The Kansas City Chiefs’ prolific rushing attack has been something of a feast or famine proposition in 2012. The Buccaneers’ ability to defeat the Chiefs this coming Sunday at Raymond James Stadium may hinge on tipping those scales towards famine.
Kansas City ranks second in the NFL with an average of 180.8 rushing yards per game. That’s good. The Chiefs have the fourth highest total of runs of 10 or more yards. That’s quite good, as well. But K.C.’s rushing attack also has the most negative plays this season, having suffered 26 “stuffs,” or tackles behind the line of scrimmage. That’s bad.
If that sounds like a Barry Sanders type of report card, well, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles may be the closest the NFL has to Sanders right now. Charles has been stuffed 19 times, the most of any running back in the league through five weeks. He has been stopped behind the line of scrimmage on very nearly one of out of every five handoffs. On the other hand, he also owns 14 carries of 10 or more yards, tied for fourth in the NFL with Philly’s LeSean McCoy. Charles is averaging a robust 5.4 yards per carry, helped immensely by his 91-yarder against New Orleans in Week Three. He has at least one carry of 25 yards in four of his five outings so far.
Can the Bucs’ defense stop Charles from feasting? Well, they do lead the NFL in stuffs of opposing backs, with 22. Tampa Bay also has the best stuff percentage, having stoned opposing backs behind the line of scrimmage on a remarkably 23.9% of their carries, or nearly one quarter of the time. The next highest percentage, of 16.5, belongs to the Bears’ defense.