Chiefs Can Thank Broncos for New OffenseDecember 2nd, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
I don’t typically subscribe to the notion that a team benefits from a loss, but in this case, I think they have. After falling behind the Broncos 35-0 early in the game in Denver a couple weeks ago, the Chiefs were forced to throw the ball. Matt Cassel responded with what appeared to be meaningless, inflated numbers. It was a career day in an embarrassing loss. Matt completed 33 of 53 passes for 469 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. But all of a sudden, the Chiefs have found some real offensive balance, and a healthy passing game. Did the Denver game provide the Chiefs with confidence in their passing game? If you look at the numbers, the production from the passing game started before the the loss to the Broncos. But it’s hard to argue that the success they found in Denver might propel them through the last part of the season.
Matt Cassel: I remain puzzled as to why Kansas City fans have been so slow to embrace Matt Cassel. (I wrote this article early in the season: Why are KC Fans Down on Cassel?) Though his recent success is starting to change some minds. Cassel is the fourth rated QB in the league with a QB Rating of 99.7, only behind Michael Vick, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. Pretty elite company. While QB Rating doesn’t tell you everything, it’s a pretty good barometer for how well a quarterback is playing. His most impressive stat is his TD/INT ratio, which stands at 22/4. Incredibly impressive. (Last year his ratio was 16/16.) In the last seven games, Matt has thrown 18 TDs and 0 INTs. This means that Matt is taking great care of the ball, and making really good decisions. Is Matt an elite NFL quarterback? Not yet. But the potential is there.
Dwayne Bowe: I was one of many fans frustrated with D-Bowe. Luckily, Todd Haley and Scott Pioli remained steadfast in their faith. Bowe appears to be turning the corner from potential to production. While he has had a couple of drops this season (all receivers drop a few), it’s clear that he’s catching the ball much better. Dwayne is fifth in the league in passing yards with 885, and number one in the league in touchdowns with 14, which is an incredible pace through the first 11 games of the season. He’s become a legitimate Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver. Something the Chiefs haven’t had in many years.
Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones: The Chiefs would not likely be experiencing this same success in their passing game without their dominating running game. As a team, the Chiefs remain number one in the league rushing the ball for an incredible 174.3 yards per game. (In comparison, the Jets are number two at 148.1 yards per game.) Charles, despite sharing the load with Jones, is second in the league with 1021 yards. And he leads the league with 6.3 yards per carry. I seem to be in the minority, but I love how the Chiefs are handling their backfield. Charles is healthy right now BECAUSE Jones takes half the load.
The Chiefs are playing a very soft schedule this year, which is inflating their record and their stats. But right now, who cares? The Chiefs are an improved team headed in the right direction. It’s clear that Haley and Pioli have a plan, and that they’re probably ahead of schedule. There are still holes on this team. But the Chiefs have a great opportunity to win the AFC West, and host a first round playoff game. Do you think that any team is going to look forward to coming to Kansas City during the playoffs?
Now back to the Broncos. Other than their win against the Chiefs, this team has played some really poor football this season. I will be shocked if they bring back head coach Josh McDaniels for another season. After a 6-0 start last year, the Broncos have gone 5-16. Their defense is awful. They are dead last in the league giving up 29.4 yards per game. And they’re cheaters. Does anybody really believe that McDaniels was unaware that the team’s video department was filming the 49ers at practice? Just because the league has no evidence that McDaniels was involved, doesn’t mean that he wasn’t involved.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Broncos 21