I'll start with the question and then work the other items in backward order: Is it possible that Eric Weddle's interception of Matt Cassel to end the game in San Diego was Cassel's most accurate pass of the season? If I have your attention and you care to consider my reasoning, read on.
I have driven forklifts for a living off and on for thirty years. In that time, I have amassed a fair amount of skill and experience. I did, however, switch jobs recently and found myself as the only driver in a small warehouse away from the main production facility of the company I now work for. This is a dream job for me, virtually unsupervised, given a list of tasks needing done, left alone to do them as I see fit. You see, I intensely dislike being watched while I work. I have known this is a part of my nature for a long time but it has taken a even longer for me to understand the ramifications of this little nuance in my character, For instance, from week one of my new job, my "supervisor" told me we needed to do a forklift driving test. He was not concerned that it be done right away though, because it was obvious from my work I knew what I was doing. And so I worked with no test for six months without a single bit of damage, no dropped pallets or shipping errors. No mistakes, whatsoever. Then one day a few minutes before quitting time, my boss stops me as I am driving by. In his hand is a sheet of paper. Apparently, human resources had informed him that if my forklift test was not completed by day's end, I would not be allowed to drive until it was completed. No problem, right? Wrong! I dropped the very first pallet I picked up. THE FIRST ONE! Why? First of all, I had to do something I did not like to do nor had I been required to do for the months (work with someone watching me). Then, there was the added pressure of a "test" (if I did not pass, I might not keep my job). Finally, I was given no time to prepare myself mentally for the extra challenges. Now I am certain that my boss thought it was a slam dunk for me but I knew I might have a problem. What he did not understand at the time was, I am not a limelight kind of guy. Put a little pressure on me, my stress level spikes, I start to second guess myself and mistakes are sure to follow. I will do exactly what I am worried I will do. Leave me alone in my own relaxed little world and I am second to none.
How does this relate to Matt Cassel? Well, to start with, let me say I like Cassel. His has the potential to be a great story. Another Lenny, riding the pine somewhere else, only needing an opportunity in the right place to become a Hall of Famer. But recently Nick Wright has pointed out statistics that indicate that when the pressure is really on, Matt Cassel wilts. I hope it isn't true. I so very, very much want Cassel to be "the guy". But what if his brain really is wired like mine? What if he can get the job done as well as anybody as long as the pressure is at an acceptable level, as long as no one is really watching him? And, what about white jerseys?
I turned on the DVR this morning and watched that inexplicable throw from Matt Cassel to Eric Weddle over and over. I am going to state the obvious: Matt Cassel is a professional quarterback. Nobody, and I mean nobody, gets to play QB in the NFL by consistently missing a target only three yards away. Cassel is plenty accurate enough to hit even tiny Dexter McCluster from that distance every....single....time. There was a pass rush coming probably quicker than was anticipated but Cassel released the ball before the nearest defender was within five yards. What I saw was Cassel opening his hips at the last possible second to change the trajectory of the ball so that it hit a falling down Weddle directly between the three and the two. Had the ball been thrown only inches in any other direction, Weddle would have been unable to catch it with Lilja driving him into the ground. But why would Cassel intentionally throw the ball to Weddle with such accuracy?
Finally, we reach white jerseys! It occurred to me that in the NFL, road teams usually wear white jerseys. The Chiefs were on the road and should have been in white. But, San Diego exercised their home field option and put KC in their reds. My question to the Arrowheadpride faithful is this: Is it possible that the pressure was so great for Cassel that when on the road in San Diego he saw a white jersey with a back's number, panicked,second guessed himself and threw an absolutely perfect ball at the last possible moment to the precise target he was aiming for as he has trained his brain over and over to do? In other words, did he throw his most accurate pass of the season to the wrong player? If the answer is "yes", for the first time in three seasons and three games and in spite of the performance last Sunday against the Vikings, I am truly concerned. Certainly KC was in a long losing streak dating back to last season, but, it wasn't the Superbowl. I have no doubt Cassel is the best Haley has to offer at the present time. But, what does it mean if I am correct and Matt threw to white when he should have thrown to red? I am not certain I even want to consider it.