As the Kansas City Chiefs head into their final match up before their week 10 bye, a trip to Buffalo to play the Bills, one crazy stat line seems to jump off the page when looking through the offensive numbers.
26 receptions, 302 yards, 11.6 yards per reception average, and 2 touchdowns.
Dwayne Bowe has just 26 catches half way through the 2013 season. 26!
Bowe’s 26 catches rank him 71st in the NFL, and third on his own team. His 302 yards puts him 80th in the league, and his 11.6 average is the 138th best mark. The good news for Chiefs fans is that, according to Spotrac.com, Bowe is only making $3,750,000 this season, including a $3 million signing bonus. That’s pretty good value.
Of course, the Chiefs will still owe Bowe $51 million over the next four years. That is not very good value, folks. Not for a receiver not ranked in the top 70 in three major receiving stats in the NFL.
The question remains – is Bowe not getting open, of is Smith just not getting him the ball?
Even Matt Cassel and the hodge podge of crappy quarterbacks the Chiefs had line up behind the center over the course of Bowe’s career had little problem getting him the ball. Since coming into the league 2007, through 2012, Bowe caught 415 passes, or 4.72 catches a game. This season, Bowe is averaging just 3.25 receptions per outing.
The most yards he has accumulated in any single game this season was 66 in week 7 against Houston. He has only tallied more than 50 yards thrice in 2013. This just isn’t acceptable for a wide receiver making elite money like Dwayne Bowe is.
Which takes us back to the question about who is to blame. Is Bowe suddenly unable to get open? Why can’t Alex Smith get the ball to him. Is Bowe not getting separation from the defense?
In the past, quarterbacks have just thrown the ball up and let Bowe go get it. This isn’t a mindset that Smith can operate in. He is wired to take few chances with the ball and throwing it up isn’t something he is comfortable with
This week against the Bills, the Chiefs have to find a way to get the ball to Dwayne Bowe. That is all there is to it. This offense is not going to get better if Bowe is a nonentity.
This is why the spotlight is going to shine on Bowe this week. Is he getting open and Smith just isn’t seeing him? Is he just not getting open enough for Smith to have an opening to get him the ball? Is Bowe getting tangled up early in his routes, and not getting separation from the coverage? Something is obviously not working correctly in this offense.
Keep a close eye on Bowe this week. Watch for the things above to see if it is in fact Bowe’s fault he isn’t getting the ball, or if Smith’s ultra conservative play is to blame.
Regardless, the Chiefs must find a way to but the ball in the hands of one of their top play makers. Bowe is making entirely too much scratch not to be catching 4 or 5 balls a game.
It is amazing the Chiefs are undefeated with so little contribution from Dwayne Bowe in the passing game. If he can get on track, the offense should improve, making the team better overall. Keep Bowe in the spotlight this week. Let’s figure out why he hasn’t been more involved in the Chiefs offense.
(Note – Special tanks to Spotrac.com for their excellent work compiling salary information for all the professional leagues.)