KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Running back Kareem Hunt fought for every last inch sneaking the ball over the end zone, so no one could begrudge the Chiefs rookie for taking a short rest on the field.
But Hunt’s nap was more message than respite.
“Stop sleeping on me,” Hunt said. “That’s what I want to let everybody know, and pretty much that’s what I like doing, scoring touchdowns.”
Hard to believe anyone in the league is sleeping on Hunt after his first two NFL games. The accolades are mind-boggling:
- Only eight rookies have rushed for more yards in their first two games than Hunt’s 229 yards so far this season. The list ahead of him: Ottis Anderson (302), William Andrews (288), Billy Sims (287), Cadillac Williams (276), Marshall Faulk (247), Earl Campbell (244), Charlie Garner (233) and Edgerrin James (230).
- Of those eight backs ahead of him, none carried a yards per carry as glossy as Hunt’s 7.6 yards per clip. The next best of that group: Sims at 6.8.
- Only three rookies totaled more yards from scrimmage than Hunt’s 355 yards: Sims (445), Faulk (360) and Anderson (359).
- Only two rookies have equaled Hunt’s five touchdowns through two games: Sims in 1980 and Jahvid Best in 2010.
- No running back has a higher yards per carry on at least 30 carries in their first two NFL games than Hunt’s 7.6 average. The next best is Darren McFadden, who averaged 7 yards per carry during his first two games in 2008.
Hunt logged 81 yards rushing on 13 carries against the Eagles. Much of that damage came in the second half after the Chiefs struggled to move the ball on the ground in the first half. Hunt picked up 73 yards on eight rushes in the second half.
“Our offense started slow,” Hunt said about the team’s second-half rally. “We came in (the locker room), we had to fix some things. Everybody took pride in what they did and we just played hard.”
Head coach Andy Reid felt Hunt and the offensive line warmed up in the second half.
“We got it straightened out,” Reid said. “The offensive line kept coming and ended up doing a nice job with it. It was important.”
Hunt also added three catches for 28 yards, giving him a total of 126 receiving yards through two games.
“I pride myself on being a balanced running back,” Hunt said after the win. “Some speed, some power. Just being able to finish. Honestly you need to fight for every yard.”
Hunt’s biggest play changed the tenor of the game. After held in check through much of the game, Hunt broke through the Eagles’ defensive line and sped 53-yards to the end zone. That put the Chiefs up 13-10.
Tight end Travis Kelce received a flag for taunting during the celebration. He didn’t want to talk about the flag after the game, just about his running back.
“Kareem Hunt went to the house,” Kelce said. “He can play some football. The O-line blocked it perfectly up front and from there it was just to the house.
Hunt proved wrong anyone who thought he might be a one-hit wonder after his New England debut.”
“I just want to keep doing what I do,” Hunt said when asked it felt good do dispel any doubters. “Just keep helping this team win. That comes from the offensive line and everybody just straining to finish.”