For the second straight season, the Kansas City Chiefs finished the first quarter with a record of 1-3. That puts the Chiefs on the bottom of the AFC West looking up at the San Diego Chargers (3-1) and Denver Broncos (2-2).
Even though Todd Haley isn’t around to break everything about the season down into quarters, it’s still a good way to track how a team is coming together. With that in mind, here are the Chiefs best (and worst) performers during the first quarter.
Rookie of the Quarter: Dontari Poe
The original plan was to ease him into the action playing behind starter Anthony Toribio, but an ankle injury quickly changed things. While getting used to the speed of the NFL, Poe has recorded five tackles and batted down a pass.
The Chiefs first-round pick has a lot of work to do, but considering what’s been put on his plate, Poe has been better than expected. Due to another seemingly weak draft from GM Scott Pioli, only guard Jeff Allen has a real chance of taking this spot from him the rest of the season.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Dwayne Bowe
No matter who the Chiefs quarterback ends up being in the second quarter (it’s all but guaranteed to be Matt Cassel at least for one more game), Bowe will have a hard time holding onto this spot.
He’s put up solid numbers despite having to fight to find nearly every pass thrown his way. That isn’t about to get better with Cassel (completing just 58% of his passes) or either of his eventual replacements, Brady Quinn (52% career) and Ricky Stanzi (0 career passes).
Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Houston
Last year’s Rookie of the First Quarter, Houston has now elevated himself into a legitimate playmaker. His four sacks are twice that of any other player on a Kansas City defense that is still waiting for Tamba Hali to get on track.
If Romeo Crennel ever figures out how to find a way to cover a team’s tight end, Houston and Hali will finally get the time they need to really get a pass rush going.
Biggest Surprise: Shaun Draughn
Once the Chiefs signed Peyton Hillis to pair with Jamaal Charles, did anyone think another running back on the roster would have 37 touches after four games? Certainly not one who had never appeared in an NFL game. But that’s exactly what Draughn did in the first quarter.
After spending the end of last season on the Chiefs practice squad, Draughn mad the 53-man roster out of training camp and has averaged an impressive 5.4 yards on 22 carries.
It hasn’t all been hearts and flowers for the running back. He also has two terrible 15-yard penalties and a fumble under his belt, but even with those bumps in the road he’s more than exceeded expectations.
Biggest Disappointment: Matt Cassel
This one is easy.
No one that’s watched the Chiefs over the last four seasons has ever seen Cassel as an elite quarterback, but he’s shown the ability to be average. However, over these first four games he’s been worse than anything we’ve ever seen from him.
On top of a whopping seven interceptions over four games, he’s also lost three fumbles. In other words, he’s thrown as many interceptions as he did in 2010 and lost as many fumbles as the last two seasons combined (24 games).
Can Cassel get back to average? If he doesn’t do it quickly, he’ll find himself holding a clipboard.