ST. LOUIS – Matt Cassel was supposed to be a game-day decision. The quarterback had no doubt he’d be in the lineup.
Cassel went the distance only 11 days after an emergency appendectomy, leading the way in a 27-13 victory over the suddenly sagging St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
The Rams (6-8) kept pace with the Seattle Seahawks in the much-lampooned NFC West.
“Everything felt good,” Cassel said. “I feel good now. And a win makes it feel better.”
Before the game, Cassel said one of the team doctors texted that he was probably more nervous than the quarterback about what might happen. Teammates were impressed at the quarterback’s toughness, too.
“For a guy to come back after having an organ removed from his body, playing the next week, yeah it’s definitely extraordinary,” running back Thomas Jones said. “I’m proud of him, really proud of him.”
To the Rams, Cassel didn’t look a man who’d just been stitched up.
“He’s a tough dude,” defensive end Chris Long said. “I mean, he came out there and slung it around a little, he took a hit or two.
“A lot of people wondered if he’d even play and he played a good game.”
Jamaal Charles scored on a short run and helped clinch it with a late 80-yard burst for the Chiefs (9-5), who retained a one-game lead over the Chargers in the AFC West.
Kansas City, which managed only 67 yards in a 31-0 loss at San Diego last week with backup quarterback Brodie Croyle starting, ended a seven-quarter scoreless drought on Cassel’s 2-yard pass to Leonard Pope midway through the second quarter.
Jones became the NFL’s 25th player to rush for 10,000 yards and scored the final touchdown on a 2-yard run with 3:26 to go, one play after Ron Bartell ran down Charles just shy of the goal line. Charles had 126 yards on 11 carries and Jones had 62 yards on 22 carries.