No Excuses For Charles

This season has been a work in progress for Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. During Week 1, the rookie missed a block that led to Brodie Croyle's injury. This week against the Buccaneers, Charles' fumble led to a Tampa Bay touchdown. But that error didn't overshadow his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, which came on just 18 carries.

With a season-ending injury to Kolby Smith, Charles is now the main cog in the Chiefs' running game. All-Pro running back Larry Johnson is on the shelf for at least another week, if not for the remainder of the season.

The Chiefs showed they really don't need Johnson this Sunday, however, as they racked up almost 200 yards on the ground. In his absence, Charles and Dantrell Savage will carry the ball for the final eight weeks of the regular season.

Despite his career day, after the game Charles wasn't pleased with his performance. He was more concerned about his costly error.

"I tried to do too much instead of trying to run the ball," said Charles. "I tried to stiff-arm and I had my left arm loose. [Tanard Jackson] tried to make a tackle, but he got his hand on the ball and it just broke loose."

Charles' fumble came at a critical time in the game as the Chiefs had just recovered their third fumble of the afternoon and had thwarted a Tampa Bay red-zone possession. After his turnover, however, the Buccaneers immediately capitalized for a touchdown, bringing the score to 27-19.

"I don't think we made too many mistakes today," said Charles. "We just didn't execute when our name was called. We just didn't step up. We played well. We played hard. We went out there and tried to give it our all."

The Chiefs went on to lose in overtime in heartbreaking fashion. But Charles didn't blame his defense, which allowed over 400 yards again and gave up 30 points to the Bucs, a season high for their offense.

"Our defense tried hard, our offense tried hard," he said. "We went out there with our minds focused to win the game. We came up short today and went into overtime. I think my team still played well."

The Chiefs now are in a critical stage of their rebuilding development with half the season in the books. They'll need players like Charles to continue to evolve on the field over the final eight games.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories