It’d be easy to point to the Chiefs’ heartbreaking collapse to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs as the most disappointing part of the season. We’ve been over that enough times.
To me, the biggest disappointment in Kansas City this season was the lackluster production of its supposed top receiver: Dwayne Bowe.
The Chiefs gave Bowe a five-year, $56 million contract before the season started. They didn’t want to give him any opportunity to test free agency and wished to lock him up in Kansas City to be Alex Smith’s top target.
Before we get into the production, Bowe has a higher average salary than the following receivers: Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Antonio Brown. Every one of those players went over a thousand yards and all but Johnson caught more than five touchdowns. Keep that in mind.
For a player who is getting paid to be a number one receiver, Bowe did not even come close to producing like one. He was the second leading receiver on the team behind Jamaal Charles. The former LSU Tiger caught 57 balls (2nd lowest of his career) for 673 yards (the only Chiefs receiver to pass 600) and only five touchdowns. While the Chiefs may not be focused on throwing the ball, this is simply unacceptable for a guy getting paid this well.
What’s frustrating with Bowe is you can see what type of player he’s been capable of being. He was sensational against Indianapolis in the playoff game, torching the Colts’ secondary for 150 yards and a touchdown. He made them pay for trying to cover him with tight man coverage. He created separation and showed bursts that were missing all season.
He became the needed playmaker to make this offense more dynamic, as the group of receivers in Kansas City will not cut it anymore. It consists of the streaky Donnie Avery, the bustworthy A.J. Jenkins, and the developing Junior Hemingway. This certainly doesn’t help Bowe in terms of getting some attention drawn away from him in coverage.
But even if the Chiefs bring in a dynamic wideout through the draft or in free agency, Bowe is still going to need to be much better. Maybe he doesn’t have to be a dominant number one receiver, but if he can replicate even 60 percent of the type of playoff performance he put on, it will work wonders for the offense.
That glimmer cannot erase what was a forgetful season for Bowe. He needs to show up next season to earn his contract and avoid being even more of a disappointment.
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