Kareem Hunt’s record-setting rookie year lost in Chiefs-Raiders drama

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Kareem Hunt
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Kareem Hunt /

On a night most Chiefs fans would love to forget, Kareem Hunt had another night to remember. The Chiefs rookie continues to set records.

Kareem Hunt came into the NFL setting records.

From his very first game as a professional football player, Hunt has proven himself to be much more capable of contributing immediately than what anyone initially believed—including the team that drafted him. Fortunately the Kansas City Chiefs have enjoyed the rewards of their efforts to trade up in the 2017 NFL Draft to take him in the third round.

On Thursday Night Football in another primetime match-up, Hunt once again extended his own record-setting rookie marks. With another 87 rushing yards on 18 carries and 30 receiving yards on 4 catches, Hunt became the first rookie to ever eclipse 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first seven games in the NFL. Of course, he would be the only rookie to do so since he also set the same record last week with his sixth consecutive 100-yard game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hunt now leads the entire NFL in both rushing yards, rushing yards per game and total yards from scrimmage. What’s amazing is that he’s already eclipsed 1,002 yards from scrimmage and the Chiefs are not even halfway through the regular season.

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What makes Hunt even more impressive is how he continues to pile up the yardage despite being the focus of defensive efforts and the fact that his own offensive line is in shambles. Cameron Erving, Zach Fulton and Bryan Witzmann are three of the starters for the Chiefs at this point, playing together over several games. Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif looked ready to claim their first Pro Bowl nominations through the first couple games of the season, but instead they’ve both been sidelined for weeks now.

For Hunt, this has meant a significant decrease in productivity. Hunt hasn’t scored a single touchdown since Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Thursday night’s average of 4.8 yards/carry was a nice boost from previous weeks in which he’d been held to totals like 2.3 or 3.7 yards/carry instead. The Chiefs face some of the best defensive fronts in the game with their loaded schedule, and Hunt has been less productive in the face of those defenses without his own starting line.

That said, Hunt should have even greater numbers than what he has now: a record-setting season that got lost for a week, at least, in the shuffle of last night’s controversial game. A rookie pushing through difficulties to reach 1,000 total yards from scrimmage through just seven games deserves significant fanfare. We’re watching a record-setting season unfold week to week. Let’s at least celebrate and acknowledge that even as we, as Chiefs fans, remain frustrated with the way other things have happened.