Jamaal Charles Gets By With A Little Help From His Friends

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs’ running back Jamaal Charles is arguably one of the best all-purpose running backs in the NFL, if not the best.

In six seasons in the NFL, all with the Chiefs, Charles has put up some impressive numbers both with his feet and as a receiver. So far, he’s rushed for 5,097 yards and 23 touchdowns, while also catching 188 passes for 1,619 yards and nine touchdowns.

He continues to add to those numbers, mind you.

The Chiefs are 7-0, and at least offensively, Charles has been a huge reason why. This offense has struggled to score at times, but Charles has been consistently consistent.

He’s carried the ball 135 times in 2013, racking up 561 yards and six touchdowns. He’s also caught 36 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns.

What makes Charles so good is that he can juke his way to a 90 yard score, take a quick flair route and outrun defenders to open space, or simply just lower his shoulder and pick up tough yards.

This season, Charles has been exceptionally good near the goal line, and we got another glimpse of that this past Sunday against the Texans.

With 2:50 left in the first quarter, the Chiefs were faced with first and goal from the one yard line. Kansas City lined up in a heavy package with two tight ends in the game, a fullback in the backfield in front of Charles, and a wing-back to the left:formation

Smith motioned the wing back in, and at that point it was rather clear that the Chiefs were going to play some power football:

power football


The play call was a simple stretch-lead play, with the guard, Eric Fisher, pulling out the block the outside linebacker. Anthony Fasano would base block the defensive end and Jon Asamoah’s job was to out-block the defensive tackle. That sets the right side of the line, which then allows Anthony Sherman to block the inside linebacker. That should create an easy running lane for Charles:

blocking scheme

Asamoah got his player on the ground, and now you can see how the wall started to form.


Credit Anthony Sherman for the rest of this run. He goes down and cuts the linebacker, which really opens up a hole for Charles:sherman

Still, notice Fasano and Fisher, who really made some nice blocks on this play:fasanofisher

All-in-all, the great blocking up front allows Charles to walk untouched into the end zone:

great blocking


In front of every great running back is a great offensive line, and even though the Chiefs’ offensive line has struggled at times this year, here’s an example of absolute dominance from the big guys up front.

Fisher, who has been much maligned this season (I’ve gotten after him as well) made a tremendous block, and Fasano, back from injury, dominated his defender. Let’s not overlook Sherman either. He’s been opening up running lanes all season long.

At the end of the day, Charles will get the much deserved credit and he gets the touchdown to his name, but this score was a team effort.

The Chiefs have been preaching team all season long. Charles’ touchdown run against the Texans was a direct result of that effort.


Note: Film courtesy of NFL Rewind. Markings are my own.

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Tags: Anthony Fasano Anthony Sherman Eric Fisher Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs

  • Jason Seibel

    I love the final picture of that series where three Texans defenders who could have made a play are on the ground and well out of reach of Charles. This O line really stepped up their game on Sunday.

  • Bosco Cletus

    Not sure what qualifies as an all purpose back but Charles (who is no doubt amazing) is no where near “the best”, Ladainian Tomlinson immediately came to mind most recently,(9 seasons with over 50 catches) without a doubt an all purpose back and Charles is no where near him. Love the pics on the td run though. Good work.

    • Jason Seibel

      Currently playing, who is better than JC? LT isn’t in the league anymore. He’s trying to stumble his way through a broadcasting career. I agree he was the heat when he played, but I think Andrew’s right, there isn’t a better back in the league when you talk about rushing and receiving, than JC!

      • Jordan

        Jason you are completely right when referring to this year but think back to last year when LeSean McCoy was clicking on all cylinders I can’t remember his numbers and I’m admittedly posting this on the run(cell phone) but I’m curious of how the two stack up if there’s a similarity maybe it’s the offense maybe they’re both just good in different ways? I’m really not sure bt food for thought

        • berttheclock

          Your suggestion of McCoy is very accurate. Overall, Charles leads him with a combined total of 6,716 total yards for 5 years and 7 games. McCoy has 5406 for 4 years and 7 games. But, remember the first year of Charles when he was not used a great deal and he still ended up with 629 yards. This is why Andy Reid was so excited in having Charles for his system. He fits the same mold as McCoy did for him.

      • Bosco Cletus

        My mistake if he meant only current, that I could agree with.
        I could also agree with your assessment of LT’s tv career, not good at all. Harrison on the show is light years above him honestly.

      • Danny W

        LT had the chops as a running back but he sucks as a broadcaster. He’s down right horrible. I wish the guy the best because by all accounts he’s a good man. But he’s a bust as a broadcaster.

        • berttheclock

          Happens to many. In Seattle, I heard both Steve Largent and Ahmad Rashaad absolutely butcher a preseason game of the Seahawks. They couldn’t find the right yard marker on plays. It is little wonder why Rashaad ended up just doing sideline feel goods. However, his worst ever was in being the only interviewer Michael Jordan allowed to ask him any questions on TV about his “retirement”. After a huge amount of hype, Ahmad looked at him sternly and said, “Michael, I have to ask you if you ever bet on basketball games?”. To which, MJ replied, “No”. Ahmad smiled and, then, asked, “Well, how’s the family?” True “investigative” journalism at its “best”.

    • Jim Harper

      Come on Bozo! No where near? You need to get yourself into a 12 step program immediately. Jamaal holds the NFL record for a career in yards per carry with a 5.7 average. Jim Brown only averaged 5.2 and was second

  • tomflex

    It sure helps to have Fasano back…the line has missed his blocking skills just as much if not more than his receiving skills.

    • berttheclock


      At one point, I almost second guessed the release of Steve Maneri, but, he really has not played very much for the Bears.

  • berttheclock

    Thank you, Andrew, for once again bringing meaningful analysis to the forum. Interesting about Fasano making such an excellent block. You do know that Pro Football Focus gave him their worst rating for any Chiefs player in that game? I thought Fasano may have been a little rusty coming back, but, perhaps, PFF was a little too harsh.

    • Andrew Kulha

      Thanks, Bert. I find the truth is usually in the middle between the harsh and homer analysis.

  • ArrowFan

    All around I though Fisher had a very good game. If he can start to handle himself on an island during passing downs we will see our passing game and running game explode. Can’t wait for Dumbver…