Kansas City Chiefs: The land of the running back
Over the years, the Kansas City Chiefs have been blessed with quality halfbacks.
Way back to the glory days of their last Super Bowl win in 1969 with Mike Garrett totting the rock, to days of the late 80s and early 90s with Christian Okoye, the “Nigerian Nightmare.” Then there was former Raiders and NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen. In the 2000s, we had Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and the all-time leader in yards per carry, Jamaal Charles.
When the Chiefs started last year at 1-5 and witnessed Charles go down with his second ACL injury, there wasn’t much hope in the Chiefs running game, nor their season. Then came Charcandrick West and his counterpart, Spencer Ware. I can bet not too many fans knew much about West and Ware at the time.
West joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and spent most of his rookie season on the Chiefs practice squad. Ware entered the league in 2013 as a sixth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks and had just been elevated from the practice squad following the Charles injury.
Fans would soon find out these guys could play. West and Ware combined for 1,037 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns. The Chiefs went on to win 10 straight games (their longest win streak in franchise history) and garnish the franchise with it’s first playoff win in 22 years.
The win streak was a team effort, but if not for the steady play of these two, the streak would not have been possible.
Charles’ rehab has hit a snag now, and the Chiefs have once again relied on Ware and West to handle the duties of the All-Pro. Only this time, Ware has emerged as the bell cow and West has assumed the backup role. Ware has the size and power you would find in a back such as Marshawn Lynch and he has the finesse and agility of a Le’veon Bell. Through seven games, Ware has tallied 511 yards on 5.0 yards per carry, already passing his 403 yards from last year.
As if his rushing stats haven’t been impressive enough, Ware has caught 17 balls for 313 yards and a score to go along with it. That’s enough to average an eye-popping 18.4 yards per catch. We knew he was a special talent with tons of potential to start the season, but few expected him to be such a versatile weapon out of the backfield.
Ware’s development has been a beautiful thing to watch. With him emerging as a star, the steady play by West and the future return Charles, the Chiefs have the most dangerous backfield in the league.
It goes on as further evidence as to why Kansas City is the land of the running back.