Kansas City Chiefs
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Rookie Hunt jump-starting Chiefs high-flying offense
Just 10 days after the Kansas City Chiefs dropped 42 points on the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, head coach Andy Reid's squad entered the locker room against the Philadelphia Eagles with a meager six points on the scoreboard.
"We weren't having a ton of production in that first half with the run game," Reid said.
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt rushed for a meager 8 yards on five carries in the first half, and the Chiefs offense looked pale in comparison to their Week 1 performance when Hunt tallied 246 yards from scrimmage.
In the second half, however, Hunt woke up the Kansas City offense with a 53-yard touchdown run on his way to 85 yards from scrimmage with two second-half touchdowns.
Reid put Hunt in a category with two excellent running backs from his past who quickly made an impact on the passing game.
"I was blessed to have Duce Staley and Brian Westbrook and both of those two are smart guys," Reid said. "I had other guys that were good too, but those two were able to pick it up fast."
Hunt is in that group too.
"This kid, he understands it," Reid said. "That part is not a real struggle for him."
The Chiefs rank second in the NFL with 148.5 yards rushing per game thanks to Hunt's electric start. He has caught eight passes for 126 yards, ranking him as the team's third-leading receiver behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
Quarterback Alex Smith said Hunt showcased good hands, excellent route running and natural catching skills early on during offseason workouts. But it's his ability to perform in specific situations that has impressed the veteran quarterback the most.
"Two-minute, third down, really getting more exotic things in the pressure there with the protection and route-running, goal line, four minute," Smith said. "There are so many little things (and) you have to be able to handle all those compartments as a running back. I think he has done a really good job."
The Chiefs and Chargers meet on Sunday with run games going in different directions. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry and ranks next to last in the league in rushing yards.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he wants to integrate Gordon more into the offense.
"We need to establish that a little bit more," Lynn said. "Last week we just got away from it."
Lynn said he favors doing what's working, and that quarterback Philip Rivers was moving the ball through the air against the Dolphins. Rivers finished the game 31-of-39 passing for 331 yards and a touchdown.
"We didn't stick with it," Lynn said. "That's why last week it didn't work, but I feel very confident in our run game and our guys up front. If we stick with it for four quarters, I think we'll like the results."
SERIES HISTORY: 114th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead series, 58-54-1. The Chiefs own an 11-game winning streak against AFC West opponents and have won six straight against the Chargers.