From Arrowhead Stadium
Dwayne Bowe broke his self-imposed silence Sunday, at least his silence with the media.
On the field, the Chiefs wide receiver continued to speak very loudly as he for the last six weeks.
Against the Arizona Cardinals, Bowe set a Chiefs record by extending his consecutive game streak of catching touchdown passes to six. In fact, he now has 11 touchdown catches on the season, or more than the five he had in his big rookie season, or the seven he scored in his even better second season or the four he put the end zone during his troubled 2009 performance.
Bowe caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs victory over the Cardinals and afterwards talked to the media for the first time since the off-season program back in May.
“At this level you have to learn to keep your mouth closed, keep your head down and just work,” Bowe said. “That’s what I’ve been doing. Our team is building and right now we’re starting to do great things. I’m going to just keep my head down and keep going.”
There’s one thing that has been obvious about Bowe during the last year, even through his silence â€“ he’s working harder and longer at the game of football than he’s ever done in his life. Whether he talks or not, what matters is that Bowe has wised up when it comes to the game of football.
Enough so that he’s impressed his toughest critic.
“Whether he’s had big numbers or small numbers or those in between this guy has changed,” said head coach Todd Haley. “Back last year sometime I could tell that this guy had a chance but he was going to have to work at it and that’s what he set his mind to doing. Now, we are both seeing some of the fruits of that labor.
“I’m proud of Dwayne. I know when you go up against one of the best, if not the best in the league, there’s some pride and ego and competition involved and I was happy to see Dwayne rise up to the competition and play a real good game for us.”
The competition Haley spoke about was the presence at Arrowhead on Sunday of Larry Fitzgerald, one of the NFL’s best receivers, and someone that Bowe has spent a lot of time speaking with over the last year. Fitzgerald spent two years with Haley in Arizona, and he eventually bought in to what he was being taught and by his assessment, it took him to a higher level in performance.
Fitzgerald caught six passes against the Chiefs for 90 yards and one touchdown, the only TD for Arizona and it came on the final offensive play of the game, with the outcome already decided.
“When I was working out with Fitzgerald in the off-season he told me to keep my head down and work,” said Bowe. “He was showing me how to do it and I’m just following his ways and it’s paying off.”
It’s certainly paid off for his quarterback.
“He continues to grow as a player and as a person, he continues to mature,” QB Matt Cassel said of Bowe. “You can even see it with some of the younger receivers on the team and him taking them under his wing and showing them and talking to them during practice.’
This season, Cassel and Bowe have taken to showing up at the Chiefs’ facility on Tuesday, their day off, to spend some time throwing and catching together.
“We come in and get a couple of throws in; I just want to get on the same page with him,” said Bowe. “That is what will win some games. It’s paying off, so I’m going to continue to do it.”
Bowe was not impressed by his record, which he no longer shares with Chris Burford (1962) and Otis Taylor (1966).
“Not yet, not until we win it all,” said Bowe. “Then I’ll look back on this game and say ‘Wow!’ But right now, my head is down and I’m going to keep moving.”