KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Your fantasy team? This may come as a shock, kids, but Dwayne Bowe doesn’t give a flex.
“Fantasy world?” the Kansas City Chiefs receiver told FOXSportsKansasCity.com, smiling, after a 24-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
“I really don’t hear it. I don’t even pay attention to it, man. Because at the end of the day, it’s about letters, not numbers. And that’s six ‘W’s.”
A year ago, Bowe was Captain Garbage Time for a 1-5 Chiefs team that was circling the toilet bowl. Of his 59 receptions, 43 of them — and all three of his touchdowns — came when the opposition held the lead. The last seven or eight minutes of the fourth quarter was Bowe Time, a chance to pad the stats after the contest itself was out of reach.
The fourth quarter is a different beast now, in a good way. The 6-0 Chiefs spread the rock around, play it safe, and hammer away until the other guys crack. The last seven or eight minutes of the fourth quarter is Jamaal Charles Time, Trench Time, a chance to run out the clock and play keep-away with the football.
Which is good for Kansas City faithful. For the legions of fantasy dopes who get more excited over the ticker at the bottom of the screen than the scores at the top, not so much.
“Definitely, I feel the fans,” Bowe said. “I know they want me to do this and do that.
“But as long as we’re winning, I hope they feel like me — and that’s that I’m doing everything I possibly can to make plays and help the offense move the ball and score points.”
Through six games, Bowe has collected 20 catches for 229 yards while being targeted 34 times — or just 5.7 targets and 3.3 receptions per contest. That’s got the Miami native on a pace for 611 receiving yards and 53 catches over 16 games, his lowest total since grabbing 47 in 11 contests in 2009. After six tilts a year ago, Bowe had 34 grabs for 427 yards while being targeted 64 times.
And that’s where the head scratching starts. In March, when the 6-foot-2 wideout agreed to a five-year, $56-million contract, Bowe was one of the surest things in a franchise full of question marks and new faces. Now he’s one of the few enigmas on a team that’s the talk of NFL circles. The punditry can agree on at least two things, even this early into the dance card: One, this Chiefs bunch passes the eye test as a playoff team. Two, if it’s going to do anything in the postseason, especially on the road, do-everything tailback Jamaal Charles is going to need help.
A Sports Illustrated.com story late last week cited the 29-year-old Bowe as “a big problem,” asserting that he lacks explosion and has been unable to beat man coverage — something the Chiefs are seeing a lot of, given quarterback Alex Smith’s preference for short, safe throws and the presence Charles in the backfield.
So what it is it? An age thing? A Smith thing? A system thing? A something-he-said thing? None of the above?
Coach Andy Reid ran with the latter, describing it as a “respect” thing.
“Teams have put a lot of emphasis on him early with coverage,” the Chiefs coach said last week. “And we kind of work our way through and make sure we see what they’re doing.
“All of a sudden, we get them going with the calls, and then he does a phenomenal job with it. You saw a couple of those toward the end of the (Tennessee game); you saw people settling in underneath him to give up the flat. That’s how they are, they just keep battling up as often as (they) can, so you can’t get him the football, because normally good things are happening when the ball is in his hands.”
Good things are happening when it isn’t in his hands, too. That’s new. Actually, that’s awesome.
“I’m speechless, man,” Bowe said, smiling. “It’s crazy, but God is good. And trying to keep it going.”
Bowe has been the stud on plenty of rosters that went nowhere. The only numbers he cares about these days are Roman numerals, the ones that follow the words “Super Bowl” in his dreams.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com