Running the ball behind enemy lines

The Chiefs say they want to run the ball.The numbers say they can't. The Chargers probably think they can't. And most of all, the Chargers' numbers say they can't.

On the bright side, at least Damon Huard is the quarterback.

San Diego, the NFL's No. 1 defense, allows 71 rushing yards per game. They give up a league-best 218 yards per game.

They probably aren't overly concerned with Larry Johnson and his 3.4 yards per carry.

"I don't think they're very worried about who they play," Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said.

After a 36-yard rushing performance by Johnson against Pittsburgh last week, the rushing game, which the Chiefs had hoped could carry them through Trent Green's injury if not the whole season, is not-so-suddenly a major concern. Injuries and retirements have hurt the Chiefs greatly in this area, but Kansas City is not doing itself any favors by beginning every game the same way -- hand to Johnson on first and second down, throw a high-percentage pass on third-and-6, hope somebody misses a tackle. This has been the Chiefs' attack early in all of their games. It worked a little in Week 1. Worked less in Week 2. Everything worked in Week 3. It did not work against Arizona and was a complete failure against Pittsburgh.

Edwards was elusive when asked about the predictability of his offense.

"In what way?" he asked. "If you're saying we're just running the ball that's not very accurate because in the last two games we actually passed the ball more than we ran. We threw 39 passes last week and only ran the ball 19 times."

He conceded the high number of pass plays was the result of early deficits. But at some point, the Chiefs will need to give defenses some reason to believe the Chiefs will throw downfield, some reason to back the eighth guy out of the box.

"We're going to have to demonstrate we can throw the ball downfield," tight end Tony Gonzalez was quoted as saying. "Or teams are going to continue to sit on 27,"

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, an early disciple of Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, has the career head-to-head bragging rights on his old boss, 3-1.

"I think the thing I learned most from Marty -- and I came (to Kansas City) the first time as a minority intern for almost three weeks -- was that he had his philosophy on how he was going to coach football, how he was going to run practice, the type of players he wanted and he never let anyone distract him from doing that, " Edwards said.

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