But now that the game is in the books, it's time to shift the attention towards another receiver who is rapidly ascending under Haley's tutelage: the Chiefs' own Dwayne Bowe.
Bowe finished Sunday's game with six catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns, marking the third time in the last six games that he's gone over 100 yards. His performance also marked his franchise-record sixth consecutive game with a TD catch, though he actually has ten scores in that span.
Perhaps most impressively, Sunday marked the first time this season that neither Tony Moeaki or Dexter McCluster were on the field to draw some of the defense's attention away. The opposing secondary had no one but Bowe to worry about, and they still couldn't stop him from coming up big.
It's important to note that Bowe's emergence as a top-flight receiver comes on the heels of a fairly disappointing start to the 2010 season. After the first four games of the year, his stat line was just nine receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown – numbers that elite NFL receivers can put up in a single afternoon.
Worse yet, he dropped a key touchdown pass against Indianapolis, which was replayed ad nauseum on all the NFL highlight shows. Bowe's history of drops has been well-documented, and combining that missed touchdown with his modest stats had any number of Chiefs fans ready to climb off his bandwagon for good.
For his part, Haley continued to sing Bowe's praises, even as the criticism mounted. The head coach routinely pointed out all the work Bowe had done in becoming a great blocker in the run game, and even though the receiving stats weren't there, Haley repeatedly insisted that Bowe's "arrow" was "pointing up".
It looks like he was right.
Perhaps Bowe wanted to refute those early-season disappointments, or maybe it was just the inevitable result of all the work Haley spoke of. But whatever the case may be, since the Colts' game, Bowe has roared back with the greatest stretch of his pro career.
Extrapolated over a full season, his yardage over the last six games would be a few hundred yards short of the all-time single-season record, and his amount of touchdowns would actually set a brand new mark.
Best of all, if Bowe can continue his hot streak, the returns of Moeaki and specifically McCluster may prove to be a nice jolt for the Chiefs' offense down the stretch. An offense that averaged 19.25 points per game over the first month of the season just scored 31 on Sunday, and that was without either of the talented rookies making a contribution in the passing game.
If opposing defenses can't slow down Bowe now, how will they fare when they have to start accounting for a game-breaker like McCluster, all while trying to stop the Chiefs' league-leading run game?
Chiefs fans have been teased by Bowe's potential too many times to get their hopes up too high. But after a year and a half of the same prodding that made Fitzgerald one of the NFL's best, maybe we're finally seeing Bowe become the superstar we always hoped he could be.
Has Bowe Finally Arrived?
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