Kansas City Chiefs Stock Watch: Which Players Are Rising and Falling Post Week 3
The fortunes of a bleak season may have been reversed on one 91-yard gallop when Chiefs' star running back Jamaal Charles broke loose and helped the Chiefs to a thrilling 27-24 overtime triumph over the New Orleans Saints.
Charles finished the game with a season-high 233 yards. His efforts may have saved what looked to be a very disappointing season.
The Coaching staff made some solid adjustments at the half and there was much to like about this game.
Kansas City now sits at 1-2. They have a looming battle with division rival San Diego next week and they could inch their way back into the AFC West race with a victory.
Stock Up: Jamaal Charles
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This is a no-brainier. Jamaal Charles looked a little rusty during the first two games of the year, and he even seemed gassed during spots against the Saints on Sunday.
Charles battled through his fatigue while having the best game for an NFL runner so far this season.
The former longhorn carried the ball 33 times for 233 yards and a touchdown. He was a true workhouse.
New Orleans had no answer for the speedy star. He gashed them for chunks of yards at a time and added a 91-yard run that put the Chiefs back in to the game.
This may only be scratching the surface for Charles, who still is recovering from a severe knee injury that occurred last September.
If he can put up an effort like this in Week 3, I feel bad for the league when Charles is fully healthy later on this season.
Stock Even: Matt Cassel
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Matt Cassel showcased the inconsistencies last Sunday that have earned him the ire of the Arrowhead faithful.
He played well in spots against and seemed in control, but it was clear in this game that Cassel is the epitome of game manager.
He finished the contest by throwing for 248 yards and Cassel did a god job of finding receiver Dwayne Bowe often.
Overtime was also friendly to Cassel who did an admirable job of leading the Chiefs into field-goal range.
The Chiefs still need him to raise his level of play if they want to win a playoff game. Something the franchise has not done in almost 20 years.
Stock Up: Coaching Staff
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After a frustrating first half, both coordinators did a fantastic job of making halftime adjustments during this contest, something that seemed missing during the first two games.
Romeo Crennel was being outclassed during the first half by Drew Brees and the Saints offense.
Brees worked with a clean pocket throughout the first two quarters and picked apart the Chiefs' defense, while having over 100 yards passing in the opening quarter alone.
Once the second half began, the Chiefs began to attack the Saints offensive line with a vengeance.
They amassed four sacks in the second half, including three by second-year star Justin Houston.
One of Houston's sacks was a critical safety midway through the final quarter which put the Chiefs within striking distance, and gave them the ball back.
The Chiefs' offense has gained more yards than any team in the league so far, but that number is misleading. Matt Cassel and company have racked up a ton of yardage in garbage time when they are far behind in games.
What is not misleading is offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's new found commitment to the rushing attack that was on display last Sunday.
Jamaal Charles carried the ball 33 times, and a number of those carries were when Kansas City was behind in the contest.
This is a stark contrast to the previous two games when the Chiefs abandoned the run early in games.
With Charles seemingly returning to form as the season goes on, Daboll is going to need to feed the Texas star the football early and often.
Stock Down: Defensive Consistency
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They played a solid defensive second half, but it remains to be seen if the Chiefs can live up to the promise that comes with the level of talent that resides in this unit.
Kansas City boasts a host of talent defensively. In the first two games of this season, they sure haven't played like it.
The second half of the New Orleans victory could be a turning point if they can keep finding ways to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Justin Houston was an absolute beast with three sacks and the Chiefs harassed Drew Brees constantly in the second half.
If Houston and Tamba Hali can create havoc behind the line of scrimmage like they did during the last 30 minutes of Week 3, the Chiefs just may have the goods to compete in the division.
Stock Down: The Secondary
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The Kansas City defensive backs desperately miss free safety Kendrick Lewis, and it has showed during the first couple weeks of this season.
Atlanta torched them in Week 1, and Drew Brees was doing his best to do the same thing on Sunday.
Brandon Flowers is still recovering from his preseason injury which is a big reason why the pass coverage has been horrible thus far.
An improving pass rush means the secondary should get somewhat of a reprieve, but they are going to need to play better than they have during the first three weeks.