KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An enduring image from Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles’ record-breaking 16-yard touchdown run came on a violent midair collision as he crossed the goal line.
Charles, who became the Chiefs’ all-time rushing leader on the play, was on the receiving end of a crushing hit by former teammate and current Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers.
Charles, however, immediately jumped up, and then ran to the sidelines with a big smile. Flowers bore the bad end of the collision and eventually left the game with a concussion.
That Charles came out OK after the hit doesn’t surprise Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
“He’s dirty tough,” Reid said during Monday’s media session. “There’s a special category for those guys, and he’s in that category. There are not a lot of those around, but he’s a beast for sure.”
Reid knows running backs given his history in Philadelphia with the likes of Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter and LeSean McCoy, all of whom brought toughness to the running game.
Charles, a seventh-year pro, also has an underrated tough-rusher reputation.
He suffered in Week 2 what the Chiefs called a high ankle sprain, an injury that typically requires multiple weeks to heal, and returned to practice the following week.
While Charles didn’t play in Week 3, he returned in Week 4 to produce 108 total yards (92 rushing) and three touchdowns (two receiving).
Knowing what Charles brings to the team every day with work ethic and toughness to achieve the team record of 6,133 career yards rushing left Reid pleased.
“Proud of Jamaal for the record that he broke,” Reid said. “I don’t think Jamaal nor the team had that in mind during the game, but what a great accomplishment when you step back and look at that from an individual standpoint to do that. I’ve mentioned before, but the hard work that goes into that, you can’t look over that. The offseason training, the diet, in season, how hard he works at each practice.”
COMING UP BIG
From rookie kicker Cairo Santos’ game-winning 48-yard field goal to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and tight end Travis Kelce combining for 43 yards receiving on the drive to set up Santos, the Chiefs had numerous clutch performances against the Chargers.
There were other plays throughout the game, such as quarterback Alex Smith ability to scramble out of the pocket or rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines breaking up passes.
Sunday’s game saw players coming up big in key situation, and that had Reid feeling good about his team.
“I’m proud of the guys when they do those things,” Reid said. “Often as a coach, you’re a teacher, so you’re going to tell them when they are not doing the right thing, complement when they are doing the right thing.
“So it’s always good to give somebody a pat on the back for a job well done. You need big plays. When two good teams are playing each other, you’re going to need those plays to take place.”