Good morning, Chiefs fans! Lots of Kansas City Chiefs news today. Also, we need to vote for some players this week (H/T to trentchiefsfan and kirkismerff). Bowe and Cassel are getting a lot of love, and Upon Further Review looks at a Chiefs RB that needs to be looked at as more than a fantasy stud. Enjoy.
Just as Dawson and Taylor famously drew up a play in the dirt on the sidelines at Shea Stadium that set up a touchdown in a Chiefs playoff win against the Jets more than 40 years ago, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe scratched out some pass patterns of their own in Sunday’s 42-24 victory at Seattle.
Instead of dirt, they diagrammed the plays in the field turf at Qwest Field, and the biggest one was on a third-and-1 when Cassel hit Bowe on a slant-and-go down the left sidelines for 17 yards, setting up the Chiefs’ final touchdown.
Cassel to Bowe one of NFL's most potent combos from KC Star
The reason the Chargers are still behind the Chiefs is because Kansas City had its biggest win of the season since upsetting San Diego in Week 1.
The Chiefs went to Seattle, where it's still difficult to win, and put 42 points on the Seahawks with WR Dwayne Bowe catching three touchdown passes, giving him 13 in his past seven games. RB Jamaal Charles ran for 173 yards as he continues to become one of the most dangerous backs in the NFL.
There's been some growing pains - a no-show in Denver, a huge blown lead against the Texans -- but if you haven't already it's time to start believing in the Chiefs. Keep your eye on the Dec. 12 showdown in San Diego that could decide the AFC West.
BACK PAGE: Jets should take any 'ugly' wins they can get from The New York Post
Vote for your Chiefs: NFL Pro Bowl Ballot
Vote for your Chiefs: FedEx Air and Ground NFL Players of the Week
NFL.com Video: Can Bowe break TD record?
People first became aware of Cassel when he helped the 2008 New England Patriots go 11-5 after Tom Brady was hurt for the season in the opening game. Despite never starting a game at USC, Cassel showed some embryonic characteristics of excellence, though he got away with a lot of stick throws and had abysmal pocket presence. He looked decent in his first year as the Chiefs' starting quarterback in 2009, but he's gone completely off the hook this year. In his last seven games, Cassel has thrown 18 touchdowns ... and one interception.
The Shutdown Corner All-Underrated Team: The Offense from Yahoo! Sports
When asked his general reaction to the Denver version of "Spygate," Haley sidestepped the question.
"I’m completely out of it," Haley said. "I’m going to enjoy (Sunday’s win) for two more hours because that was a great win for us. A great win. Then we’re going to get back to business of getting ready to win our biggest game of the year … against a team that whipped our butts pretty good just two weeks ago."
Haley won’t discuss Broncos’ ‘Spygate’ troubles from KC Star
I've watched a lot of great running backs in the NFL and I can't remember one with exactly his style. In some cases (Sanders, Payton, Thomas), it was a case of their speed and their ability to fake out the defender (juke factor). In some cases (Dickerson, Simpson, Campbell), they are just bigger and stronger. But, Charles is different.
He's got the speed and quickness, but what I find so compelling is that either KC has the greatest offensive line in history or else Charles is one of the best in history at picking the holes... and I'm of the opinion the latter is true.
Chiefs: A closer look at the RUSH from Upon Further Review
It's the day when coaches and players watch film, rehash the previous day's game, and tell it like it is.
And on this Monday, the one that followed a 42-24 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the truth hurt a little.
"It was very honest and very serious and very blunt," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "It was just a long day at work, in terms of just getting everything straightened out and just laying it on the table and saying it how it is."
Seahawks Relive Sunday's Horror Show from The Kitsap Sun
FYI:Denver won last year at Arrowhead Stadium in December, but it was the Broncos' first victory there during the last month of the season since 1998, with four losses in between.
Coachspeak:"I saw a team that willed this game to go the way that they wanted it to go. We set our minds to it today at halftime, that we're going to finish this thing." - Chiefs coach Todd Haley, after his team's dominating performance in Seattle
Denver Broncos eyeing ... Kansas City Chiefs from The Denver Post
In the AFC West, San Diego (6-5) is making its typical late-season charge but now the question remains whether it dug itself too deep of a hole early. While Oakland (5-6) remains in play, the division-leading Chiefs (7-4) don't seem to be going away. Kansas City, which is built to play in inclement weather late in the season because of its punishing run game, opened its season with a victory over the Chargers. The two teams meet again Dec. 12 in San Diego.
The Broncos controlled the edges in a 49-29 victory over the Chiefs at Invesco Field at Mile High on Nov. 14, limiting Jamaal Charles' ability to get to the corner. He had no run longer than 7 yards.
But there are few things more difficult for a struggling team with no playoff hope to do than step up and play roll-up-your-sleeves run defense. If the Broncos can't find a way to control the point of attack Sunday, the Chiefs will run them out of Arrowhead Stadium.
Broncos are going through the valley right now from The Denver Post
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers, Dec. 12: The Chiefs kicked off their season -- and a 3-0 start -- with a victory over the Chargers in Kansas City. That early success allowed them the cushion to brace themselves for San Diego's current surge. Now we'll find out what both teams are made of. If Kansas City wins, it could put the nail in the coffin for the Chargers, since the Chiefs would hold a key tiebreaker with a sweep. If San Diego, which is dominant at home, walks away victorious, Kansas City could be looking at the consolation of at least being it the hunt -- for awhile.
These eight games will chart map to playoff course from NFL.com
Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels ruled out three players for this week's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
That includes cornerback Andre' Goodman (hip), rookie wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (ankle) and safety Brian Dawkins (knee).
Goodman, Thomas, Dawkins out this week for Denver from National Football Post
When optimism swirled around the Broncos' plans for the season, they were extremely proud of the experience, savvy and resumes of the players in their secondary.
But some in the league wondered if a secondary with four starters who were at least 30 years old - for the second consecutive year - could make it through a season.
It hasn't and as the injuries have mounted the Broncos found themselves with four rookies - Perrish Cox, Cassius Vaughn, Syd'Quan Thompson and Kyle McCarthy - in their dime package Sunday.
Broncos' young secondary a target for Cassel and Chiefs from The Denver Post
For all I've heard, Haley's displeasure stemmed the action on the field that day. If the Chiefs suspected foul play, I'm sure we could have heard by now.
But the point is, Denver put itself in this position by allowing this scandal to happen. Every time Denver wins from here on out, people will wonder if they had illegal help. Is it fair? Perhaps not, but neither is filming an opponent.
Examining AFC West conspiracy theories from ESPN
Kansas City looked like it might free-fall after Todd Haley refused to shake the hand of Denver's Josh McDaniels, but Matt Cassel has caught fire with 10 touchdown passes in the past three games to complement one of the best running games in the NFL.
Unlikeliest of Teams Start December in Playoff Hunt from NBC Sports
Newsome wishes the Ravens were in a position to play for a first-round bye, but the N.F.L. made it nearly impossible to clinch a division early, by shifting division games to later in the season. The intent was to avoid teams' resting star players after playoff positions had been secured.
But it has also saved teams like San Diego, which started 2-5, because the Chargers have three division games left, including a showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, the A.F.C. West leaders.
Record Parity, and Playoff Hopes to Go With It from The New York Times
Junior Achievement's online holiday auction will run through Dec. 5, with Eureka natives Andy Studebaker and Ben Zobrist again among the athletes contributing.
Zobrist, a utility player for the Tampa Bay Rays, is contributing a workout and coaching session, while Studebaker, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, is contributing a football session.
Eureka pro athletes Studebaker, Zobrist contributing to auction from The Bloomington Pantagraph.com
Is Matt Cassel finally validating the big contract the Chiefs gave him?
Chiefs QB Matt Cassel had many doubters in his first season in Kansas City, when he had a passer rating of 69.9 on a 4-12 team. Even in the Chiefs' 2-0 start this season, the Chiefs seemed to be winning despite Cassel. But Cassel and Dwayne Bowe have quietly formed one of the NFL's most effective tandems that has combined for 13 TD strikes in the last seven games. During that span, Cassel has a TD-to-INT ratio of 18-1 that has lifted him to fourth in the NFL in passer rating (99.7).
On Sunday, Kansas City defensive tackle Shaun Smith scored his first touchdown since high school. The 325-pound lineman now has more rushing TDs this year than Dallas speedster Felix Jones.
Hail to the Chiefs: Right now, there may not be a more productive fantasy passing duo than the one found in Kansas City. Some Denver fans may argue, but the Matt Cassel-to-Dwayne Bowe connection has owners giddy as the fantasy playoffs approach. Cassel has a pair of four-touchdown games and a total of 10 scoring passes without an interception in his past three games. He has already established a new career standard with 22 touchdown passes, and only has four interceptions this season. Bowe has scored in every game since Week 6 and has seven scores in his past three games.