View Full Version : Chiefs Cassel Chronicles – Patriots vs Colts

Hammock Parties
07-18-2009, 06:25 PM

<table><tbody><tr><td valign="top">Can Matt Cassel compete against the league’s best quarterbacks? In this week’s edition of Cassel Chronicles, we’ll discover the answer to that question is a resounding “yes,” as Cassel is barely edged in a nationally televised road contest against Peyton Manning.
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This week, Cassel actually directed an offense that out-produced Manning’s own unit. In fact, the Patriots likely would have won this game had Cassel’s teammates not made some mistakes in the second half.

First, there was a dropped touchdown bomb. Later, after Cassel had driven the Patriots within tying field-goal range in the closing minutes, a personal foul penalty resulted in an awful third-and-16 situation for New England, which eventually culminated in fourth-and-15 and an interception.

Either way, it was a solid performance from Cassel, and proof of just why Scott Pioli (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=3933332) signed him to a six-year contract this past week. It’s interesting to note that despite the Colts’ tandem of speedy pass rushers (Robert Mathis (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4217521) and Dwight Freeney (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4217502)), Cassel was not sacked on this night, which may have signaled the end of the protection problems the Patriots suffered early in the season.

Final Stat line: 25-34, 204 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT


2nd quarter – 10:28 – 3rd-and-5

With their drive approaching the Indianapolis end zone, the Patriots have a big third-down situation and line up with Randy Moss (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4309679) and Wes Welker (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4309694) on the same side of the formation. The interesting part of Matt Cassel (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4210794)’s progression on this play, however, is that he barely glances at their side of the field.

You’d expect an inexperienced quarterback to lock on to his best receivers in a critical situation, but Cassel quickly recognizes that Colts’ safety Bob Sanders (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4217528) has taken up a position in the middle of the field, making any throw to Welker a risky proposition. Instead, he turns his attention to the other side of the field and almost immediately finds the open man – tight end Benjamin Watson.

Cassel sets his feet and makes an accurate, tight, on-time throw to Watson, hitting him on the outside shoulder with the pass. Unfortunately the tight end allows the ball to get into his body and it ricochets off his chest for an incompletion, negating a potential third-down conversion. The Patriots settle for a field goal.

2nd quarter – 2:58 – 3rd-and-4

Clearly the Colts recognized Cassel’s dependence on Welker coming into this game, because again they make sure he’s covered up on third down. Welker runs a little out-and-in pattern and looks open at first glance, but Sanders is lurking in the middle of the field, playing his cat-and-mouse game. Cassel thinks about throwing his way but quickly reloads and finds a secondary receiver.

He’s got Jabar Gaffney (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4249820) running a deep comeback down the left sideline and accurately throws downfield for a 12-yard gain and a big first down. The pass is slightly high, but not so high that Gaffney can’t haul it in with a little jump. Cassel, by the way, doesn’t even look at Randy Moss on this play, and slides ever so slightly to his left to prevent a closing Robert Mathis from racking up a sack. Sets up a field goal.

3rd quarter – 12:26 – 3rd-and-7

Great quarterbacks make things happen, and that’s exactly what happens on this play as Matt Cassel ad-libs a gutsy scramble for a first down. Robert Mathis beats Nick Kaczur (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4309667) almost immediately after the snap with a spin move, and he’s staring Cassel in the face. Somehow, our quarterback manages to escape Mathis, but now Dwight Freeney, who has beaten Matt Light (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4309671), is pursuing from behind.

Cassel wastes no time in escaping the broken pocket and heads right for the first-down marker. He’s just fast enough to avoid being brought down by Bob Sanders and dives headfirst past the marker. After almost punching a referee in celebration, Cassel also has the presence of mind to get his offense lined up quickly again as the Patriots attempt to catch the Colts with 12 men on the field. This is a huge play as it extends a drive resulting in a touchdown.

3rd quarter – 0:31 – 1st-and-10

Who says Matt Cassel can’t throw the deep ball? Just watch this play and you’ll find out otherwise. On perhaps his prettiest throw of the night, Cassel looks at the coverage in the middle of the field, decides he doesn’t like it and snaps his head around to the left, to find a wide, wide open Jabar Gaffney streaking down the left sideline.

Cassel steps up and launches a perfect spiral that falls right into Gaffney’s hands. It’s a sure go-ahead 40-yard touchdown pass, but Gaffney drops the ball. John Madden (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4209463), who knows a few things about the NFL, praises Cassel for a great play.


3rd quarter – 12:02- 2nd-and-10

Why risk your body for a five-yard scramble? Perhaps this was Matt Cassel’s “Welcome to the NFL” initiation, because he gets unnecessarily plastered by Raheem Brock (http://kan.scout.com/a.z?s=115&p=8&c=1&nid=4217490) on another short run. What’s curious is that Cassel actually alters his path and heads right for the 274-pounder, and shows zero inclination to slide.

With a blocker to Cassel's left, this massive hit could have been completely avoided. It may not seem like much, but plays like this can result in turnovers. Likely, someone on New England’s coaching staff told Cassel to “get down” when this play was reviewed later in the week. Cassel also misses a wide open Randy Moss on a short crossing pattern, but in any event, at least he was big and tough enough to take the hit.

3rd quarter – 10:18 – 2nd-and-8

Normally we’re used to seeing Matt Cassel go through his progressions quickly, but that’s not the case on this play. The Patriots run a little play action, trying to get tight end Benjamin Watson open deep for a touchdown on the right side, but Bob Sanders has it sniffed out.

However, the play is not dead. Cassel has Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis running open in the flat for a modest gain, and all he has to do is flip him the ball. But because Cassel holds the ball and keeps waiting for Watson to get open, he misses an opportunity and is forced to throw the ball away.

4th quarter – 4:40 – 4th-and-15

There's not much Cassel can do on this play. As the ball is snapped, Raheem Brock immediately beats his man and is in the quarterback's face. Cassel makes a valiant effort just to get rid of the football with any zip on it at all as he is smashed.

Unfortunately, he tosses up a truly awful pass. It's well beyond the reach of Benjamin Watson and floats into the arms of Bob Sanders for an interception.

Previous Cassel Chronicles:
Patriots vs Jets (http://kan.scout.com/2/869699.html)
Patriots vs Dolphins (http://kan.scout.com/2/871932.html)
Patriots vs Steelers (http://kan.scout.com/2/873693.html)
Patriots vs Chiefs (http://kan.scout.com/2/875365.html)
Patriots vs Seahawks (http://kan.scout.com/2/876996.html)
Patriots vs Broncos (http://kan.scout.com/2/878462.html)

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