Charles Is in Charge, but Matt Cassel is Still the Key To Chiefs Winning

James AdkinsCorrespondent IINovember 24, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Chiefs defeated the Steelers 27-24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are in the midst of something they haven't enjoyed since October of 2007—a two-game winning streak.

New Head Coach Todd Haley has made more than his fair share of mistakes while learning the ropes as a first-year head coach this season. The team is full of young inexperienced players, and has endured the loss of team leaders with the release of a disgruntled former star and the suspension of a current one.

Needless to say, it's worth getting excited about when this young Chiefs team can string together a couple of wins. The question now is: Can they keep winning?

The Chiefs are winning because they are finally learning to play together, trusting their coach, and trusting one another. 

Earlier this season, they were losing games because their opponents were making big plays far more frequently than the Chiefs were. Over the course of the past two weeks, however, the Chiefs have been the ones making the big plays.

Big plays breed confidence, and nothing is more important to a young inexperienced team than confidence.

No player on the Chiefs' roster has injected more confidence into this team than running back and kick returner Jamaal Charles. Charles has accounted for a 44-yard touchdown run and a 97-yard return for a touchdown during this Chiefs' winning streak.  

Charles has provided the spark for his team the past two weeks.

Defensively, the Chiefs have been embattled all season long. They continue to allow huge chunks of yards to their opponents, but they are beginning to come up with big plays when they need them.

In Oakland, safety Mike Brown sealed that victory with a late interception. This week, against the Steelers, linebacker Andy Studebaker made two key interceptions that setup 10 points for the Chiefs.

So moving forward, what do the Chiefs need to do to continue winning?

The easy answer would be to say that they need to continue getting the ball to Charles, and relying on players on defense to create turnovers.

Sure, it would be nice if Charles and the Chiefs defense can continue to do what they've done the past two weeks, but it's far more likely that the Chiefs will need to look elsewhere for a consistent source of big plays. 

That place is the passing game and quarterback Matt Cassel.

Cassel, with only six interceptions to his 12 touchdowns, has done a fairly good job of not turning the ball over. However, he has completed only 55 percent of his passes, has been sacked 34 times, and has made way too many drive-killing decisions this season.

Cassel appears to have developed a strong rapport with the recently acquired Chris Chambers. In addition to Charles, the emergence of Chambers in the passing game has been key to the success of the Chiefs' offense the past two weeks.

With Dwayne Bowe sidelined for another three weeks however, Cassel needs to develop a consistent second option in the passing game. Whether that threat is receiver Lance Long, tight end Leornard Pope, or Charles out of the backfield, Cassel needs to have another target he can rely upon for five catches a game.

Whether the Chiefs can extend their winning streak to three games this week in San Diego remains to be seen. The recipe for success is there, they just have to continue to build on the confidence that's gotten them to this point.

There shouldn't be any doubt that the Chiefs should fare much better in their final six games, than their first six. If not for the Chiefs' 0-6 start to the season, we might be talking about a run at a wildcard spot.