Cassel Survives Raiders Pounding

From Arrowhead Stadium

In one afternoon, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel took more hits from the pass rush than he did during the first 15 games of the year.

Five times he went down, and there was two more of backup QB Tyler Palko. Press box statisticians totaled the Raiders with 15 other quarterback hits.

The Oakland Raiders pass rush was without Richard Seymour, but that didn’t much matter as they came after Cassel like he was a chicken drumstick and they had not eaten in weeks. That Cassel was able to get up after several of those shots was most remarkable.

“They did a great job of creating pressure today,” Cassel said of the Raiders. “They didn’t do much that we weren’t prepared for. They mixed it up a little bit on third down, but first and second down they did exactly what we thought all day.”

This pass rush had nothing to do with schemes and game plan tricks. The Raiders demolition of the Chiefs pass protection was simply a case of blockers being beaten physically on a regular basis. Across the board, from LT Branden Albert through RT Barry Richardson, there were moments where the Chiefs offensive line was simply overwhelmed by the pressure coming from the likes of OLB Kamerion Wimbley, DEs Lamarr Houston and Jarvis Moss and DTs Tommy Kelly, John Henderson and Desmond Bryant. They also got a sack on a blitz by SS Tyvon Branch.

Here’s how the five sacks of Cassel and two more sacks at the end of the game of QB Tyler Palko came down:

  1. 3rd-and-12 @ KC 43, Wimbley sacks Cassel for minus-6 yards.
  2. 3rd-and-23 @ KC 32, Wimbley and Moss split sack of Cassel for minus-11.
  3. 3rd-and-11 @ OAK 43, Branch sacks Cassel for minus-12.
  4. 2nd-and-15 @ KC 35, Bryant downs Cassel for minus-15.
  5. 3rd-and-10 @ OAK 18, Bryant drops Cassel for minus-2.
  6. 1st-and-10 @ OAK 25, Palko sacked by Wimbley for minus-9.
  7. 2nd-and-19 @ OAK 34, Wimbley and Moss take down Palko for minus-1.

That’s a total of minus-56 yards in the Chiefs offensive column.

“We didn’t execute,” said RG Ryan Lilja. “It was nothing specific. We just didn’t play very well. It is disappointing because we clearly dropped the ball at home.”

That Cassel didn’t drop the ball and fumble on any of those hits is remarkable. But he threw a pair of interceptions. The first one was simply a bad decision, when he was flushed out of the pocket in the end zone and his pass for WR Dexter McCluster was grabbed by S Michael Huff.

“That was my fault,” Cassel said. “I was scrambling outside the pocket and I thought I could get it in there. I was trying to force something down field and unfortunately it didn’t work out. I’ve got to do a better job of protecting the ball in that situation.”

Actually what has to happen is the Chiefs have to do a better job of protecting Cassel. Over the first 12 games of the season, they allowed 17 sacks. In the last four games of the season, they allowed 15, pushing the season total to 32.

It made for an ugly day for Cassel. He completed just 11 of 33 passes (completion percentage of 33 percent) for 115 yards, or an average per attempt of 3.5 yards. His passer rating finished up at 19.1, the second worst passing performance of his Kansas City career.

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