Matt Cassel looked to his right and completed a quick pass to Jamaal Charles just before getting drilled by a pair of Baltimore Ravens defensive linemen. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback stayed on the ground after the hit, requiring medical attention for what was diagnosed as a concussion.
Although the Chiefs were hanging tough with one of the best teams in the AFC, some Kansas City Chiefs fans seemed thrilled to see their starting quarterback helped off the field with the apparent injury.
Kansas City has had a miserable start to their 2012 season, sitting at the bottom of the AFC West with a 1-4 record. The Chiefs were expected to compete for the division title this season, and Matt Cassel was expected to lead the offense along with Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.
In the Chiefs' four losses, Matt Cassel threw only five touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. In their only win of the season, he did not throw for a touchdown. For the season, Cassel has been sacked 13 times and has a quarterback rating of only 66.2, well below his career average of 85.0.
While it would be hard to blame Matt Cassel for all of the Kansas City Chiefs' failures in 2012, fans have to find someone to blame. The most popular player on any losing team is always the backup quarterback, and that is the case in Kansas City as well.
Perhaps the fans who cheered while Cassel was being helped off of the field on Sunday were not cheering because Cassel was injured, but cheering for change—cheering that bringing in backup quarterback Brady Quinn would somehow turn around their miserable season and right the ship somehow.
Fans live in the here and now, in this "What have you done for me lately?" world we live in. It was just two seasons ago, in 2010, that Cassel led the Chiefs to a 10-6 record and the AFC West Division title. The quarterback threw 27 touchdowns to only seven interceptions and was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
Kansas City fans now have their wish. Matt Cassel did not practice on Wednesday and has not been cleared by doctors to participate in their Week 6 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he cannot play on Sunday, the Chiefs will start Brady Quinn at quarterback.
Time will tell whether or not Quinn is able to save the Chiefs season, but his track record is much worse than that of the man fans were happy to see helped off the field in Week 5. Quinn has thrown only 10 touchdowns in his NFL career to go along with nine interceptions. Before replacing Cassel in Week 5, he had not taken a regular season snap since his days in Cleveland in 2009.
Matt Cassel may have been cheered for being taken off the field in Week 5, but it would not be surprising to see him cheered in Week 8 if he is able to come back and replace an ineffective Quinn as the starting quarterback.