It’s not just the production for Kareem Hunt, that’s spectacular enough. Once again, the Chiefs rookie star saved his best for the time that mattered most.
Hunt added to his lead as the NFL’s top rusher with a 101-yard performance in the Chiefs’ 29-20 victory over Washington on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The output gave Hunt 502 yards on the season, 140 more yards than the Rams’ Todd Gurley.
If Hunt’s second-half output alone was counted, he’d still lead the league in rushing by 10 yards.
Hunt is the fourth rookie with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in four straight games to start a season.
“Winning is more meaningful,” Hunt said. “Honestly, I could have 50 yards and as long as we win, I’m happy.”
Hunt also was at his tackle-breaking best against Washington. According to Pro Football Focus, Hunt forced nine missed tackles, matching the most among NFL running backs in this weekend’s games.
On Monday, Hunt was a workhorse as the Chiefs battled back from a 10-7 halftime deficit. His runs of 17 and 16 yards on a fourth-quarter drive led to a field goal that put the Chiefs up 20-17.
An Alex Smith 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter broke open because every Washington defender believed Hunt was getting the ball.
For the first game this season, Hunt didn’t score a touchdown, nor did he produce a play — a run or reception — of at least 53 yards.
Monday was more of a grind-it-out performance, and Hunt proved he could to that too, especially in the second half.
“I just got better as the game went on,” Hunt said. “My reads got better and just started running a little bit harder I guess.”
He always runs hard, and the Chiefs needed the effort after falling behind 10-0, matching their largest deficit of the season.
Hunt helped them come back as part of another solid second half by the Chiefs. They entered the game leading the NFL in second-half scoring and added to the statistic, especially when the game ended with Justin Houston taking a fumble return into the end zone after a Washington flea-flicker kickoff return failed.
On Monday, the Chiefs won the second half 22-10.
“It’s a testament,” tight end Travis Kelce said. “It lets everybody in the league know that we finish. It’s a gut check once you get in the fourth quarter.”
That is also the time Hunt has been at his best this season.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke on the confidence of rookie kicker Harrison Butker and of his veteran quarterback Alex Smith, who drove the offense down the field in the 29-20 win over Washington on Monday Night Football on Oct. 2, 2017.David Eulitt The Kansas City Star