Cassel has been fighting an uphill battle since his arrival in K.C. one that even Rodney Dangerfield wouldn't be jealous of. He's not flashy and Ben Stein may be a better interview, but the Chiefs' starting QB is quietly putting together a very special season. And although he won't garner any Pro Bowl votes, Cassel's 2010 season should put the starting QB conversations to rest.
I know Cassel has statistically had better games, but Sunday's performance in Seattle was, in my opinion, the best we have seen of the Chiefs' QB to date. Cassel was comfortable in the pocket, used lob passes and check downs, laid himself out for blocks, and even out rushed the entire Seahawks offense.
This was the kind of gutsy performance I have been waiting to see from Cassel since the Chiefs sent a second-round draft pick to New England for the perennial backup.
Cassel's 210 passing yards per game is not going to turn any heads, but his touchdown to interception ratio is outstanding. In his last seven games, Cassel has passed for 18 touchdowns and only one interception, which is the best in the NFL during that time period by a wide margin.
But Cassel isn't the only Chiefs player who has been on a mission to change their underachieving perception.
Despite having his best training camp to date, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe had many in Chiefs Nation clamoring for his outright release after some early season blunders and bobbles that could have had an impact on the Chiefs win-loss record. But head coach Todd Haley stuck by his renovated receiver and the result has been a Pro Bowl caliber season from the man formally known as "The Show".
Quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe have shared this end zone celebration 14 times this season.
Bowe's newly found focus and dedication were put on display in Seattle on Sunday as some raucous Seahawk fans were giving the Chiefs wideout a hefty ribbing after a 3rd quarter touchdown catch. Not to be swayed from his vow of silence, Bowe stood, turned to the fans, bowed, and without saying a word, returned to his seat on the bench.
This guy is a completely different player than the one we associate with the "importing" scandal. Bowe has a proven coach in Haley that has the uncanny ability to take underachieving yet talented receivers and turn them into superstars. And Bowe has bought in completely.
It seemed as though Bowe's career was on the skids when Haley took over in ‘09. He spent much of the season riding the pine and ended the year with a paltry 4 touchdowns. And through 11 games in 2010, Bowe has already broken the Chiefs all-time record for TD receptions and is currently leading the league with 14.
Bowe and Cassel are a dynamic duo, but if this team is going to make a push for a playoff spot in January they are going to have to get more production from some other receivers.
Bowe had 13 catches on Sunday but no other Chiefs receiver had more than 3. The Chiefs have an amazing rushing attack, which they can ride to some low scoring victories, but this team is going to get caught with their hands in their pockets if/when teams start finding ways to take Bowe out of the game.
Adding Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki back into the fold will help ease some of the focus away from Bowe in the coming weeks.
Cassel and Bowe have made many strides and they will need to continue to make more if this Chiefs team wants to be a legitimate contender. But they have proven week in and week out that they can be counted upon to help will this team to victory.
And although some of us in the media and around the Chiefs Kingdom are sitting with our foot in our mouth and egg on our face today, I for one am more than happy to be eating a crow and heel omelet.