[picappgallerysingle id="10251506"]After three seasons of high expectations for the former first-round pick out of LSU, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is finally playing like the player the Chiefs thought he could be.
Bowe spent the off-season reinventing himself after a disappointing 2009 season, including a trip to a camp run by Cardinals’ All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. After the camp, both Fitzgerald and ESPN’s Cris Carter declared that Bowe emerged as the hardest working player at the camp and was in store for a great season.
Through the Chiefs’ first four games, Bowe didn’t look anything like the player Fitzgerald and Carter had seen during the summer, averaging just two catches per game for a total of 152 yards and one touchdown.
By far, Bowe’s low point of the season came in the fourth game on the road at Indianapolis when he dropped consecutive passes in a close game, including a sure touchdown pass that would’ve given the Chiefs a chance to get back in a game they eventually lost 19-9 to the Colts.
The drops in the Colts game had many fans in Kansas City throwing in the towel on Bowe, who struggled with drops in each of his first three seasons. Since that Colts game however, Bowe has quietly shown the Chiefs’ faithful that he really has turned into one of the best receivers in the NFL. In this latest six game stretch, he has caught 36 passes for 563 yards and 10 touchdowns, catching at least one touchdown pass in each of the six gamea, a new Chiefs’ record.
In the face of fans’ criticism from early in the season, Bowe has played particularly well at Arrowhead Stadium in front of those same home fans. He has scored six touchdowns on on 15 catches in five games at Arrowhead, including five receptions for more than 20 yards and two for more than 40 yards. The Chiefs are now 5-0 at home this season.
Bowe’s emergence as a key offensive threat comes at a key time for the Chiefs as teams have begun doing everything short of sneaking extra men on the field to stop the Chiefs’ rushing attack, the best in the NFL. As a result, Bowe has found himself in plenty of one-on-one matchups against the opponents’ top cornerbacks, and he’s been beating them up and down the field. If he’s not leaping over them to make a highlight reel catch, he’s running through them on his way to the end zone.
Having already surpassed his previous high-water mark for touchdowns in a season with 11, Bowe is also on-pace for 1,144 yards and a per catch average of 15.9 yards, both would also be career-bests.
Here’s to hoping that Bowe has finally gotten over the hump and is on his way to emerging as one of the league’s best young receivers. If he can continue to prove that he’s put the drops behind him and is willing to outwork everyone else on the practice field, then he very well could help take this offense deep into the playoffs.