Matt Cassel Injury: Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi Will Get a Chance to Shine

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 14, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 13:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs watches from the sidelines during the game against the Denver Broncos on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

And so Matt Cassel's forgettable season continues.

A season removed from throwing for over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns en route to the AFC West title, the Kansas City Chiefs' franchise quarterback has taken a turn for the worse this season, capped off by a hand injury in Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Cassel sustained a "significant" injury to his throwing hand, according to head coach Todd Haley, when he was sacked by Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller near the end of Sunday's game.

The injury reportedly could be season-threatening for Cassel.

Now the Chiefs, in last place in the AFC West, must try to win the division with backup quarterbacks Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi.

Palko, an undrafted second-year pro out of Pittsburgh, had thrown a total of seven passes before he went 5-of-6 for 47 yards in relief of Cassel on Sunday. He also scrambled eight yards for a first down in the game.

Stanzi, drafted in the fifth round of this year's draft, had a big senior year with the Hawkeyes before making his way to the NFL. In 2010, Stanzi passed for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions as the 10-3 Hawkeyes went on to upset No. 12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl.

Palko has been in the league an extra year, but it's likely that if he struggles the Hawkeyes will start giving Stanzi a look, who was a more prized prospect than Palko.

The Chiefs are a game behind the division-leading Oakland Raiders, along with the Broncos and San Diego Chargers. They currently hold the tiebreaker over the Raiders, but they have one more game against them on Dec. 24.

Nonetheless, a season-ending injury to Cassel could prove to be crippling, with star running back Jamaal Charles already out for the season.

How quickly the mighty have fallen.

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