The Kansas City Chiefs took an ugly and embarrassing hit when they lost 23-7 to the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead on Sunday. This was after two straight weeks of decisive wins against the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders when the Chiefs beat the two teams by a combined 60 points. Though they have clinched themselves an AFC Wild Card spot for the playoffs, they now have no chance of winning the AFC West title.
Earlier in the season, the now 11-4 Chiefs relied upon a very stingy defense and started the season out with an impressive nine consecutive wins — boasting the only undefeated record in the NFL for a while. Running back Jamaal Charles, who leads the league in rushing, and up-and-coming quarterback Alex Smith along with the rest of the Kansas City offense have helped the Chiefs continue pressing forward through disappointing losses to the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and now the Colts.
In the two games against Washington and Oakland, Charles chalked up a stunning 373 yards on offense (170 rushing, 203 receiving) and seven touchdowns. Compare that with a dismal five carries for 44 yards and one caught pass for seven yards against Indy.
Why was he so underutilized at such a crucial juncture late in the season when the Chiefs went up against the AFC South champions?
Part of the problem, according to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, were the two touchdowns Kansas City was trailing by in the fourth quarter. The game “got away” from them at that point and passes were needed more than expending a valuable resource like Charles.
Charles’ stellar playing in the Chiefs’ two games against Washington and Oakland — particularly in the Oakland game — has started a buzz regarding Charles as a viable candidate for league MVP. Certainly no one this season has been more valuable to his team than Charles to Kansas City. He is engaged in just about every play in the Chiefs’ offensive playbook, and Charles is not only a valuable running back but an integral part of Kansas City’s passing game.
Kansas City has their final regular season game on the road against the Chargers for Week 17, but the outcome will not change anything in regard to AFC seeding. The Chiefs are locked in at No. 5. But if Kansas City wants to make a good showing in the playoffs, they had better plan on not wasting Charles’ talent.