The 49ers are known for their stout run defense, but the interior of their "D" was no match for the Chiefs' running game on Sunday.
Behind strong efforts from Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, Kansas City ran for 207 yards against the Niners, romping past them 31-10 in a completely one-sided affair. Jones racked up 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts. Meanwhile, Charles had 12 carries for 97 yards and added three catches for 57 yards.
The 3-0 Chiefs have now run for at least 135 yards in all three games this season, something they accomplished only four times in all of 2009. The offseason addition of Jones has given them more balance on the ground and allowed them to keep players fresh throughout the contest. Following Sunday's action, the Chiefs are the league's No. 1 rushing offense, gaining 160.7 yards per game on the ground.
The PFW Spin
The addition of Jones and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was expected to make a significant difference in the ground game, but few thought things would come together this quickly.
Weis has devised a game plan to maximize production out of both Jones and Charles, however, which is why the rushing attack is hitting on all cylinders. Jones uses his physical, hard-charging style to wear down defenses, then Charles comes into the game and utilizes his speed and elusiveness to expose a tired defensive front. Even though some believe Charles hasn't been seeing enough touches this season, it's a strategy that clearly has worked. One look at the numbers will prove that.
The fact that K.C.'s running game has fared well against stiff defensive competition like San Francisco and San Diego goes to show that the Chiefs' early-season success is no fluke. They should continue to churn out yardage moving forward, especially against a schedule that isn't exactly the league's toughest. Following the Chiefs' road trips to Indianapolis and Houston in Weeks Five and Six, the rest of their slate is very manageable, and they're likely to be favored in a majority of those contests. Things set up well for them to be in the playoff mix late in the year.
The Chiefs might not be getting great production from QB Matt Cassel and the passing game, but they won't need to if Jones and Charles keep getting it done on the ground. As long as Cassel doesn't turn the ball over, K.C. should stand a chance in most contests given its running game and much-improved defense.