- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Just about the only thing that could keep Jamaal Charles from becoming the Kansas City Chiefs’ career rushing leader happens to be the guy who is cheering him on the most.

That would be the guy who is also calling the plays: Andy Reid.

Charles brushed past Larry Johnson in last week’s loss to San Francisco for second place in the record book, and needs 53 yards to take over the top spot. That will likely occur next week, when the Chiefs are finished with their bye and travel to San Diego.

Priest Holmes currently holds the franchise mark of 6,070 yards.

“It will be a great accomplishment to make,” Charles said, “but at the end of the day, I really care about winning. It is hard when you break records and you lose. It doesn’t mean anything. It only means something when you win games with your teammates.”

The Chiefs did plenty of that last year, going 11-5 and making the playoffs in Reid’s first year as coach. The big reason for the turnaround from a two-win team the previous year? Reid knew he had a star in Charles, and he rode him to victory week after week.

That hasn’t been the case so far this season.

In a season-opening loss to Tennessee, Charles touched the ball just 11 times - seven after the first series of the game. And in last week’s loss to the 49ers, the All-Pro running back only had four of his 15 carries in the second half, when the game was decided.

Reid called himself “negligent” in his failure to use Charles in Week 1. He defended his play calling in last week’s loss, pointing out the Chiefs had few second-half possessions and the 49ers were bent on stopping the run. But he still acknowledged that Charles needs the ball in his hands more if the Chiefs (2-3) are going to return to the playoffs.

“We could’ve done a better job of giving him more carries,” Reid said.

There was one play that stuck out in particular to Reid. In the fourth quarter, the Chiefs were trailing 19-17 and faced third-and-1. Rather than giving it to Charles, whose career average of 5.5 yards per carry is best in NFL history, Reid elected to throw. The pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage and the Chiefs ultimately lost, 22-17.

“If I had to do it all over again, and this is hindsight, I’d probably come back and hand it to him,” Reid said, “and given him an opportunity to make a play.”

Regardless, the Chiefs still enter their bye week with loads of confidence.

After playing miserably against the Titans in Week 1, they nearly knocked off AFC West favorite Denver on the road. They played well in consecutive wins over Miami and New England, and had San Francisco on the ropes until the final minutes of the game.

Their schedule is conducive to building some momentum, too.

They start off with a trip to another division rival, San Diego. After that are home games against lackluster teams in the Rams and Jets, and a visit to Buffalo.

By then, regardless of the plays Reid calls, Charles should have his record.

“The one thing about Jamaal, he obviously is not a guy that focuses on himself. He’s all about team goals,” Chiefs running backs coach Eric Bienemy said. “But in my opinion, I know this is a special deal for him. And maybe I’m talking out of turn, but to say that he will become the leading rusher for this historical organization says a lot about him.”

The 28-year-old Charles, who signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason, should be able to set a mark that lasts a while.

Holmes carried 236 times more than Charles has so far, so there appears to be plenty of miles left in his legs. And now that Knile Davis is helping take some pressure off him, Charles should be fresher for each of his carries.

“One thing about Jamaal, he’s driven, and he’s driven for the right reasons,” Bienemy said. “Success means a lot, but success as an organization and as a team goes beyond anything that I can explain. … He wants everybody to be great so that everybody can set the stage and we can have the success that is needed to help us accomplish our goals.”

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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