From Arrowhead Stadium
Thomas Jones started for the Chiefs at running back on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
But in overtime, when the game was on the line and the Chiefs had their last chances to win the game, it was Jamaal Charles who was in charge. In the overtime, he touched the ball eight of the 14 advances for the K.C. offense. They produced 65 yards and helped set up the winning field goal in the club’s 13-10 victory.
It was a fitting end to what was one of the best games of Charles three-year NFL career:
- 22 carries for 177 yards, an eight-yard per carry average.
- Four receptions for 61 yards, a 15.3-yard per catch average.
- The two longest offensive plays of the day for the Chiefs, a 32-yard run in the first quarter and a 31-yard catch and run in the second period.
And when the game had to be won, Charles was on the field and very happy about the circumstances.
“I’m just happy we got this win,” Charles said. “It feels good to be 5-2. I’m just happy that we found a way to pull out the win. It was a squeeze win, but we pulled it out.”Â Â
Squeeze is what the Bills defense wasn’t able to do to Charles, or the Chiefs running game in particular. Led by Charles and Jones who had 77 yards on 19 carries, they ran for 274 yards on 45 carries, a big 6.1-yard per carry average.
That’s the third straight game the Chiefs have run for more than 200 yards and the fourth time in the last five games. After seven games, they are averaging 190.4 yards rushing per game. If they keep up their current pace, they will finish the season with 3,046 yards. That would establish a new Chiefs record (2,986 yards in ’78) and would be the third best team rushing season in NFL history (New England had 3,165 yards in ’78 and Buffalo finished with 3,088 yards in ’73.)
“We just knew that we were rushing the ball so we had to run the ball and they had to stop the run,” Charles said. “We were doing a good job and some plays were good running plays and we went back to them because they were working.”
What’s working these days is Charles. He now has 666 rushing yards on 103 carries, a 6.5-yard average. Combine that with his 16 catches for 191 yards and he’s had 110 touches for 857 yards, or an average of 17 touches for 122.4 yards per game.
Do the math and that’s 1,522 yards for the season and just less than 2,000 yards in total offense.
His ability to run and catch was big against New Orleans. With WR/RB Dexter McCluster out of the action because of an ankle injury, the Chiefs did not have that spark on the outside to open up the defense. So the Chiefs took Charles and frequently lined him up at wide receiver spots. It caused adjustments galore for the Buffalo defense, especially when Charles and Jones were in the game together.
“He continues to be the guy that makes big plays week in and week out,” said QB Matt Cassel. “The combination of him and Thomas (Jones0 has been great for the team so far. Jamaal is just an exceptional athlete and an exceptional player.”