Eleven days after an emergency appendectomy, quarterback Matt Cassel is back in the red and gold to lead try and lead his Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs for only the second time in six years.
Just one week after a shutout loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Chiefs take a trip down I-70 for their last road game of the regular season.
With memories fresh in the minds of the players and fans of the abysmal showing from Brodie Croyle and the Chiefs last week, everyone waited anxiously next to their televisions and radios to see whether team leader Matt Cassel would be playing.
Early on, we heard reports that he would be inactive. But 30 minutes before kickoff, Matt Cassel appeared on the field to warm up with his team.
Kansas City won the kickoff and elected to give the ball to the Rams first. This was a clear sign to St. Louis that Romeo Crenell was ready for anything the Rams had to offer.
Getting off to a speedy start, the Rams drove down the field on a nine-minute, well-managed drive by rookie QB Sam Bradford. The Chiefs were able to stay strong, however, only allowing the Rams a field goal.
Kansas City got the ball and quickly punted it back to St. Louis, allowing Bradford and company get another field goal.
The Chiefs have not been quick starters this season: KC has only scored a touchdown in the first quarter of a game five times this season. This game was no exception.
During the Chiefs' first nice drive down the field, near the end of the first quarter, Matt Cassel attempted to force the ball to TE Tony Moeaki and was intercepted for the fifth time this season.
The Chiefs did not score a touchdown until midway through the second quarter. A nice floater-pass to Dwayne Bowe set up a two-yard TD lob to backup TE Leonard Pope, putting Kansas City up 7-6.
On the next Kansas City possession, the Chiefs moved the ball downfield on nine plays, capping it all off with a two-yard touchdown run off the left tackle by Jamaal Charles.
The Chiefs rush into halftime with a 14-6 lead over their in-state rivals.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop added the only points in the third quarter, drilling a 53-yard field goal to tie his career long.
To start off the fourth quarter, Matt Cassel threw a bullet to Dwayne Bowe for 28 yards, setting up another Ryan Succop field goal, this one from 38 yards out.
With four minutes left in the game, Rams running back Steven Jackson ran the ball in from five yards out for St. Louis' only touchdown of the game.
Jamaal Charles responded with an 80-yard dash to the 2-yard line, and his partner-in-crime, Thomas Jones, jumped into the end zone to make the final score Kansas City: 27, St. Louis 13.
This was a good showing by Kansas City. I had my doubts that Matt Cassel would be able to come in and be effective so soon after surgery, but he was looking 100 percent almost the entire game.
Cassel went 15-of-29 for 184 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He also added a couple of nice scampers out of the pocket to move the line forward. Add that to a stellar performace on the ground from Charles and Jones, powering forward for almost 190 yards on the ground, you have yourself a nice offensive showing.
The Defense did it today, too. They held pro-bowl RB Steven Jackson to only 67 yards and a touchdown (which came late in the fourth quarter). Rookie Safety Kendrick Lewis came away with two interceptions, helping the defense hold against the Rams attack.
All season, Kansas City have played well against big-name running backs, holding Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster and now Steven Jackson under 100 yards rushing. The problem comes when no-name running backs like Donald Brown and Knowshon Moreno have field days with the defense.
Kansas City had something to prove this game. They are fighting to show the league that they are a legitimate threat and a playoff contender. I am a believer after this showing.
If the Chiefs show up and play on all four sides of the ball, they would be a problem for any team.
If Kansas City can win the next two games at home, they will make the playoffs and have a perfect record at the new Arrowhead Stadium this year.
Next week, Kansas City goes up against a tough Tennessee Titans team that is out to show that they are not the pushovers that the league has labeled them as.
Destiny has yet to be written. It is all up to the Todd Haley and the Chiefs. The conditions are perfect with two must-win games against conference opponents at chilly Arrowhead Stadium. It is time for the Kansas City Chiefs to show us who they really are.
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