Jamaal Charles is greatness. The Kansas City Chiefs running back is chronically underrated by the NFL masses, mostly because of his quiet demeanor and selfless attitude.
Unquestionably, Charles is the best player on this team. Still, he seems to get lost in the shuffle with an emerging star in Travis Kelce and terrific performances from Justin Houston, Alex Smith, Knile Davis and others. Sometimes, being the best can be a curse. The indelible performances become mundane, forgotten because they are expected.
This week, Charles deserves a moment in the film room. Without his effort, Kansas City would have been in major trouble against the New York Jets. Below we will look at three plays that show why Charles is the NFL record-holder in yards per carry and one of the most dangerous players this league has ever seen.
Play #1 - 1st and 10 at KC 19, 14:55 remaining in 1st quarter
Let's take a look at how the Chiefs lined up:
Kansas City lines up with two tight ends on the left with Anthony Sherman and Charles in the I Formation. It appears to be a strong side run to the left, but the Chiefs intend to go weak side.
The right side of the line gets pushed back and boxes Charles in. For most running backs, this is a loss or perhaps a very minimal gain. Charles is looking for the cutback but sees that the hole is being filled by a linebacker.
Here's the overhead view of the second frame. We can see the sideline lane, but Charles has no view of that. Most backs would try to cut it back to the left side and get back to the line of scrimmage, but Charles feels the opening and heads outside. Let's take a fun look.
Charles has gotten to the outside with all these would-be tacklers chasing him. Before the play ends, Charles has picked and nine yards and puts the Chiefs in fine position to pick up the first down on the next play. Unfortunately, Kansas City suffers an incompletion which led to this jewel...
Play #2 - 3rd and 1 at KC 28, 14:19 remaining in 1st quarter
Again, here is how the Chiefs are lined up:
This is the same formation as the first down play, just flipped. Think the Chiefs will go strong side this time and run between Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano? Nope.
Charles is headed left but the Jets are crashing hard, sending six defenders into the area. Charles is running parallel to the line, looking for a small crease to gain the necessary yard.
New York appears to have Charles boxed in. The Jets have Calvin Pryor sealing off the outside and Sheldon Richardson screaming down the line to cut off the lane between Eric Fisher and Rodney Hudson. If Charles doesn't pick up this first down, Kansas City does not score its first touchdown.
However, this is Jamaal Charles. See that black circle behind the line of scrimmage? That's the remains of Pryor and Richardson, who were completely juked out of their shoes. The red arrow? Yeah, that is Charles, a first down and a gain of three yards.
Play #3 - 3rd and 11 at KC 36, 11:18 remaining in 3rd quarter
First Kansas City drive of the second half, which ultimately results in a field goal. On this critical drive, the Chiefs face a long third down and line up as follows:
Kansas City is in three-wide out of the shotgun with Charles in the backfield and Fasano on the right end of the line. Dwayne Bowe is split right with A.J. Jenkins wide left and Junior Hemingway in the slot.
This is the look as Smith is throwing the ball. Nobody is open downfield, so Smith checks down to Charles and hopes his All-Pro running back can make magic. From where he catches the ball, Charles needs nine yards for the first down, as illustrated by the red line.
The Jets have Charles surrounded, but No. 25 has a full head of steam. A normal player would be tackled around the 44 or 45-yard line, but again, this is Charles.
Through amazing time travel, here is the end of the play. Stunningly, Charles is at the 49-yard line with a first down. He split the defenders and dove forward, keeping the drive alive.
Charles is the most dynamic weapon in the NFL, bar none.