It’s hard for the league’s leading rusher from last season to get overlooked.
Somehow, that happens with the Chiefs.
Sunday night against the Bengals, however, Kareem Hunt made sure everybody knew his name during a 45-10 win over the Bengals.
Hunt scored three touchdowns and had 141 yards from scrimmage during the rout, exerting his own influence on the box score.
He’s surrounded by skill-position talent there, which isn’t his fault. But after what he did last year, you’d think he’d be higher on the list of things people rave about when discussing their offense.
Hunt has 542 rushing yards this season, and his 77.4 yards per game average isn’t far off last year’s numbers. He ran for 1,327 yards as a rookie, or 82.9 yards per game.
He’s not catching passes at the same rate (53 receptions last season, 15 so far this year), but they don’t always need him to. But Sunday was a reminder that he can make plays on his own, making tacklers miss in the open field, hurdling others, and getting himself into scoring position.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw an incomplete pass. With his left hand. He’s now 1-of-2 with his non-dominant hand this season, making it just about the only thing he’s not perfect at.
Mahomes finished the night 28-of-39 for 358 yards and four touchdowns.
He threw an interception into triple coverage in the third quarter, but it was just his fifth of the season. He has 22 touchdowns now, so I think they’ll take it.
2. The Chiefs aren’t exactly what you’d call great at defense. Or even good.
But at least one of their players on that side is probably looking at a considerable payday this offseason.
Outside linebacker Dee Ford picked up his fifth sack of the season in the first half, and is entering his free agent year on a bit of a roll.
Ford had 10.0 sacks in 2016, before injuries cost him most of last season. Any time a pass-rusher of any grade gets close to the market, the numbers get big in a hurry. He’s playing out his fifth-year option and making $8.718 million this year, but should do far better than that in 2019.
3. Maybe Vontaze Burfict was worried about getting fined.
Or maybe he was just struggling against the Chiefs.
Burfict didn’t have a chance to unnecessarily rough anyone, because he was missing tackles far too often.
Again, the Chiefs deserve credit for a lot of that, as they make plenty of people miss. But Burfict’s night was embarrassing, after he was fined over $112,000 for last week’s shenanigans against the Steelers.
He limped off in the third quarter with a hip injury, and didn’t return.
4. The Chiefs piled up 319 yards and 24 points in the first half, which isn’t necessarily unusual.
What was interesting was how diverse the stat sheet was. With Hunt scoring twice and tight end Demetrius Harris getting the other touchdown, it was a continuation of the kind of fantasy football they’ve been playing all year.
5. You knew things were out of hand when the Chiefs defense began scoring points.
Safety Ron Parker‘s interception return from a score effectively ended this one, and was the kind of play they’ll need occasionally.
Parker has filled in well for their injury-stricken secondary. Of course, he’s a known commodity for their staff, as he had spent the previous five seasons with the Chiefs. They let him go for cap reasons this offseason, but were happy to bring him back after the Falcons released him at final cuts.