After all, it was the longest run by Jones in his 11-year career. Dwayne Bowe had great blocks throughout the entire game, which set up big gains for the Chiefs' runners, including the aforementioned run by Jones.
The Chiefs entered the game with the NFL's best rushing attack, averaging about 165 yards a game. They easily eclipsed that mark, as their 236 combined rushing yards was the team's best effort so far this season. Jones finished the game with 125 yards on 20 carries. Meanwhile, his speedy counterpart Jamaal Charles registered 71 yards on 15 carries with his own touchdown.
Even Dexter McCluster saw action as the feature tailback in a few plays, and even took the snap as quarterback in a wildcat formation. He technically took the place of Chris Chambers in the Chiefs' game plan after Chambers was scratched from the game for unclear reasons. Prior to the game Sunday, the Chiefs' coaching staff made it clear that they needed to utilize McCluster more, and they lived up to that proposal. He delivered in both the run and receiving game, making big gains such as a 15-yard run and an 11-yard catch.
With some assistance from Derrick Johnson's 15-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Chiefs' offense survived the temporary shootout. The only roadblock they experienced came when McCluster appeared to have suffered a high ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. That took the Chiefs' best weapon out of commission for the remainder of the game and left Cassel to go back to square one in planning how to seal the victory.
Thomas Jones ran for 125 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday.
Cassel mixed it up and made rare connections to Terrence Copper and Mike Cox, both of which resulted in big first downs. Cassel displayed his ability to improvise – a talent that he needs to showcase a whole lot more.
Cassel didn't perform nearly as well as he did last week against the Houston Texans, but there's no doubt that he was effective in leading his team to victory. The Chiefs expect Cassel to be simple and not turn the ball over, not necessarily expect him to throw 300 yards in every game. He finished the game 13 of 18 for193 yards and two touchdowns. On paper it seemed like Cassel didn't accomplish much, but when watching the game, his play really showed through.
A weird little occurrence happened around the 11 minute mark of the quarter when the Chiefs were up 28-20. Going for it on 4th and 3, the Chiefs failed to convert on 24-yard line and didn't opt to kick a field goal. Regardless, this didn't end the game for the Chiefs; it was just another example of Todd Haley and his gutsy play calling. He was hoping to stick it to the Jaguars, and he got his chance later on.
The Chiefs just about secured the win with a Cassel pass to a wide-open Bowe in the back of the end zone. The catch by Bowe went under review after a challenge by Jacksonville but video replay only showcased Bowe's athleticism; he had clear possession and dragged both feet – a textbook example for being an NFL wide receiver. It was Bowe's second touchdown of the game, both being equally impressive in showcasing his talents once he gets the ball from Cassel.
It wasn't the last time the Chiefs scored. Just a couple minutes later, the Chiefs sent a message by letting Jackie Battle give the Jaguars the business. Battle reached right over the line to score on short yardage. A brawl broke out in a scrum which got Cassel so fired up that he had to be hauled away by his teammates. This was when Haley stuck it to Jacksonville and put an exclamation point on the team's fourth win of the
Fourth string running back Jackie Battle leaps into the end zone in the fourth quarter.
The victory matches the amount of victories from the entire 2009 season. So far this season the Chiefs have compiled three games with 400 yards or more of total offense, matching the clubs' total from last year.
That's what impressed me the most about Cassel on Sunday. Last year, we didn't see Cassel being aggressive or picking fights. It's now apparent that Cassel's aggressive head coach has changed his personality in how to lead the team. A head coach barking at a referee over blown calls can only go so far, but the team's leader on the field throwing punches and talking trash go even further.
This impressive showing by the Chiefs' offense made one thing clear: Cassel is the leader on this offense and he's so willing to win that he'll go the extra mile for his teammates. While he didn't really accomplish much in the beginning of the game, Cassel woke up and let the Chiefs' offense fly high at Arrowhead on Sunday afternoon.
Chiefs fans won't see many showings where Cassel tosses a handful of touchdowns for boatloads of yardage, but they should expect to see victories where their quarterback does just enough to get the job done.