Chiefs take care of business at Arrowhead East
Chiefs had their swagger back yesterday against the Rams. Finally, the fans seem to want to follow their players’ lead and get behind their Quarterback
Some said he couldn’t do it, others that he shouldn’t… but six carries, 17 yards, three sacks, 35 heart attacks, one tomahawk chop and tens of thousands of new believers later, a hero is born.
While his stat-line wasn’t legendary, it was the leadership and vigor Matt Cassel displayed on Sunday that got the Chiefs’ engine revving. Maybe it was the competition, maybe just the setting; regardless, one thing is certain: the Chiefs were a completely different football team on Sunday as they improved to 9-5 overall and finished the year 4-0 against the NFC West.
As expected, Cassel lifted an offense that needed to find its rhythm. The running backs combined for another 200-plus yard rushing day, thanks mainly to 62 tough yards by Jones* and an 80-yard scamper by Charles. Hell, there was even a Chris Chambers sighting (3 catches, 42 yards).
In the five previous road contests, the Chiefs were allowing an average of 32 points a game. If not for a late touchdown drive, the Rams would have been limited to two field goals on their first two possessions. The defense only surrendered one first down over a two-quarter stretch and stayed disciplined throughout the game while the Rams were flagged for five false starts. Derrick Johnson and Brandon Carr were masterful, Wallace Gilberry sacked Sam Bradford three times and Kendrick Lewis intercepted him twice.
Certainly Matt Cassel doesn’t deserve all the credit, does he?
-Wallace Gilberry: “When he got that first down and got up and did the tomahawk, I was ready to get back on the field. We definitely feed off each other and he’s our emotional leader and he leads by example. You have to respect that and then you want to go out, get a three-and-out, and put those guys back on the field.”
-Kendrick Lewis: “When you have your quarterback going to war for you like that it’s a great feeling. He was into it and we just followed his lead and we embraced his return all together.”
- Chris Chambers: “He pulled a superman routine. I was glad to see him out there. He’s as tough as nails, and when you’ve got a guy like that, you want to play extremely hard for him.”
- Ryan Lilja: “We know what Matt’s gone through in the last week and a half and respect the heck out of him for what he’s done and how he’s responded. He got hit a couple of times, and he ran a few times, and that sometimes can make us nervous because he’s an important part of this thing. But he’s a competitor, and he’s going to play like he’s going to play.”
-Brian Waters: “He was going to be throwing up blood or he was going to be playing football. That’s the kind of guy he is.”
- Coach Todd Haley: “He’s got some qualities that are very endearing to me, that I want in my Quarterback. One of those is just the mental toughness, fortitude, and it showed up in a tough two weeks for him.”
There’s no debate: the Chiefs had their swagger back yesterday against the Rams. Finally, the fans seem to want to follow their players’ lead and get behind their Quarterback… and the timing couldn’t be better. The Chiefs will have to feed off the energy created yesterday if they plan to finish what they’ve started. With only two games to play, there’s simply no room for an emotional let-down.
Luckily, the organization, the team and the fans have reason to believe Matt Cassel simply won’t allow that to happen.
* Thomas Jones’ 78 total yards helped him eclipse 10,000 yards rushing and 12,000 yards from scrimmage for his career.