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

won.

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

victory.

”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

this year.”

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

of schedule.

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

from 1957-65.

”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

season.

”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

Chiefs.

”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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