Chiefs vs. Falcons: Earning Their Arrowheads

The Kansas City Chiefs may have been on the wrong end of a butt-whooping from the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday but there were still plenty of positive performances that should have Chiefs fans feeling encouraged.

Here are the players I thought earned their Arrowheads against the Atlanta Falcons.

1. Matt Cassel

Yep. And the folks that are out there trashing Cassel are flat out wrong. I have been one of Cassel’s biggest critics. I recognize his limitations. I even lobbied for the Chiefs to find a way to trade up to draft RG3, which by the way, was a damn fine idea.

Matt Cassel led the Chiefs on drives on 53-yards, 76-yards, 80 yards, 58 yards and 73 yards (though the last was in garbage time).

Do you know how many drives the KC offense failed on yesterday? Four. On the other five processions (not the one-play run at the end of the half), the Chiefs offense did its job, either scoring or putting themselves in position to score (stupid kicker).

What is perhaps most impressive is that this offensive group, under Daboll, have been together only one game. This unit has new starters and key role players all over the field. Kevin Boss, Peyton Hillis, Rodney Hudson and Eric Winston. Jon Baldwin is getting an expanded role and Tony Moeaki didn’t play last season.

The pressure placed on this offensive group was simply too great. They had to be flawless to have any chance in this game. Their defensive counterparts let them down and they eventually tried to do too much. Cassel included.

But trust me, by the time the wheels came off the offense yesterday, the game was already over.

There have been plenty of horrid performances from Matt Cassel. Yesterday was not one of them.

2. Jamaal Charles

Charles is back, baby! He looked great yesterday against a quality opponent.

3. Dexter McCluster

McCluster continues his revival tour. The Chiefs have too many weapons, and McCluster’s sharp route running and sure hands are going to be a thorn in the side of defenses all season long.

4. Kevin Boss

What a catch by Kevin Boss. The throw by Cassel was perfect and Boss brought it in.

5. Dontari Poe

Poe mad his first NFL start and did a fine job. Sure, the Falcons didn’t test the KC run defense much but when they did, the Chiefs stopped them. Poe seemed to be holding well at the point of attack and he even flashes some ability when he burst into the backfield, making a tackle for a loss. The rookie did enough to earn another start, even if Anthony Toribio comes back.

6. Brian Daboll

As I mentioned above, I don’t blame the offense one iota for yesterday’s loss. You can always get better but Daboll’s boys were a victim of circumstances. If the defense even played halfway decent, Atlanta would not have been able to be so aggressive in the second half and the offense likely would have continued to move the ball.

7. Justin Houston

Justin Houston managed to get to the QB despite the fact that the Falcons knew KC had no other legitimate pass rushing threat. Houston is a play-maker and when Tamba and Flowers get back, he’s going to shine even brighter.

All right, Addicts. Those are the guys I think earned their Arrowheads Sunday. Despite the loss, who do you think played well?

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Turces Pim

    Nope, Matt Cassel is still terrible. He is the very definition of a roller coaster player. Still makes 5 bad throws for every good one, and lacks any kind of accuracy. As long the most important position on the team is filled with an inconsistent roller coaster ride of a quarter back, this team will be up and down all year. Again.

    • TheDude415

      Did you even watch the game? It’s so annoying how everyone who doesn’t know much about football just jumps all over the QB every time a team loses. Cassel is no Brady but he made 2 bad throws yesterday tops. His TD pass, 2 big passes to Bowe and many others were perfect as far as accuracy goes, and the announcers even commented how accurate he was several times. If cassel plays how he did yesterday and the defense can start making stops (which it will w/ all our starters back) then we will score a lot of points and win a lot of games.

      • Patrick Allen

        Thought Cassel did excellent for the most part. He needs to stay cool even when the team is behind but to be fair, once Atlanta got up two scores they were able to play a little bit more recklessly on D than they had when the game was tied. That is why Succop’s miss matters. Succop’s miss and Albert whiffing on that block just killed the Chiefs.

        • ArrowFan

          Special teams where horrid and I don’t think we can blame missing players or injuries on that one.

      • Turces Pim

        Yes, i did watch the game, i havnt missed one since 1989. I played football from the time i was 15 until i was 25, and still play some sandlot, so i do know some things about football. And i know that Cassel is not responsible for the defenses horrid play, but i do know from experience that the quarterback is the catalyst for the entire team. And as long as you have a Yo-Yo at the qb position the whole team will play as such.

        My remarks however were more focused towards Cassel’s play over his career and not just yesterdays game. How many times does Cassel throw to a wide open receiver and the receiver has to make a major adjustment to get to the ball? Those precious seconds wasted adjusting to badly thrown balls is why the play makers cant make any plays. They are getting tackled as soon as the ball gets to them, instead of in stride were they can use their abilities. Cassel is so limited in his ability to throw the ball down the field that i seriously dont understand how he has a job in the NFL.

        Name one starting QB in this league that you would take Cassel over. There are two that are maybe a wash but other than that every team in the NFL has a better starting QB than the Chiefs.

        • ArrowFan

          Come on name me one pass that he threw yesterday that fits your precious seconds wasted? He was dead on tossing lasers and the TD to Boss was not only long but spot on. There are only 8 to 10 QB’s I would rather have right now starting.

        • TheDude415

          I agree completely with ArrowFan. And to say Cassel is perfect is ridiculous but to say he is terrible is even more ridiculous. Arrowfan said it best but his accuracy is pretty damn good for the most part, people blame him for the dink and dunk passes last year but it’s pretty obvious now that that was on Haley and the playcalling. And yeah I can thinkin of waay more QB’s I wouldn’t want than I could QB’s I would want instead of Cassel

        • KCMikeG

          Go back and watch the game again. Cassel’s TD pass to Boss was a perfect laser placed right into his hands while he was running full speed. His touch pass to Breaston between two leaping DB was a thing of beauty. He made one bad throw the entire game.

          Get a clue. I’ll take Cassel over Kolb, Skelton, Dalton, Palmer, Weeden (4 picks kcjim!!), Tannehill, Wilson, Locker, Hasselbeck, Ponder, Sanchez, Vick, Bradford, Rothlisberger, Freeman, Fitzpatrick and Phyllis Rivers.

    • Jesse o

      He was 13 of 16 with two touchdowns at half.I hate Cassel as much as the next guy, but he played well yesterday, by no means was the ass whipping his fault, the defense was horrible,I haven’t seen a worse defense since 2003, and they might of been better.don’t fault Cassel, yesterday I was pretty proud to have him as our qb. Just got caught down to much, and tried to force things.

  • jimfromkc

    Pat, most of you are missing the mark. To become a winner in the big games, your off and def lines must become a well oiled machine. The Chiefs have a makeshift of square pegs in round holes ( Albert, Hudson and Dorsey) Then you have rookies as your backups (Stephenson, Allen and Poe) Then you have a really good player at RT who has never played in a real game with this bunch. So to have expectations that these guys will be elite is unrealistic. I thought they played rather better than I expected yesterday. If I had my druthers, I would be looking for a franchise LT so I could move Albert over to LG. I would also get a new head coach and new coordinaters. Cassel is a tease, he will give you just enough good plays to make you think he will get better. Sooner or later, you will have to quit making exzcuses for him. He is 29 and has started enough games to get a handle on what kind of QB he is. Frankly I think we have seen his best and his worst, and his worst is horrible and his best is just average.

    • ArrowFan

      I wonder what your assessment would have been at half time?

  • wolfpack

    I would give a arrowhead to Reeves for his ability to fool pioli and romeo that he can play corner.

  • Calchiefsfan

    Man I wish you guys would stop ragging on Cassel. He is what he is and the whining is just getting so old. It was a good game if you’re Matt Cassel, not so good if you’re Manning or Brady. Then again look at the great games that Brees, Roethlisberger, Stafford and Vick had yesterday. Cassel looked a heck of a lot better than he did last year. I didn’t see anybody in this draft, other than Luck and RG3, that could do any better.

    Our o line needs to come together which will come with more time together as a unit, (I’ll be glad when Jeff Allen replaces Lilja). Cassel will get his timing down better with his receivers. Charles will get to 100%. He looked good but he’s not there yet. He would have taken that long run to the house in 2010. The whole offense, including Daboll, will continue to improve as the year progresses.

    You’re not going to stop a prolific passing offense like Atlanta’s when you’re missing your #1 CB, pro bowl pass rusher and your starting free safety. Plus it was clear that DJ was not 100%. We get our guys back next week, hopefully, and they will be much, much better.

    I’m sticking with my prediction of 10-6 and the AFC West championship.

  • ArrowFan

    My biggest concern coming out of this one is our Special Teams. Can we not find some guys who can block a little on kick off returns or do teams just not practice that anymore?

    • DoubleD

      Agreed and I am not too impressed having Arenas back there either. I think our KR/PR depth chart ought to look like this:
      Devon Wylie
      Javier Arenas
      Dexter McCluster
      For starters, Wylie has the best speed and elusiveness of the 3. Besides, at this point, why even take a chance getting Arenas (or McCluster for that matter) hurt as a returner? I’m just tired of seeing Arenas playing so conservatively as a returner. Never shows much burst, not very elusive. To sum it up, Arenas is pretty boring as a returner.
      If it all turns out to be too big for Wylie, then go back to the current depth chart I guess.

      • Calchiefsfan

        Agree, agree and agree. Wylie should be our returner on kickoffs and punts. He looked better than Arenas in the preseason.

  • DoubleD

    I wouldn’t give an arrowhead to either Daboll or Crennel. The way to attack the Falcons defense was straight up the middle. That was exactly what they needed to do and that’s exactly what succeeded in the first half. As soon as the Chiefs attempted to go outside the hashmarks with the ball, whether running it with Charles outside the tackles or trying to pass it, things started to quickly unravel. I would have been running Hillis and Draughn up the middle all day long, and the rest of the time tossing crossing patterns and short posts to the likes of McCluster, Breaston, Hillis, Charles, Moeaki, and Boss. Do it until they stop you.
    On the defensive side of the ball, I think some the core matchups were completely misplayed. For instance, instead of keeping our best available edge rusher (Houston) at LOLB, we should have lined him up on the opposite side where Hali would normally play, which also just so happens to be the Falcons OL weakest spot, i.e., Left Tackle! Instead of putting Berry on Gonzalez, I would have been blitzing him straight up the middle on just about every passing down. Ryan had way way way too much time to set up elaborate plays. I would have kept Routt in single on Jones, doubled up White, put slower guys like Belcher and Elam on Gonzalez (who is going to catch the ball anyway no matter who is covering him . . . just needs to wrapped up quickly after the catch) and then probably DJ to cover Douglas over the middle and otherwise blitz whenever the opportunity presented itself.
    I didn’t see anything we did in terms of defensive gameplanning or scheming that particularly impressed me.
    I would have loved for the Chiefs to find a way to win this game but I’m not going to worry too much about this loss. It was a non-conference loss against a good offense where our defense was hobbled by a lack of key playmakers. The Chiefs are still a good team that I expect to get better once we get Flowers, Hali, Lewis, and all the rest back on the field.

  • DoubleD

    I think we need to think about a new kicker at some point also. I’ve personally seen enough of Succop struggling to make kicks that are more than 40 yards. Seriously. That key miss yesterday really took the wind out of everybody’s sails. Believe me, you could just feel the disappointment and sense of despair set in at Arrowhead when that happened.

    • sidibeke

      I wonder about this, too. He struggled early last year but then got that behind him. If this 1 miss turns into another down period…well, KC should probably start shopping now just in case.

  • sidibeke

    There is a lot to be excited for still. O was unstoppable and, to my knowledge, Atl wasn’t missing any of their key D players.

    Buf strength is the run. Flowers will hopefully be back; Hali WILL be back. The Jets, who don’t have the O weapons as KC, hung 48 points on them.

    I know every week is different, flow of the game and all, but all signs point to a strong showing next Sunday.

    I’d like to see 1-1 with some confidence heading into NO and see what a, hopefully, mostly healthy Chief team can do in the big easy.