A day that will be remembered forever in Chiefs Kingdom. A day that will forever live in infamy in the Raider Nation. A player that never truly received his due but one that will never be forgotten. Jamaal Charles played his best game as a Chief on December 15th, 2013 in a game vs the rival Raiders. Charles rushed for only 20 yards on eight carries with one touchdown, but had an astounding 195 yards receiving for four TD’s on eight receptions. Most fans will recall the three-screen passes in which Charles was able to score three times. Yet, his best play that capped off the day was a 71-yard wheel route that sealed the game.
First, credit to Andy Reid for the excellent play design. On third and short, the Chiefs get the Raiders to crowd the box by lining up in a two tight set with a split backfield and a flex end, Junior Hemingway, to the left. On the snap, the motion brings Hemingway over and takes the CB with him, which is a tell that a team is in man defense. As the ball is snapped, Hemingway takes off up the field on a fly which takes the CB with him and also pulls the high safety further up the field.
This is where the genius of Reid and the ability of a player like Charles coincide perfectly. Charles is 1v1 with the play-side LB. Charles shows a flat route initially turning his head and looking over his shoulder as if to look for Smith to throw it to the sticks. Then he plants his foot and takes off up the field. Olympic speed vs a LB means it’s game over.
The top of the route has been cleared by Hemingway and Smith leads Charles in stride. The safety sees it but all JC has to do is make one cut to the middle and he’s gone. This caps a brilliant day with a brilliant play.
Some may see this play as a function of having Andy Reid as a great play-calling head coach, which, to be fair, he is. He consonantly finds ways to put his players in position to win. But this kind of play wouldn’t work with every player who happens to be a RB. Consider how quickly Charles has to go from his cut to a full on sprint in order get into the open field and avoid the mess at the top. There are only a few backs in the history of the NFL that have the capability to pull off such a crisp route with the speed to finish the play. It’s plays like this that made Jamaal Charles a special, do it all back, who was one of the best to ever to do it in Kansas City.