Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was placed on injured reserve last week after suffering multiple rib injuries against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. Sunday's loss against the Oakland Raiders was the second time in Bowe's career that he missed a game due to injury.
In his six years in the league since being drafted out of LSU in 2007, Bowe has played 88 games. By the end of this season, he will have missed four games in his career because of injury.
While Bowe continues to miss games, the Chiefs continue to miss his presence and the offense has endured serious setbacks.
Here are examples of two games in which Bowe has suffered injuries during games and did not come back. Pay attention to how the Chiefs moved the ball after Bowe's absence.
Jan 1, 2012 vs Denver, Week 17
Bowe hasn't had his best games against Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. But on the final day of his rookie contract, Bowe knew that he had to make an impact to help his career in the future, whether it would be in Kansas City or another city.
In the first half, Bowe had the best of Bailey. Bowe caught six passes for 93 yards, all in the first half. Kyle Orton threw for 122 yards in the game until Bowe left the game with less than a minute to go due to a neck injury. Bowe never returned and Orton threw for only 58 yards after Bowe's departure from the game.
Dec. 9, 2012 vs Cleveland, Week 14
Brady Quinn and the Chiefs offense looked good early on in this game. After Jamaal Charles gave the team all the momentum when he scored an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, Quinn hooked up with Bowe twice for gains of 20 yards or more on the same drive. Bowe pulled in a 47-yard catch to bring the Chiefs to the red zone.
Despite not being able to finish that drive with a score, the opportunity would not have been there had it not been for Bowe. He caught two passes for 70 yards on that drive in the first quarter, but on the first play of the next drive, Bowe's ribs were not in stable condition and he had to leave the game. Quinn went on to pass for only 89 yards after Bowe's exit.
Although Bowe has been a suspect of dropped passes, he's still managed to be the Chiefs' top receiver. No other Chiefs receiver over the years has been able to step up. Since 2008, the Chiefs brought in Devard Darling, Amani Toomer, Bobby Wade, Chris Chambers and Jon Baldwin as No. 2 receivers, and yet, none of them have made any significant impact to help carry the passing game.
Darling, Toomer, Wade and Chambers all had short-lived tenures in Kansas City while Baldwin, a first-round pick from Pittsburgh in 2011, is still a work in progress.
Bowe hasn't been perfect in Kansas City. However, he's the best they've had since 2007 and no other receiver has been able to get the job done. It wasn't long ago—2010 to be exact—when Bowe led the league in receiving touchdowns with 15.
Without Bowe, the Chiefs have a big hole within their receiving corps.
The Chiefs can use the franchise tag on him again, even after giving to him this past offseason.
The Chiefs already have enough on their plate with glaring needs in many areas, and losing Bowe will only make things worse. If the Chiefs keep Bowe and bring in a viable option at quarterback before next season—either through the draft or free agency—Bowe's motivation to stay in Kansas City will be there.