The Chiefs had a golden opportunity to rally around their injured QB or even his replacement but the game plan Weis came up with was built around playing not to lose. The Chargers anticipated a conservative approach given the extent of time Croyle has been off the field and the Weis and Haley played right into San Diego's plans.
On Friday when Charlie Weis talked to reporters he indicated nothing was going to change within the game plan.. But when the Chiefs fell behind early on the road in Denver, Matt Cassel was unleashed and had a career afternoon throwing four touchdowns and passing for more than 450 yards. On the flip side, when Croyle fell behind 21-0, Weis was stubbornly committed to the running game late in the 3rd quarter.
This says a lot about the faith the offensive coaches have in Cassel, and how little they have in Croyle. He also could see early in this game that the Chargers offense was in sync early. And he could have adjusted his approach mid game. But he didn't. Or more direct wouldn't.
In the defense of Weis, Croyle has been riding the pine for some time. Croyle's 7/17, 40 yard day is going to put any QB controversy conversations to rest but it's not as if this staff put him a good position to win.
After the past two seasons, no one expected anything out of this Chiefs squad and after exceeding everyone's expectations this year they were sitting with a two game lead in the AFC West with just four games left on the schedule. The Chiefs were playing with house money and instead of gambling with Croyle they folded despite having three aces in hand.
Croyle is a gunslinger built of the same lineage of Brett Farve. He is going to take some sacks that he shouldn't as a result of trying to do too much and he will make some errant throws but his arm is second to none. By holding Brodie's strength in check and forcing this team to be one dimensional, they allowed the San Diego defense to roll over them without even putting up a fight.
The Chiefs bland offensive game plan handcuffed Croyle all afternoon.
But seeing how it took Haley and Weis midway through the season to allow Cassel to start calling audible's I suppose it should be no surprise.
If Croyle had been given the green light however, it could have created a lot of conversations this week on who the starting QB should be. By keeping Croyle in check, the team nipped any talks in the bud.
Regardless of the play calling the offense struggled all night. The team simply played with little inspiration which was a total shock. But it says a lot about what Matt Cassel means to this football team. Without their chosen leader, the Chiefs offense went 0 for 11 on 3rd downs and totaled just 67 yards of offense. Considering the Chiefs average 165 rushing per game, there is no longer any doubt that Cassel is the leader of this team.
There was talk early in the week that Cassel may try to gut through the pain and lace up on Sunday and luckily for him the pain was just too much. The Chiefs offensive line put up their worst performance of as Croyle was under duress for the majority of the afternoon.
The truth is Croyle never had a chance but his time in the limelight is over. Cassel is the glue that holds this team together and they will need him to return next weekend when the Chiefs stay on the road against another team fighting for their play off lives in St. Louis.
Cassel's numbers are not chart topping but they are consistent. But maybe we need to look at Cassel from a different angle and under a different light. With all of the new weapons added to the offense this past offseason many in the media including myself thought that the team was winning despite the play of the quarterback.
Turns out, the QB was winning in spite of them.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
It's clear Matt Cassel is the glue to KC's offense.