Another week is in the books, and another win has been notched. Kansas City took care of business in wild fashion against the Colts, coming away with a 28-24 victory. Matt Cassel was a main character in the drama. Let's look at his performance.
First of all, let's glance at the stats:
21-29 for 257 with 4 TD's and 0 INT
Negative: Cassel had another slow start to the game. While I certainly wouldn't label him as the main culprit for the Chiefs early hole he definitely didn't help. Cassel was throwing the ball underneath and without much purpose against an Indianapolis team that struggles in the secondary.
Falling behind when you're on the road against a team with two great pass-rushers usually isn't the recipe for success. I really didn't like Cassel's chances for a big day as I watched Pierre Garcon strolling into the end zone.
Positive: Cassel was literally flawless the rest of the day. Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston were everything they needed to be when Cassel was finding them. Bowe destroyed Jacob Lacey the entire game to the point of outright humiliation. I still can't believe Jim Caldwell didn't give help to Lacey in some form or another. Cassel-to-Bowe has become one of the premier tandems in the game.
One play that sticks out to me had nothing to do with Cassel's arm. In the second half, Cassel rolled out and scrambled trying to pick up the first down close to the goal line. While he didn't get there, he didn't dive. It showed more of that toughness I believe Kansas City rallies around.
The biggest drive in my mind was the one before halftime. Being down 24-7 at the break would have seemed insurrmountable, but Cassel and co. found a way to have a great two-minute drive and punch it in for six. You could just feel the momentum shifting after that Breaston score.
My Grade: 95
Cassel deserves an A for this one. I know some people will say he had three good quarters, so he gets a 75. In the Sunday night game Aaron Rodgers played only one good half but would you give him a 50?
Give credit where credit is due. Cassel played a great game on Sunday. He made all the throws in big spots and gave this team competitive life heading into the bye week.
I'm still not sold on Cassel being the long-term answer by any stretch. He needs to show he can do this against good-to-great teams. Cassel has been inconsistent to say the least this season and that's simply not good enough. Without Jamaal Charles in the lineup, this team has to rely on his arm.
In some ways, this will be the ultimate test for Cassel. He proved last year that he can be part of a playoff team. Can he be the reason an average team stays in contention and ultimately makes the playoffs? I don't buy for a second that this team doesn't has enough talent to compete in the AFC West even with the injuries.
If Cassel steps up, the race is on.