The final score doesn’t suggest just how one-sided Sunday’s game was between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos. The Broncos raced out to a 35-0 first half lead before the Chiefs rallied in the second half to make the final score somewhat respectable, 49-29. The reality though is the Chiefs have to be concerned by what transpired on defense against their divisional rivals. Offensively, Matt Cassel and the passing game came alive and had its best performance of the season. Cassel finished with 469 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, giving him 11 TDs and just one INT in his past five games. But the impressive statistical output came in a losing cause, so you won’t find Cassel feeling too good about his individual play.
Cassel joined WHB in Kansas City to talk about how he’s feeling physically after limping around at times during Sunday’s loss, Coach Haley not shaking the hand of Coach McDaniels, what the Broncos were doing differently that they hadn’t shown on film, the effectiveness of the Chiefs’ passing game being the lone bright spot from Sunday, the absence of Dexter McCluster in recent weeks, returning home next weekend to face the Cardinals at Arrowhead where they’re a perfect 4-0, and the Chiefs’ inability to close out games on the road.
On how he’s doing physically after noticeably limping around at times during Sunday’s loss:
“Oh I’m fine. It’s just one of those things that at this time of year, everybody gets some bumps and bruises. You just kind of have to play through it, and that’s just kind of what happened.”
On Coach Haley not shaking hands with Coach McDaniels:
“Well I’m not really sure what happened. To be completely honest, I didn’t see any of what went on in the post-game, so I can’t really comment on it or anything like that. And I can’t honestly tell you I know why they didn’t shake hands or what happened in that situation. But as far as the players, there was no bad blood. It was just the Denver Broncos came out and played better than us yesterday. We’ll see them here in a few weeks and hopefully we can turn it around and have a better performance.”
On what the Broncos did differently than they’ve shown on tape:
“Well they just did a good job. Like you said, against the run they played their 3-4 defense which we didn’t really know going into the game what they were going to do because they’ve kind of had a hodge-podge front throughout the course of the year based on their personnel issues, you know what I mean? So we didn’t know when they started the game in the 3-4, and they tried to bring a lot of pressure throughout the entire course of the game. And then really what happened when got behind is we became a one-dimensional team. When you get down by 21 points in the first quarter, you don’t have any other choice but to throw the ball and try to get quick points. So they kind of made us one-dimensional, and we kind of aborted the run game based on the circumstances in the game.”
On if there’s any positives that can come from a game like that, particularly how the passing game came alive in the losing effort:
“From a positive note, I think that is something that we can take from it. While we weren’t able to run the ball, and if you had told me yesterday that we were going to throw the ball fifty-something times and not rush the ball for more than thirty-something times in this game, I’d say you’re nuts. But then again, sometimes those types of game plans change very quickly, so for us, we take away a positive from the passing game because I thought it was really good for us to go out there and have a little bit of production, start to move the ball, and give myself, the receivers, the running backs and everybody else that hey, we can move the ball in the passing game if we need to.”
On how much the offense maybe has missed Dexter McCluster the past few weeks:
“Well I think Dexter McCluster is a guy that adds a lot to this offense, especially from a personnel standpoint, from a mismatch standpoint. Because we can do so many different things with him, whether it’s lining him up in the slot, or even in the backfield and running the ball and doing some stuff like that. So, do we miss him? Yes. But have we been able to perform and do well without him? Absolutely.”
On what he’d say to those fans or writers who think the Chiefs are like last year’s Broncos – fast starters only to fade down the stretch:
“It’s just an opinion. There’s a lot of football left, and we’re going to do everything in our power to get better, and we come home this week and not only the players and coaches, but also the fans are disappointed in how we played yesterday. But again, we get to come home and we’ve had a pretty good streak going at home. And hopefully we can get back on track this week.”
On the Chiefs struggles away from Arrowhead Stadium:
“Well you look back, other than yesterday’s game, every game that we’ve had on the road we’ve been in. Even the Indy game going into the fourth quarter, the Houston game we’re up by 10 points, we’re up by 14 points at one point in the 4th quarter, and unfortunately we didn’t pull that one out. Even the Raiders last week, we went in 20-17 going into the fourth quarter. So I mean, all these games, it’s not like we’re going into these road games and we’re not in the ball game and we’re just completely blown away or shocked by the fact that we’re on the road. We’re in these games and we’re close. We’ve just got to find a way to finish, and it starts with us offensively. We’ve got a number of different opportunities to end these games with the four-minute drill where you keep the possession of the ball and don’t give them an opportunity and the game’s over. It starts with us trying to maintain that football.”