Offense: One Guy Up, Another One Down

From Arrowhead Stadium

If the two key guys in the 2009 Chiefs offense were on escalators, they would pass each other going up, and going down.

Jamaal Charles is on the up escalator, as he continues to show that he has the ability to be a top-flight offensive threat in the NFL.

Matt Cassel is on the down escalator, as he continues to struggle to establish himself and the Chiefs passing game as a productive and consistent offensive force.

Both were on display Sunday as the Chiefs fell to the Bills 16-10. Charles and his legs kept the Chiefs in the game in the second half, when Cassel and his passes were taking them out of the action.

It’s not a good combination for producing victories, which probably explains the three straight losses the Chiefs have suffered.

Charles ran for 143 yards on 20 carries, the bulk of that coming on a 76-yard touchdown run. He also caught seven passes for 38 yards, giving him 27 touches in the game for 181 yards.

Over the last five games since he’s become the focus of the Chiefs running game, and the offense, Charles has 104 offensive touches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. Throw in his kick return duties – which he did not handle against Buffalo – and in the last five games he’s produced 911 all-purpose yards on 115 touches with six touchdowns.

This season now, Charles has nine plays that went for 40 yards or more and three plays for 50 yards or more, with touchdowns of 76 and 97 yards.

The 76-yarder came on a first-and-10 play at the Chiefs 24-yard line late in the third quarter. Charles took the handoff from Cassel as RG Wade Smith pulled and trapped Buffalo DT Kyle Williams. That opened a huge hole in the Bills defense, and when Charles got to the second level of the defense, he just juked and then out ran several defenders for the touchdown.

“I guess they had a blitz up the middle and we had a perfect play and I just took it to the house,” said Charles.

The play call was perfect because Buffalo head coach/defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had called for a blitz.

“They caught me in a blitz; it was a bad call,” Fewell said. “I thought I had some tendencies on them and I thought I could predict what they were going to do and they caught me.”

Charles tried to contribute in several different ways against the Bills. He made two tackles on interception returns, and actually caused a fumble on one and ended up with the football. But officials ruled the play down and Buffalo kept the football. The Chiefs challenged the call, but replay did not overrule the decision on the field.

“I thought it was a great hustle play by all the guys,” said Haley.

Cassel had his second bad game in a row. In the last two games played over eight days Cassel was 36 of 72 (50% completion rate) for 308 yards, no touchdowns and six interceptions, including the four he threw against the Bills on this Sunday.

All of those go on Cassel’s ticket, but only the first one was really his fault.

“When an interception happens there are a lot of different factors that are involved,” said head coach Todd Haley. “I know today two of them were tipped balls and the last interception is a jump-ball situation. When two are tipped and one hits the receiver in the hands, it’s proof there are a lot of factors involved.”

Cassel’s first interception was an extremely poor decision on his part. He was rolling to his right away from some pressure and decided to throw across his body and try to dump the ball over a Buffalo defender to WR Mark Bradley. The defender was Terrence McGee and he grabbed the interception.

“Obviously, I’d like to have that one back,” said Cassel. “It was just a dumb play by me and I’ve got to be smart with the ball.”

The next two picks bounced off the hands of WR Chris Chambers and were grabbed by LB Paul Posluszny and DB Jairus Byrd, Then S George Wilson grabbed the jump ball on the final play of the game to make it four interceptions.

That’s six in the last two weeks and 13 on the season. Those are combined with two potential touchdown passes where he overthrew Bradley and then several drops, including one late in the game by Chambers that would have set up the Chiefs at the Buffalo two-yard line.

It all led to a steady chorus of boos from the Arrowhead crowd. Cassel heard the catcalls.

“Hey, they’re allowed to do whatever they want,” he said. “They pay the money to come here and we have to perform. It’s frustrating not to be winning. You come out and put so much hard work in each and every week and to not have the production all the time on Sunday and putting up the Ws for the fans … for us and for everybody, it’s frustrating.”

16 Responses to “Offense: One Guy Up, Another One Down”

  • December 13, 2009  - ED says:

    He’ll look like a better quarterback when Bowe comes back this week. He should if you’re a quarterback you’re only as good as the guys around you. Unless you’re Jamarcus Russell.

    Next season if we want to improve this offense. We better get more talent on the offensive line, add more productive receivers, and get an offensive coordinator. Haley clearly doesn’t look like the same coach calling play in Arizona and its because he’s overwhelmed. He needs an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He want admit it but he’s in over his head with all these positions he’s trying to hold.

  • December 14, 2009  - big vess says:

    Very well said Ed I agree with you . I just want to say guys this season was an evaluating season. And they will work their butts off to win back the respect of the fans next season . I knew this season was an evaluating season to weed out the guys that will not be part of the program next season. I am angered and bitter about today but I am looking for the overall picture later. I want more than just one and done in the playoffs I want a championship and we will see if they will bring it! and not sing it coming in the next few years.Hey guys I guess Tony G will be home with the Chiefs this season as well. Sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side.

  • December 14, 2009  - huggie bear says:

    Hard to fathom the Cassel apologists. Cassel is a BAD NFL qb. BAD. Not average or even mediocre. Just plain BAD.

  • December 14, 2009  - Wayne says:

    Ed, I believe you assume I’m a Cassel basher simply because I stated that a large percentage of the Chiefs drops were poorly thrown balls. The truth is I want to see whoever the coaches put on the field do well, because that’s how you win games. The pass Chambers dropped yesterday is an easy catch and is 100% on him. By contrast, the interception when he tried to throw the ball to Bradley was 100% on Cassel. That pass should have been thrown to Charles, who was coming across and could have easily gotten a first down. I should point out the Chiefs quarterback gets paid much more to throw the ball than any of their off the street receivers get paid to catch it. Big vess, the best part is every time Atlanta loses the Chiefs draft pick goes higher.

  • December 14, 2009  - el cid says:

    Not interested in commenting until I read big vess comments. How many NFL teams take an entire, that right 16 games, over 4K out of my fing pocket, to “evaluate” what they have. Pioli/Haley have 29 of their guys (even if most could not make another team) and half of the poster still blame carl/herm. Thanks for your patience on my buck.

  • December 14, 2009  - Danny W says:

    When Chambers or any one else drops balls that catchable it should be a fine frome the team. When Matt Cassel throws that easy of an interception that should be a fine too. This is a job and they get paid too much to play a kids game. When they dont perform as a fan I want them fined. Am I wrong for this? I think Chambers and Bowe will have a solid remainder of the season as will Matt Cassel.

  • December 14, 2009  - Robert Munoz says:

    I believe Haley has too much on his plate and that is why he is making some questionable calls. He definately needs an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach to alleviate some of the pressure so that he can focus on the game as a whole. My suggestions are:

    Charlie Weis
    Al Saunders
    Gary Kubiak

    QB Coach
    Terry Shae
    Jason Garrett
    Steve DeBerg


  • December 14, 2009  - Mike in MO says:

    Romeo Crennel for DC.

  • December 14, 2009  - jimbo says:

    I agree Bob,
    Cassel is not pulling his weight. Everybody has been blaming the o-line for Matt’s poor play. It’s obvious now thats simply not the case.
    Absolutely nothing special about Matt Cassel, Period…
    On the other hand, Charles is magic.

  • December 14, 2009  - big vess says:

    El Cid did you really thought that Pioli was going to do anything this year? He said all along with Clark Hunt that he is looking for the whole pie not just the slice. He knew this team was a evaluating process which means rebuilding he did not like some of the free agents that were out there before the season started. Yes he brought in some throw away guys that probally will not be here next season but at least he did not stay put like the regime before. Right now Pioli looks awful but it’s his first year . He took over a bad football team let’s give him time. This team has a lot of holes and it will not be done overnight.

  • December 14, 2009  - Jody says:

    Cassel is not very accurate.

  • December 14, 2009  - Mark says:

    Let’s see what Brodie can do. He played good when named the starter in Baltimore. The team needs a boost.

    if anything, maybe you showcase or use one of these 2 as draft day trade bait.

  • December 15, 2009  - Mark says:

    Cassel is an older, slightly bigger, less mobile version of Thigpen. I like Cassel, but I liked Thigpen more, and thought he showed more long term potential last year than matt has shown this year.

  • December 15, 2009  - nathan says:

    I got lots to say, First Mark is right if Thigpen was on the sideline the cries for him to be in would be deafening, and for good reason everyone of those overthrows that cassel has made Thigpen hit them last season and we run so much out of shotgun his questionable under center play wouldn’t matter. Also suspect is Cassel’s under center play. Hitting linemen in the helmet come on thats bad mechanics. On a better note Charles is amazing we need a back to complement him, and that shoulder really worries the heck out of me. Is it something that can be fixed? Is it going to get worse? What if this happens with the game on the line?

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