe even an 8-8 season. But then something happened…we went 10-6 and won the division…NOW progress wasn’t enough in the second year of a rebuild.

    We go deep into the playoffs or the season is a bust. It is like first time parents-to-be who hope and pray for a “normal” baby; but as soon as their baby is born with 10 fingers and 10 toes then normal is not good enough.

    As for me I will soon start rewatching all the Chiefs games this offseason and thank God for the 2010 season.

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