Jamaal Charles Dominates The New Orleans Saints (via sbnarrowheadpride)
It takes a special kind of performance to match the offensive output of the New Orleans Saints with just one player but that's exactly what Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs did in their victory over Drew Brees and the Saints last weekend.
Charles carried the ball 33 times for 233 yards in the Chiefs thrilling 27-24 victory at the Superdome in New Orleans. He also added six receptions for 55 yards for a grand total of 288 yards, the same exact output of the entire New Orleans Saints offense. That's not an easy task to match up against a former Super Bowl MVP and quarterback in Drew Brees, who is widely considered one the games' elite quarterbacks. It was a great performance by the defense and Justin Houston specifically in shutting down and getting after Brees, but it was Jamaal Charles that put this team on his back and led them to this victory.
Coming into this game Charles had just 25 total touches in the Chiefs first two games of the season, both losses. He had carried it 16 times for 87 yards in the Chiefs opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and then just six carries for three yards and three receptions for 19 yards in the loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Charles had 39 total touches in this dominating performance on Sunday. Even more impressive than that, only 20 of those touches came in the first three quarters of this game. Meaning 19 of Charles' 39 touches against the Saints came in the fourth quarter and overtime. When the Chiefs needed someone to lean on offensively, Jamaal Charles was that player and the Chiefs benefited in a big way.
Jamaal Charles best friend in this game (besides the offensive line, of course) was fullback Nate Eachus. Charles had 10 carries in this game without Eachus on the field, those 10 runs went for just 32 yards. With Eachus, Charles carried the ball 23 times for 201 yards. So 3.2 yards per carry without a fullback and 8.7 yards per carry with one, it isn't a stretch to say that Charles and Eachus were doing great work together.
Jamaal Charles touched the ball just seven times in this game when there weren't either two tight-ends in the game or a fullback, basically meaning when there were three-wide receivers out on the field (11 personnel). Four of those touches were pass receptions. So when the Chiefs would spread the Saints out with three wide receiver sets, that's when they'd dink and dunk it to Charles out of the backfield. These numbers are much different than what we saw over the first couple of games from Brian Daboll and the Chiefs offense. Maybe it's game planning and maybe it's adapting to what you have working for you, either way, it worked this week.
There were 20 times in this game where Charles ran to the right side of the offensive line, those 20 rushes accounted for 108 yards. He ran 13 times to the left side of the offensive line and those rushes totaled 125 yards. Two of these specific runs accounted for 131 yards rushing on the day for Charles. He had the 91-yard touchdown run to the left side in the third quarter that brought the Chiefs back into the game with the score at 24-13, and it was just a few offensive plays later that he broke off a 40-yard run to the right side. Two long rushes and one to each side of the offensive line, things were working pretty good for the Chiefs offensive line.
I'm not sure the recipe of giving the ball to Charles 39 times a game is something the Chiefs can sustain throughout the entire season. I'm not sure any running back could sustain that kind of physical punishment and stay healthy over the long-haul, but this was a game the Chiefs had to win and Charles stepped up for them in a huge way.
The Chiefs now lead the league in rushing at 191 yards per game with Charles as the NFL's leading rusher, kind of what most of us expected from the beginning. Hopefully that trend can continue this week when the Chiefs take on the San Diego Chargers in Kansas City in what will be a battle for first place in the AFC West.