After beating the Minnesota Vikings 22-17, Matt Cassel and the Chiefs faithful are feeling much better. While the team is only 1-3 its at least been a week without feeling awful about the prior Sunday. Kansas City didn't play perfect by any means but definitely played better. However this isn't about the whole team, so without further adieu lets grade Matt Cassel.
18-29 for 260 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT
Negative: In the first half, Cassel was atrocious. While he was completing a high percentage of his passes (as he has all season), Cassel was constantly checking down (again, as he has all season). Even though the Chiefs were winning at halftime, it actually felt like they were losing and Cassel was a big part of that. The offense was playing against a poor secondary and yet struggled to do anything in the air for an entire half. Going forward, this is a problem Cassel desperately needs to correct. He has to be solid for the entire game, not half of it.
Positive: Cassel got angry at Haley. He showed some of that fire we got used to seeing last year, and it turned the whole game around. The play-calling finally opened up in the second half (as it did in San Diego) and Cassel took advantage. For the first time this year Steve Breaston got legitimately involved in the offense. Dwayne Bowe continued to be a force and Kansas City started to move.
While they only scored 13 points in the second half the feel was totally different. They finally looked like they were being the aggressors, not the other way around. It was so vindicating to watch Cassel throw the ball down the field. I
I gave Cassel an 85 because I feel he stepped up with the season on the line. He didn't play scared. He finally looked like he hit his breaking point after that ridiculous screen call to Le'Ron McClain. After that Cassel was a totally different guy. He started to attack, and that one pass down the seem to Breaston was a first class, big time throw.
That is the type of play Cassel needs to consistently make. I don't believe he can be consistent, which is why the Chiefs are probably still looking at drafting a quarterback in the first round. With that being said, if Cassel can regularly play like he played in the second half on Sunday, this team is set. However, that's a huge if.
For now, Kansas City is 1-3 and headed to play a very banged-up Indianapolis team. If Cassel can play well again, this team will more than likely be 2-3. All of a sudden, all hope wouldn't be lost. The Chiefs would have a bye week and then go to play Oakland before a Monday night showdown against San Diego. Believe it or not, if the Chiefs win their next two games and the Chargers lose to the Jets...Kansas City will be playing for first place on Halloween.
That's a lot of if's, but it's fun to think about. For it to happen, Matt Cassel needs to play like his job is on the line...because it is.