|Matt Cassel walks off the field after suffering a head injury Sunday, giving Kansas City fans their wish of Brady Quinn at quarterback. (AP)|
The circus in Kansas City continued Sunday afternoon against the Ravens in a 9-6 loss.
This week's show included lots of booing, four more Matt Cassel turnovers, a conservative approach from coach Romeo Crennel, a Cassel botched snap at the goal line that would have given the Chiefs the lead, Cassel eventually leaving the game with a head injury and the home fans cheering (Yes, they cheered.) The grand finale was a Brady Quinn to Dwayne Bowe touchdown pass that was wiped out by a pass interference call on Dexter McCluster for setting a pick on Bowe's defender.
"You guys are smart. You guys cover football. You look at the film," said RT Eric Winston, who also delivered an inspired message to the fans for cheering when Cassel was injured. "I'm not going to get fined for it. We all know what happened out there. They're playing zone coverage, and they called us for picks."
Baltimore (4-1, 2-0 AFC North) struggled offensively but did enough to win the game behind Justin Tucker's three field goals. The Ravens led from start to finish, and the Chiefs (1-4, 0-1 AFC West) have yet to lead for one second this season.
Cassel was hurt on Kansas City's final possession on a dump pass to Jamaal Charles. It was a rare throw for Cassel, who went 9 of 15 for 92 yards. Cassel and Quinn threw 18 passes and Kansas City ran 50 times, including 30 carries by Charles. The strategy almost worked had Quinn's touchdown not been wiped out.
Two plays later, facing a fourth-and-9 from the 13-yard line with 4:34 left, Crennel decided to kick the field goal instead of going for the win, and the Ravens were able to run out the clock.
When the game turned: Cassel's fumble. The Ravens gave the Chiefs a gift to start the third quarter when Deonte Thompson fumbled the kickoff. Following a pass interference call that put the ball at the 1-yard line, Cassel never got a handle on C Ryan Lilja's snap and Ed Reed recovered the fumble. The Ravens drove the field and took a 6-3 lead on a Tucker 26-yard field goal.
Highlight moments: The turnovers. This game was not for offense lovers. Both of Cassel's interceptions were dropped passes by Bowe, the first landed in the hands of Lardarius Webb. The second was a high pass to Bowe that bounced off his chest and into the hands of CB Jimmy Smith.
- Ravens RB Ray Rice -- 102 yards on 17 carries
- Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles -- 161 yards from scrimmage
- Ravens PK Justin Tucker -- made all three of his field goals
What they said about cheering for Cassel's injury:
- Winston -- "I know they're frustrated. We're frustrated. I understand that the backup quarterback is sometimes the most popular guy. I get it, but it's not OK. And I want everyone to know it's not OK."
On whether Crennel considered benching Cassel:
- Crennel -- "You guys are always 'what ifs, what ifs.' No, I was not. I did not make a change. I went with my team, and my team played pretty good football, just not enough to win."
On the pass interference on McCluster:
- McCluster -- "It's really not designed to be a pick. It was a heads up play by the defender. He was beat, and he figured I'm going to lunge, what's the worst that can happen? It didn't work in our favor. The referee has the final call and it is what it is."
- Crennel -- "That's what the official thought he saw and that's what he called. I don't know if he was right on both calls, but he called it and there's nothing I can do about it. So we have to live with the call."
Numbers you should know: The Chiefs lost the turnover battle 4-2 and are minus-15 for the season. Cassel has lost five fumbles and thrown nine interceptions.
Injury update: Cassel's return was listed as questionable during the game. Crennel said he has a head injury but didn't know his status or whether he would play next week.
Going forward: The Chiefs travel to Tampa Bay, and if Cassel's head injury is serious, they'll have a new quarterback in their final game before their bye week. Quinn was 3 of 3 for 32 yards, but it was too small a sample size to tell whether he's an upgrade.