KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs running back Charcandrick West picked a perfect time to break out.
Boosted by West’s career-high 110 yards rushing and touchdown on 22 carries, the Chiefs (2-5) snapped a five-game losing streak Sunday by dropping the Steelers (4-3) 23-13 at Arrowhead Stadium.
West added two catches for 19 yards to give him 129 total yards of offense.
“We’ve known what he can do,” coach Andy Reid said. “It was just a matter of getting enough opportunities. I mentioned that after last game that he needed a few more opportunities. He got those today. You saw what he did with it.”
Reaching the 100-yard rushing barrier and the touchdown marked career firsts for West, but the third-quarter scoring plunge from the 1-yard line made the day extra special.
“Man, I haven’t come down from it yet,” West said with a large smile. “I’m still in the end zone in my books; that’s a great feeling.
“To score an NFL touchdown, it’s already hard to get in the end zone, for me to score my first one here with my guys, it’s a blessing.”
West could take some credit for helping the Chiefs win, but that would be contrary to his humble nature.
Instead, he chose to deflect the praise coming at him and directed attention to the players responsible for springing him free most of the afternoon.
“How my o-line was blocking today, anybody could’ve got back there and run,” West said. “They did a great job.”
The compliments went both ways, of course.
Jeff Allen, who returned to the starting lineup at right tackle, said the offense thrives when the running game is clicking like it did Sunday.
“It gives us not only as the offensive line, but it gives the whole team confidence,” Allen said. “It’s not just the offense. Running the ball is a mindset, it’s all about will. Of course, you have to have right technique, but finishing guys and popping your running back for a long run it gives everyone energy.”
Left guard Ben Grubbs agreed with Allen.
“We stress coming off the ball, being physical,” Grubb said, “and I think that’s what we did today and we were able to get our back 100 yards.”
West’s performance marked the first 100-yard game for the Chiefs since Jamaal Charles rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries in Week 2.
With Charles out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 5, the Chiefs were expected to roll with a running back-by-committee comprised of West, Knile Davis and Spencer Ware.
But Sunday was all about the 5-10, 205-pound West, who commanded 22 of the Chiefs’ 29 total rush attempts with Davis and Ware each getting one carry.
The results spoke volumes against a Pittsburgh run defense that entered Sunday ranked seventh in the league, allowing 93.3 yards rushing per game, before West gashed his way through it.
Fullback Anthony Sherman, who led the way for West, was happy for his backfield teammate.
“He’s been preparing since he got here last year,” Sherman said. “Mentally and physically, he was ready to do what he did today. He just needed the opportunity, he got it and he did a great job.”
West’s performance also came with a pregame premonition from Saturday night.
“I went to sleep seeing this,” West said. “I went to sleep last night telling myself, you got to see it before it happens. I said I’m going to score my first touchdown, get my first 100-yard game. I felt it.”
The second-year pro out of Abilene Christian had his vision reinforced by Allen, who also saw good things from West before kickoff.
“I told him before the game he was going to have 100 yards before the game,” Allen said. “I promise you I told him. Like I said, it’s a mindset. As long as we believe we are going to go out there and dominate, we give ourselves a chance.”