Chiefs waste record-setting rushing day in defeat
Jamaal Charles seemed to be happy with himself. Peyton Hillis
had to feel vindicated, and embattled offensive coordinator Brian
Daboll finally had a reason to smile.
Imagine how they would have felt if the Chiefs had actually
Even while playing out the string in a season lost long ago,
Kansas City managed an offensive output that should go down in
franchise history. Charles ran for 226 yards on Sunday, Hillis had
101 and the Chiefs piled up 352 yards on the ground against the
Colts’ backpedaling defense.
If not for a miserable effort by quarterback Brady Quinn, two
turnovers in the red zone and a stuffed attempt at converting
fourth down, the Chiefs might have won another game.
Instead, the Colts scored late in the fourth quarter for a 20-13
”We had a feeling we could run on them,” Charles said. ”When
Peyton did a good job running the first half, I thought, `Man,
Peyton’s getting off. I got to do some, too.’ So I felt like I had
to go out there and run the ball as well.”
The Chiefs certainly ran the ball well.
Their total was the third-best in franchise history, trailing
only a couple of games in the 1960s, when teams generally ran the
ball with more gusto than they do these days.
Not a bad day to put in the history books, except that it came
with an asterisk: It’s the most yards rushing in a losing effort in
NFL history, eclipsing the 320 yards the 1944 edition of the
Cleveland Rams ran for in a loss to Washington.
”We wanted to be able to run the ball and it turned out we were
able to run it,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said, who gave his
players Monday off to celebrate the holidays.
We’re disappointed,” he added, ”as we have been many times
Thirteen times, to be exact. The Chiefs (2-13) and are tied with
Jacksonville for the league’s worst record heading into their
season finale next Sunday against Denver. Kansas City also holds
the tiebreaker for the No. 1 draft pick by virtue of their strength
That’s one positive to come out of a disastrous season.
Another one has been Charles.
After missing nearly all of last season with a torn left ACL,
the former All-Pro running back has been better than ever. He’s run
for 1,456 yards, the seventh-best season in franchise history, and
can break his own single-season-high set in 2010 with 12 yards
against the Broncos.
His big game against the Colts, in which Charles surpassed 750
career carries, also qualifies him for the NFL record for yards per
carry. Charles is averaging 5.82 yards on 770 attempts, which far
surpasses the 5.22 yards that Jim Brown averaged in 2,359 attempts
”Records are meant to be broken, and I always try to break
records,” Charles said. ”Breaking Jim Brown’s record, it’s one of
the most special of all time to me because, listening from the
past, he was one of the best running backs of all time.”
Charles has gone over 200 yards rushing twice this season, and
three times in his career, which also sets a franchise record. He
also has the three biggest games in Chiefs history, and his 84-yard
touchdown run in the third quarter gave him three 80-plus runs this
”He’s super-fast, he’s tough. He’s a scary sight for a
defensive guy,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. ”He opens
up a lot of things for the offense. He’s a key player.”
Some of Charles’ running room was no doubt thank to Hillis, the
former Browns bruiser who has been a disappointment since signing
as a free agent in the offseason.
He bullied his way for 101 yards on Sunday, his best game since
Dec. 24, 2011.
The thunder-and-lightning combination gave the Chiefs their
first duo of 100-yard rushers since Oct. 7, 1991, when Christian
Okoye and Harvey Williams did it against Buffalo. It’s a feat that
has only been accomplished six times in the 53-year history of the
”You can’t go back and say, `We should have run the ball
more,”’ Charles said. ”Losing by seven points, it didn’t have
nothing to do with us running the ball.”
It had to do with Quinn’s inefficient game, poor execution in
clutch situations and a defense that had played well all afternoon
failing to get off the field late in the fourth quarter.
It also had to with Daboll’s offense, which has been
historically inept, failing to get into the end zone despite one of
the most productive ground games in franchise history.
”We turned the ball over, got penalties at inopportune times
and gave up an easy touchdown at the end of the game, as well as
miss a field goal,” Crennel said. ”So when those kinds of things
happen, it’s hard, and until we can rectify that, that’s what we
have to deal with.”
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