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Chiefs vs. Ravens: What Happened To Jamaal Charles?

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By  now, you and the rest of the world know the playoff curse that has been put on the Kansas City Chiefs. Seven consecutive playoff losses. A new NFL record. The final score would indicate a blowout -- and it was -- but for one half the Chiefs hung with the Baltimore Ravens

At the end of two quarters, Matt Cassel was 9-of-15 for 70 yards and two interceptions. The Chiefs were down just 10-7 as the Ravens scored a touchdown in the final minute of the half. But it was clear the passing game wasn't going to be winning the game for the Chiefs.

It was going to be Jamaal Charles. In the first half, he had seven carries for 87 yards setting himself up for what I thought could be a big day. And then Charles got just two more carries in the second half.

What happened? Was it a game plan issue? Was Charles hurt?

"Jamaal had taken some big shots, he was fighting to be out there for us, but he was struggling through," Todd Haley said after the game. "He went through a stretch there where I knew he was hurting pretty good."

That sounds like a hint that Charles wasn't at 100 percent. The Chiefs use of Charles this year has been a topic of conversation because it's so perplexing at times. That was evident on Sunday with Charles' (lack of) second half touches. 

The Chiefs, though, indicated Charles' carries throughout the season were done with a larger purpose. They were going to get stronger in the second half of games and the second half of the season because Charles and Thomas Jones would be fresher than other running backs.

That was the plan and for a half it appeared to be the case. But Charles apparently broke down. He took several big shots from the Ravens and he had to come out a couple of times after taking a big shot. 

Maybe Todd Haley has been right all year where his actions would suggest Charles can't handle a full load. What makes that hard to understand for us, as fans, is that Charles was still effective almost every time he touched the ball -- whether he was hurt or not.

It's almost fitting that we're exiting this game with questions about how Charles was used. That was one of the top five story lines of the year and it'll continue on into the offseason.