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?