Losing to the Bears in heartbreaking fashion may not have been the worst thing to happen this Sunday to the Chiefs faithful. In the 3rd quarter, Chiefs fans and players alike, watched their star running back fall to the ground with about 9:16 left in the 3rd quarter. Immediately after, You could feel the worry and tension in the sea of red known as Arrowhead Stadium. The injury occurred when he planted his right knee to make a cut, a non-contact injury. These types of non-contact injuries in the past have resulted in many long term injuries. Right now Charles is no different. The early medical reports are saying the worst, Jamaal Charles has a torn acl in his right knee. While this is a very bad situation with a lot of negative effects, there is one positive out of this, if you want to call it that. The tear was in his right knee and not his left. While this may seem insignificant at first, back in 2011 he tore his acl in his left knee during the 2nd game of the year in Tennessee. It’s hard enough to recover from one acl tear in a single knee, a second could have ended his stellar career.
This team just lost one of the biggest names in its franchise’s history, where do the Chiefs go from here? This season seemed pretty bleak before week 5 anyway given the teams 1-3 record going into their home match-up with the Bears. But a win would’ve entered them right back into the thick of things in the AFC. Going into week 5 the Chiefs faced 4 straight very winnable games with the talent they have on their roster, anything less than a 3-1 record would have been a disappointment. They were lined up to face: vs the Bears (loss 18-17), @Minnesota Vikings, vs Pittsburgh Steelers, vs Detroit Lions. Even though it is being thrown around that Big Ben is slated to return week 7 against the Chiefs, with the very underrated Chiefs secondary and the advantage of Arrowhead Stadium, they would have had a great chance of getting the win. But of course, all of these games rely heavily on the shoulders of Jamaal Charles. Jamaal Charles is the number one guy on Andy Reid’s offense. On a team where receivers don’t shine, the RB position is valued more than any, in a league where the RB position seems to be fading away with all the RB by committee approaches of teams in recent years. Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs have not gone with the flow of the league however. But you just can’t when you have the all-time NFL average yards per rush leader with 5.8 yards per carry.
No single player can make up for any single loss on a NFL team as significant as Jamaal Charles. it will take efforts from multiple people. The entire receiving corp will need to step up, all the way from TE Travis Kelce, to free agent signee WR Jeremy Maclin, to 3rd round Rookie Chris Conley. But even if the receiving corp does step up it means nothing if the Offensive line can’t protect Alex Smith. The Chiefs are tied for dead last in sacks so far with 22 sacks given up. Seattle also has given up 22 sacks through 5 games. Maclin and company can be as open as they want, but it won’t matter if Alex Smith only has a split second to make a throw every play. The back ups to Jamaal Charles of course will need to step into the lineup with the next man up attitude. Charcandrick West took over Knile Davis earlier in the year as the back-up to Charles. An undrafted free agent from Abilene Christian University made his mark early this year. “We like what Charcandrick has been doing,” Reid said last week, according to the Garden City Telegram. “We also like Knile. In certain situations, we like to use them all.” Expect another running back by committee in Kansas City. Right now it looks like West will get more touches than Davis, but from the words of Andy Reid, it seems to be match-up dependent. Most importantly, the biggest improvement the Chiefs need, especially in wake of Charle’s injury, is Andy Reid himself. If Andy Reid can find a way to keep creative play calls coming, mixing up short and long, run and pass, the Chiefs can still find a way to be successful.