Chiefs go away from Charles in crunch time

There is no prescribed number of plays that Chiefs coach Andy

Reid would like the ball to end up in the hands of Jamaal Charles,

one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL.

One thing Reid does know is that Kansas City would be better off

if Charles got the ball more than the six times he did in the

second half of Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis. Or if he didn’t seem

to stray from giving him touches at the end of close games.

”Obviously 25 didn’t touch the ball much in the second half and

that’s my responsibility,” said Reid, who has a well-worn

reputation for favoring the pass over the run. ”Within the realm

of things, the 28 plays in the second half, we need to give him

more of a shot than six touches.”

Chiefs fans tend to agree. So do fantasy football owners.

It’s not as if Charles didn’t have another solid afternoon in a

23-7 loss. He ran for 106 yards and a touchdown, and caught five

passes for 38 yards. But when the offense got stuck in the second

half, it seemed Reid completely abandoned the run – even though it

seemed to be working just fine.

And even though Charles scored five touchdowns the previous week

against Oakland, albeit four on receptions.

Charles carried eight times for 62 yards in the first half

Sunday, including a 31-yard run for the Chiefs’ only touchdown. He

had just five carries in the second half, while the Colts were in

the midst of scoring 23 straight points, despite averaging nearly 9

yards per carry.

”We were still in it the second half, but we were put in a

position where we had to throw the ball a little bit,” Reid said.

”We had a couple routes that were set up for him and the coverage

didn’t present itself where we could use him in those, and a few

options where the quarterback could keep it, and the front

presented itself where he didn’t get the touch.”

It’s true, and that may explain why Charles got so few

opportunities against a Colts defense he was gashing. Yet in a pair

of losses to Denver and a second-half collapse against San Diego,

the Chiefs’ opponent this Sunday, the same story seemed to play

out.

Charles had 16 carries for 78 yards in a road loss to Denver,

but only six attempts in the second half, when the Broncos sealed a

27-17 victory. He only had eight tries in the second half of a

41-38 loss to San Diego the following week, even though he gained

83 yards on them – for the mathematically challenged, an average of

better than 10 yards per tote.

In the return game against the Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium,

Charles again had eight carries in the second half, even though

Kansas City was trying to protect a 21-14 halftime lead.

When the Chiefs were driving for a tying touchdown in the

closing minutes, they ran 10 plays and none involved Charles. Four

of those plays came after first-and-10 at the Denver 13, when the

Chiefs elected to throw the ball despite having plenty of time on

the clock.

”He’s a very good football player,” Reid said. ”You want to

make sure to give him enough touches. What that is, I don’t know,

but you want to give it to him a few more times.”

Charles, as usual, takes the high road, pointing out he doesn’t

have a whole lot of say in the matter. He’ll only say that he

intends to make the most of his chances, however many that may

be.

”You’ve got to go out there and compete all four quarters,” he

said. ”As the game (this past Sunday) went on, they turned it up a

different notch and we didn’t match their intensity. As far as

fundamentals, we have to go back to the film room and correct our

mistakes.”

Notes: The Chiefs signed RB Eric Kettani, WR Jerrell Jackson and

LB Ridge Wilson to the practice squad Tuesday. They replace WR Fred

Williams, who was released; FB Toben Opurum, who was added to the

Texans active roster; and TE Jake Byrne, who joined the Chargers’

active roster. … Reid said Tuesday that starters and backups will

both practice this week. The Chiefs are assured of the No. 5 seed

for the playoffs, so it’s likely most starters will rest against

San Diego.

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