From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Jamaal Charles limped into the trainer’s room in the cramped Chiefs locker room after Sunday’s 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
An emissary came out and told the media that was waiting for him that he needed treatment and then he’d be heading for the bus and the airport. He would not have time to speak.
Quite possibly after everything that happened on Sunday he may have had a cramp in his tongue. Despite cramping up several times and having to be helped off the field at the Jones Dome, Charles didn’t slow down until he was in the locker room.
Charles ran for 126 yards on 11 carries with 80 of those yards coming on a single run that went down between a couple of those moments when he was cramping from dehydration.
That’s the only way Rams CB Ron Bartel would have been able to catch Charles at the end of that 80-yard scamper, grabbing him from behind two yards short of the end zone.
“He’s not going to like that,” LG Brian Waters said with a smile. “Getting caught from behind, you know he had to be hurting.”
Those cramps were not the only thing that slowed Charles down. The Rams defense did a good job of keeping the entire Chiefs running game bottled up, especially in the first quarter. St. Louis allowed minus-five yards on four carries. The longest carry was one-yard.
It was an ugly reminder of last week’s game in San Diego, when the Chiefs managed just 48 yards on 17 carries.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â LONGEST RUNS IN CHIEFS HISTORY
“There was no way we were going to allow that to happen again,” said TE Leonard Pope of the poor rushing day. “We were all jacked to make sure we gave everybody room to make some moves.”
They did not, as the Chiefs ran for 207 yards on 42 carries, or five yards per carry and short touchdown runs by both Charles and Thomas Jones.
But it didn’t come easily because the Rams were playing an eight-man defensive front all day and they did a fairly good job of slowing down the Chiefs running attack. By half-time, the Chiefs had 51 yards on 15 carries, but their leading rusher was QB Matt Cassel with 17 yards, 13 coming on a single run. There wasn’t much that came out of the run game in the third quarter, as they ran for 46 yards on 13 carries. Charles started the fourth period with 46 yards on 10 carries.
Then came his 80-yard run, where he bolted through the middle of the offensive line, veered towards the left side as he went down field and was stopped until Bartel yanked him down from behind.
“It’s disappointing when you have eight men in the box, you usually don’t get those type of runs,” said Bartel. “They have two really good backs, a pretty good offensive line and they stick to it. They have some backs where you can keep them bottled up all day and it just takes one run, as you saw. We did a pretty good job, but that one run kind of broke our backs.”
Charles was down after the run not of exhaustion, but of cramping in his left calf and right hamstring. As he rested on the sideline, Jones leaped over the middle of the Chiefs offensive line for the touchdown.
“Our success always starts with our running game,” said Cassel. “Everybody involved has done a great job this year, and it always takes the pressure off us, especially me, when we can get that going.”
And the biggest run was by Charles, as he’s cramping at the end of his 80-yard run.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Rams MLB James Laurinaitis. “It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve got a guy that I thought we did a pretty solid job of keeping bottled up. They had the lead, so you have to know that they’re going to try to run the ball and as a defense we’ve got to be able to stop that.”
For the Chiefs it was another chance to continued ascendency of their young running back.
“When you talk about guys developing and growing before your eyes, he’s something else,” Todd Haley said of Charles. “Our guys were trying to get him out, and he wasn’t leaving. The next thing you know, we are in a critical juncture in the game where we need to run the clock and not give the ball back to them and he makes a huge play.
“Jamaal you see him growing up right before your eyes. It’s one of those things that makes you feel good as a coach.”