The Kansas City Chiefs stopped the bleeding Sunday by taking it to the Arizona Cardinals after losing two straight games to AFC West opponents.
The victory was key as it enabled the Chiefs to snatch sole possession of first place in the AFC West back from the Oakland Raiders who fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in embarrassing fashion.
It was truly a team effort with solid performances by the offense, defense and special teams but there were a few stand outs and they receiver our Week 11 game balls.
There were solid performances from Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, as well as an outstanding performance by WR Dwayne Bowe but the day belonged to Cassel. The Chiefs QB had perhaps his best performance since coming to Kansas City. Cassel didn’t put up flashy numbers but he was extremely efficient, throwing 15 completions in 24 attempts for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Even more impressive was Cassel’s poise in the pocket. It is true the Cardinals did not generate much pressure but Cassel looked cool and confident in the pocket. He did a nice job of finding WR Dwayne Bowe, which is remarkable considering how depleted the Chiefs are at the receiver position.
When I have been most critical of Cassel it has been for his accuracy and decision making, however yesterday I can’t recall a single bad pass by the Chiefs QB. If Cassel can continue to play at this level on the road and against stouter defenses, the questions about his ability will quickly evaporate.
After getting torched by the Denver Broncos a week ago, the Chiefs secondary responded very well against a talented Arizona receiving core.
A quick glance at the box score will make it look as though the Chiefs struggled against the pass but one must look a little deeper to get the whole story.
Derrick Anderson passed for 293 yards, however 92 of those yards came on the Cardinals’ final drive in garbage time and the Chiefs were without CB Brandon Flowers who had left with an injury.
The Chiefs were also putting blitzing Anderson all day which put extra pressure on the secondary. KC sacked Anderson twice but hit him 7 times and the secondary defended 4 passes.
Anderson may be a bad QB but the Chiefs responded well to an Arizona team that came out determined to test them down field.
Fitzgerald was targeted 11 times but caught only 6 passes.
Breaston was targeted 12 times and caught only 5 passes. 3 of those passes, including his only touchdown of the day, came on the last drive in garbage time when Flowers was on the bench.
Roberts was targeted 11 times and caught only 6.
Take time to consider that the Chiefs have 3 rookies playing in their secondary. Berry, Lewis and Arenas are all still extremely green and when the Chiefs are playing a team like Arizona that loves to throw the football, these guys are on the field for most of the game. The Chiefs will be susceptible to the big play for the rest of the season but yesterday we saw that they can still be effective when the front 7 create pressure.
They deserve a game ball for this bounce back performance.
I have to go with Dustin Colquitt on this one. The Chiefs punter kept KC’s field position manageable all day long. He has 1 punt inside the 20 and averaged 52.8 yards per punt. He also had a long of 64 yards.
He did have 2 touchbacks but one was a beauty with a nice back spin that went just a few inches too far. It was a pretty windy day at Arrowhead so Colquitt had a nice day considering the environment.
By comparison, Cardinals punter Billy Graham averaged only 47.6 yards on his punts.