KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The subject surrounding the Chiefs’ utilization of running back Jamaal Charles has come up two previous times this season.
The first came in Week 1 after Charles logged 11 touches (seven carries, four catches) in a loss against the Tennessee Titans. The second arrived in Week 5 when Charles recorded four second-half carries in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He totaled 16 touches (15 carries, one catch) against the 49ers.
Now add Monday to the mix as a third time through 13 games that coach Andy Reid had to address the disappearance of Charles, who totaled 12 touches (10 carries, two catches) during Sunday’s defeat at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals.
“I can’t tell you he was 100 percent or feeling 100 percent, not that anybody is this time of year,” Reid said during Monday’s media session. “He wasn’t feeling great, but I probably still could have given him the ball a few more times.”
Charles, of course, left the game briefly in the first quarter due to an ankle injury. But he returned after a short absence and was on the field for 50 of the team’s 65 offensive snaps, including on the team’s final possession.
The seventh-year pro had a 63-yard touchdown run on the Chiefs’ first possession of the first quarter before going down on the second possession.
He returned to score on an 18-yard receiving touchdown in the second quarter and finished the first half with 74 yards rushing and a touchdown on three carries, and the receiving touchdown.
Charles added 17 yards rushing on seven carries and a catch for 2 yards in the second half, as the Chiefs got away from Charles, who totaled 111 yards (91 rushing) on the game.
Reid revealed Charles is dealing with knee and ankle injuries from Sunday.
“He’s a bit tender today,” Reid said.
STRETCHING THE FIELD
Kansas City’s last possession Sunday came with 1:09 remaining in the fourth quarter and no timeouts at its own 24-yard line down 17-14.
The mission was simple: Get into field goal range for rookie kicker Cairo Santos, whose career-long is 53 yards, to at least attempt a game-tying field goal.
Quarterback Alex Smith’s first three passes went to running back Jamaal Charles for 2 yards, wide receiver Jason Avant for 4 and Avant for 6 yards to secure a first down at the 36-yard line.
An incomplete pass to Charles in the flat on first-and-10 stopped the clock with :22 remaining in the game, and then a 5-yard false start penalty on left tackle Eric Fisher pushed the Chiefs back to the 31-yard line.
Facing a second-and-10, Smith’s next three passes, all of which fell incomplete, stunningly went short left to wide receiver Albert Wilson, short right to Wilson and short middle to Avant, with no looks down the field before the Chiefs turned the ball over on downs.
The Chiefs’ inability to stretch the field with the game on the line proved a head-scratching moment, but Reid said there were plays designed to take shots against Arizona’s secondary.
“We had a couple verticals called,” Reid said. “We just weren’t able to get them accomplished there. They did a nice job of covering them and I’ve got to make sure that I’m dialing the right things up in those situations to be able to do that.”
The two controversial calls from Sunday’s game that went against the Chiefs hung in the air during Reid’s presser.
But the head coach quickly shot down questions surrounding tight end Travis Kelce’s fumble and tight end Anthony Fasano’s offensive pass interference call.
“We’re not allowed to talk about all that stuff,” Reid said. “So I’m just going to hold off on that.”
Reid was also tight lipped when probed if the Chiefs planned on submitting anything to the league.
“I can’t get into all of that,” he said.
Ultimately, Reid took a moment prior to closing his weekly presser to address his past experiences from dealing with the league surrounding controversial calls.
“You try to learn from them,” he said. “Good or bad. I think they do the same thing.”
Reid also offered the bottom line from Sunday’s game, which extended the Chiefs’ losing streak to three games and dropped the team to a 7-6 record.
“It doesn’t really matter what I think or they thought because the record, the game stands,” Reid said. “We lost the game whether they’re right or wrong. We lost the game.”
SNAP COUNT OBSERVATION
Rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines logged all 69 defensive snaps Sunday, marking the second straight week he has played all defensive snaps.
Inside linebacker Joe Mays drew his first start for the Chiefs and logged 34 defensive snaps. Fellow inside linebacker Josh Mauga totaled 61 snaps.
Rookie wide receiver Albert Wilson started at the split end position in place of Donnie Avery and logged 48 of the team’s 65 offensive snaps, which ranked second among wide receivers behind Dwayne Bowe’s 56. Avery logged one snap on offense, a week after totaling 27 offensive snaps in his return to lineup.