Take a look at these Chiefs statistics for each week this season:
Week 1: LOSS. Pass yards (202) Knile Davis (3 rush yards) Jamaal Charles (19 rush yards) Total Rush attempts (17) Defense (4 sacks)
Week 2: LOSS. Pass yards (255) Knile Davis (79 rush yards, 2 TD) Jamaal Charles (4 rush yards) Total Rush attempts (31) Defense (1 sack)
Week 3: WIN. Pass yards (186) Knile Davis (132 rush yards, 1 TD) Jamaal Charles (DNP) Total rush attempts (41) Defense (4 sacks)
Week 4: WIN. Pass yards (248) Knile Davis (107 rush yards) Jamaal Charles (92 rush yards, 1 TD) Total rush attempts (38) Defense (3 sacks)
Week 5: LOSS. Pass yards (158) Knile Davis (6 rush yards) Jamaal Charles (80 rush yards) Total rush attempts (20) Defense (3 sacks)
Examining those stats above, there is no obvious visual correlation between winning and passing yards. There is no obvious visual correlation between the number of sacks and winning. There is no visually obvious correlation between Knile Davis rush yards and winning, although it is clear he has been effective when used by Andy Reid. There is a pretty obvious correlation between few Jamaal Charles rush yards and losing. And there is a pretty obvious correlation between total rushing attempts and winning.
Granted, teams rush more when they have a lead, but the Chiefs had a lead against the 49ers and abandoned the running game, and they never even tried to establish the running game against Tennessee.
I have not criticized Andy Reid a single time in his brief tenure as the Chiefs’ head coach, but that will no longer be the case. The Chiefs’ biggest strength going into this season was their running backs, in spite of an unproven offensive line. We were worried that Jamaal Charles would be overused by Andy Reid after accounting for almost 40% of the Chiefs offense last season. Instead, we get a clear indication that Andy Reid has forgotten how to use his star player, and now we must worry that Charles will be underused.
There is much more to losing and winning than the statistics above; however, the Chiefs need to rely MORE on their running game, not less. Last season, the Chiefs were lucky (?) to hold leads late in many of their games, which enabled them to call more running plays and allow Jamaal Charles to finish games off, but this season, they have not fared as well, often getting behind early in games. THAT IS NO REASON TO ABANDON YOUR TEAM’S STRENGTH. Jamaal Charles is a scoring threat from anywhere on the field, and Knile Davis has proven to be a suitable and solid backup, capable of hitting seams with power and impunity, and he possesses great vertical speed. Add De’Anthony Thomas to the mix and the Chiefs have a 3-headed weapon that teams will literally have to create unique schemes to stop. I do not understand why Andy Reid has chosen to pass so much when he has three capable running backs (in games that Thomas missed, Joe McKnight and Cyrus Gray were available), AND Alex Smith has not thrown for more than 255 yards in a game.
I never like being too critical of the head coach, but in order for the Chiefs to win some games and have any chance at all of making the playoffs, they will need to use their running game more, particularly by giving the ball more to Jamaal Charles. And if Andy Reid refuses to run the ball more, then it is clear that Alex Smith needs someone besides Travis Kelce to get open and catch the ball because 255 pass yards will rarely be enough to beat quality NFL teams. Hopefully with the team off this week, they will have a chance to make adjustments to their game plan, starting in San Diego next Sunday.