As the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday, they’ll be without running back Jamaal Charles. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said today that Charles will miss the game with a knee injury.
Charles suffered a torn ACL last year and the team has been very careful with him, as he’s only played in three games this year and has carried the ball just 12 times for 40 yards and a touchdown (3.3 yards per carry), also catching two passes for 14 yards.
It’s a notable loss because of the player Charles has been throughout his career. He’s one of the all-time leaders in yards per carry for his career (5.5 yards per rush), and he’s rushed for 7,260 yards and 43 touchdowns in 103 games while also catching 285 passes for 2,457 yards and 20 scores. He’s been a very dynamic player who has struggled with injuries, but he’s been dominant against the Colts: in four career games (including a postseason game in which he left with an injury after just three carries), he has rushed for 437 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 8.1 yards per rush, and he has added nine catches for 56 yards. He’s averaging 109.3 yards per game against the Colts, and that’s including a game in which he rushed for just 18 yards! He has had a 222 yard game against the team and another 100+ yard game as well (106), so he’s dominated the Colts like so many other running backs have too.
The loss of Charles isn’t nearly as significant this year, however, and that’s because all year it’s been the Spencer Ware show at running back - and it will probably continue to be so. A sixth round pick in 2013, Ware has stepped up in a huge way this year. He’s started all six games and has rushed for 492 yards and two touchdowns this year, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and also adding 15 catches for 285 yards and a score.
On Sunday, Ware will face a Colts defense that is arguably the league’s worst run defense, and one that will be without their two best defensive linemen. The absence of Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson, coupled with the horrible linebacker play and Ware’s talent, makes for a huge mismatch in the Chiefs’ favor and one they likely will exploit. So even with Charles out, the Colts have plenty to worry about with Spencer Ware.