Chiefs could have NFL’s best backfield in 2016

After Jamaal Charles went down, the Chiefs were pleasantly surprised to find a pair of quality young backs on the roster. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
After Jamaal Charles went down, the Chiefs were pleasantly surprised to find a pair of quality young backs on the roster. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 20, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) carries the ball to score a touchdown during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) carries the ball to score a touchdown during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Against Pittsburgh the following week, West would make the country take notice and begin a team turnaround with a terrific performance. It may have helped that Pittsburgh was struggling to stop the run at that point in the season but West found his stride with 22 carries for 110 yards and one touchdown including a long of 36 yards. He would have a 32-yard scamper in London against Detroit and a 38-yard jaunt in Baltimore.

Long runs would be a regular thing for Chiefs running backs the rest of the season. West would only have one game in the next 8 where he didn’t have a run longer than 12 yards. That game was due to injury in San Diego but also gave Spencer Ware his turn to rip off some big gains and take his place on this team.  Ware finished the day with 96 yards on 11 carries and a long of 52.  He would also put in longs of 35 against Buffalo and 20 at home against San Diego.

Chiefs fans are used to these long runs from Jamaal Charles but these two backs have proven that while they may not have Charles’ break away speed, they can make the cuts and moves to get to that second level on a regular basis. Even through the first five games of the season Charles managed to rush for 364 yards with longs of 34 and 24.

Through the entire season the Chiefs managed to hang on as the sixth best rushing offense thanks to running backs that make the term “running back by committee” a positive thing again. With the addition of Mitchell Schwartz this offseason and the continued growth of the offensive line, the running games looks only to get better as 2016 begins. And of course we can’t forget about the rushing talents of Alex Smith who chipped in nearly 500 yards in 2015 including 3 of over 20 yards.

The fact is that no other team has three running backs, and a quarterback, that can bust off a 20+ yard run at any moment. Should the injury bug be back in 2016 then a reliable backfield won’t be a concern and the confidence of this team will only increase.