Kansas City, Mo. Matt Cassel is in bounceback mode. At least he’s still on his feet.
The Kansas City quarterback is heading into Sunday’s noon playoff game against Baltimore one week after getting whacked around and abused worse than any other time all year, not counting emergency surgery.
In a 31-10 loss to Oakland that ruined the Chiefs’ perfect home record, Cassel was sacked five times, intercepted twice and hurried all day long.
He went into the game with 27 touchdown passes and only five interceptions and came out with 27 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. His quarterback rating of 19.1 was less than half of his previous season low and more than 100 points worse than what he’d done the week before against Tennessee.
“I feel great,” Cassel said Wednesday. “Just smiling a lot more.”
One of the Chiefs’ ugliest games all season happened on the same field where Cassel and the Chiefs will be facing Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the rest of a Ravens defense that gave up the third-fewest points in the league while going 12-4.
So just how damaged is the confidence of a young team that’s not been in the playoffs since 2006?
“I think we all turn the page pretty quickly here,” Cassel said. “We made some corrections from the game, but in terms of dwelling on it, it won’t do us any good come Sunday. We’ve got to obviously play better.”
One encouraging sign for Cassel and the Chiefs is their history of rebounding from tough losses.
They reeled off three wins in a row after getting drilled at Denver and won their next two following a 31-0 setback at San Diego.
Cassel, after missing one game due to an emergency appendectomy, came back and played well in a 27-13 victory at St. Louis.
“We’ve been able to bounce back all year,” he said. “That helps give us confidence.”