Coming out of Arkansas, Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie running back Knile Davis was known for more then his unique mixture of size and speed.
He was known for fumbling the football.
Davis has managed to tame his problem for the most of the season, but it came back to bite him in a crucial moment of last week’s 23-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Hanging onto a 7-3 lead in the second quarter, Davis took an Alex Smith handoff up the middle where he was met by veteran defensive end Robert Mathis. Davis, holding onto the ball loosely, fumbled upon impact and turned the ball over. A 33-yard Andrew Luck screen pass to Donald Brown gave the Colts the lead, and all the momentum.
“I didn’t have two hands on it,” Davis told reporters after the game.
Davis, who has 43 carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns on the season, hasn’t had the benefit of a lot of carries while backing up Jamaal Charles. That could change against San Diego.
With nothing to play for, in regard to playoff position, against the Chargers, head coach Andy Reid has said that there’s a possibility of repetitions being split between the starters and their backups. Following his performance against the Colts, this could be Davis’s chance to utilize his exceptional size and speed in an enlarged role in the final regular season came of the year.
“When I get my opportunity, I’ll be better next week,” Davis told Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
Playing against the Chargers rush defense is an opportunity in itself for Davis to make his mark. While ranked 10th in total rush defense, the Chargers average a whopping 4.7 yards per carry. With an increased amount of carries, Davis should see a lot more chances to break through the San Diego defense and show the blazing speed that people witnessed when he was a Razorback last year.
Heading into the playoffs, wear and tear can set in with players–especially running backs. The final matchup with the Chargers might also be Davis’s shot to prove that he can be a viable, and responsible, backup to Charles.
Charles currently has 259 carries on the season, just 26 rushes away from tying the most in his career (2012). This kind of production, just two years after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, is worrisome for any player, let alone a team’s most valuable player.
Should Davis turn in a quality performance against San Diego, he will vault himself into consideration for more carries throughout the playoff run.