His fourth quarter 52-yard bomb to Dwayne Bowe was the difference in this game. And if there was any doubt that Cassel's sideline rant in the first half with head coach Todd Haley had an impact on his performance, one needs to believe that Cassel had a point to make. But it wasn't Cassel's bleeped out words that won the day, it was his right arm and leadership that set the tone for the Chiefs' first victory of the 2011 season.
Cassel wasn't the only man to stand up and deliver on offense. Dwayne Bowe led the Chiefs with five catches for 107 yards. The man who helped Bowe deal with single coverage all afternoon was Steve Breaston.
The former Arizona Cardinal had four catches for 91 yards including a 42-yard catch that set up one of five Ryan Succop field goals. With Breaston contributing again and rookie Jonathan Baldwin a week or two from getting back on the field, this offense – even without a running game – has some weapons.
The fact that Cassel and company were able to overcome Jared Allen's modern day Purple People Eaters all game long was enough to tell me that this offense certainly has some promise in a winnable game next week at Indianapolis.
If Cassel can find his groove much as he did a year ago at this time, he might be able to lead the Chiefs back into the AFC West title chase. Should Succop continue to go five for five on field goal attempts, virtually anything is possible for this Chiefs offense.
The Chiefs' defense, even with the loss of safety Eric Berry, had another solid game. Like a week ago in San Diego, they came to play and held off a late Vikings rally.
Tamba Hali led the Chiefs' defense with a pair of sacks and his pursuit of Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb was enough to stop Minnesota's late-game surge.
Even though this football team has yet to identify another pass rusher, as a unit they played their best game of the season. From the opening snap to their game-saving defensive stand, they were flying all over the field. When they gave up a big play, they came back each series and made adjustments.
Kansas City also held All Pro running back Adrian Peterson to 80 yards on 23 carries. It's that kind of run defense that wins football games.
So what does this all mean?
It means the Chiefs might have more to say than we thought in the coming weeks. They'll head to Indianapolis next Sunday to face a Peyton Manning-less team that they should defeat.
If that happens, they'll head into the bye week with a 2-3 record and the season could ultimately be turned around thanks to a weak AFC West.
The Chargers are the class of the division but they aren't hitting on all cylinders. After a favorable early season schedule that featured a trio of home games, the Chargers will suffer through three road games during their bye week stretch.
That could be enough for the Chiefs to sneak back into contention in the AFC West.
Had anyone told me that was even remotely possible after the Chiefs started the season 0-3, I would have laughed it off as utter nonsense.
This week Chiefs fullback Le'Ron McClain said his team would rip off five straight wins to finish the second quarter of the season at 5-3. Sunday in Kansas City, it appeared the rest of his teammates were willing to back up that prediction.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Do the Chiefs have hope?
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