19 of 34. 168 yards. One horrible interception returned for a touchdown, one fumble.
Yep, Matt Cassel's performance last Friday doesn't look good on paper, and the Chiefs had a terrible offensive night.
But was it all his fault? In this post, we take a look at some GIFs that spread the blame around. Hit the jump and prepare for GIF'D UP: Cassel Is Innocent edition.
So why is Cassel innocent? It's quite simple: his teammates let him down.
Let's take a look at the first third down of the game, where we clearly see Jon Asamoah getting beaten as if he were Mike Goff. Would I prefer that Cassel not immediately crumble into a ball when the pressure comes? Sure, but there are very few quarterbacks in this league who are going to make a play in this situation. This isn't Cassel's fault. Asamoah, you let Cassel down.
We're not done with Asamoah. This is the Chiefs fourth possession of the game. Asamoah gets dominated right off the snap and allows his man to penetrate and blow up the play. If this is blocked better it's probably a first down. Instead, the Chiefs are left in a third and 7 and that's just not fair to Cassel at all. So unfair, in fact, that the Chiefs ran the ball on third down.
Now let's go to the Chiefs second possession of the game. Steve Breaston drops a ball placed right in his hands. Is the pass a little bit high? Sure. Would I like Cassel to make an absolutely perfect throw? Who wouldn't. Does Breaston get clobbered? Yup. I don't care. Pro receivers make this catch. Steve Breaston, you let Cassel down.
Here's the first pass of the game thrown at Dwayne Bowe. Is this a drop? Not really, the defensive back makes a great play on the ball. I'll blame Cassel for this, because this pass was thrown in a poor spot that allowed the corner to make a play on it.
But either way, on the next snap...
...Tony Moeaki drops a ball that hits him cleanly in both hands. He doesn't even take a hit. Is the pass a little high? Sure. Don't care. Pro tight ends make this catch. Moeaki, you let Cassel down.
Oh, and there's also no excuse for this Moeaki drop. This is absolutely freaking terrible. Cassel makes a pass like this once every month. You gotta catch it, guys.
Now let's go to the third down after Moeaki's first drop. This is the infamous "Cassel double pirouette" play. Did he look silly? For sure. But when Shaun Draughn doesn't even attempt to pick up an unblocked blitzer, Cassel really has no chance. Ryan Lilja could also be at fault if you look at the GIF carefully, but either way someone screwed up and Cassel was left to twist in the wind. He is completely incapable of doing anything when the play breaks down like this. Not his fault. Draughn/Lilja, you let Cassel down.
That's a lot of crap that we can't really blame Cassel for in this game. If Moeaki and Breaston make those catches it might be a completely different first half.
Now, if you want to blame Cassel for something, first, you can blame him for this next GIF. Here we have Cassel repeating the exact same mistake he made last week in St. Louis, which I featured in our last installment of GIF'D UP. Once again, it's Cassel sitting pretty in the middle of perfect protection, and he takes off and runs because of phantom pressure. Then he tops it off with the worst throw in the history of the NFL.
And just like last week, there was a guy wide open with plenty of room to run right in front of him. You can see Draughn in the GIF briefly. Below you can see how much space he had to work with. If Cassel keeps his cool and sets his feet in the pocket, he can probably flip that ball to Draughn. Instead he soils himself and makes a horrible pass.
It's only one play, but Cassel can't afford to do something like this when Moeaki and Breaston are dropping balls and Asamoah and Draughn are blowing pass protection.
Now I want to talk about what Cassel did "well" on Friday night.
There has been a huge discussion about our touchdown drive and all the short passes Cassel threw. In my opinion, what we did on that drive and what we did all night in the short passing game is going to kill our offense this season if we keep it up.
In the GIF below (linked because this post is getting a bit huge), I've screen capped 24 throws Cassel made against the Seahawks.
To sum it up: if 70 percent of our passing game is a pass that averages a distance of 3.2 yards from the line of scrimmage, we have a problem.
When we're chucking the ball around like that, it should be no surprise to us that:
1) Screens are horribly ineffective (as they were Friday night).
2) Two of our wide receivers average less than 10 yards per catch.
3) Dexter McCluster gets mugged. (click for GIF)
4) Cassel throws a pick six because defenders are camping short routes.
If what we saw Friday night is our real offense, I'm horribly disgusted.
BJ Kissel has argued that what we saw was NOT our real offense. He made a good case. All I can say is I hope he's right, because that touchdown drive was fool's gold.
And now, thanks to MNChiefsfan, your moment of zen.
Back tomorrow with GIFs of epic defensive failure.