In the Biggest Game of His Young Career, Kareem Hunt Delivered

Posted Dec 17, 2017

The tailback broke the franchise record for rushing yards by a rookie on Saturday night

The stakes couldn’t be any higher for the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night, and with the division on the line, rookie tailback Kareem Hunt simply did more of what he’s done all season long.

He delivered.

Hunt rushed for 155 yards and a score on the ground, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt, and caught a season-high seven passes for another 55 yards and a touchdown through the air en route to a Kansas City victory.

The implications of Saturday’s contest were real, as the victor would assume sole possession of first place in the AFC West with just two games to go. It’s a situation that called on the Chiefs’ stars to shine their brightest, and Hunt did just that.

“We know how great of a team we can be,” Hunt said. “We just have to keep taking it game-by-game and just winning. Winning is the most important thing and we know how important the rest of these games are now. We just have to treat every game like it’s a playoff game.”

It indeed felt like a playoff atmosphere at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, fueling Hunt to the tune of 206 yards of total offense – or 52 percent of Kansas City’s attack.

It was a performance reminiscent of when Hunt took the league by storm earlier this season, including a Week 3 matchup with Los Angeles in which he ran for 172 yards and a score.

With another 155 yards on Saturday, Hunt’s 327 combined yards on the ground in two games against the Chargers set a franchise record for rushing yards against a single opponent in a season. Both outputs also represented the two highest rushing totals Los Angeles has allowed all year.

In an airtight race for the division crown, those performances made the difference.

“It’s a division team and you just have to be able to come out ready to play,” Hunt said. “It was a big game tonight and whoever won put themselves in control.”

And Hunt’s play not only put the Chiefs in control of the division, but also established his rookie campaign as the most prolific in franchise history.

Now with 1,201 yards on the season, Hunt has rushed for more yards as a rookie than any other player in Chiefs’ history, passing the late Joe Delaney.

Delaney’s record stood for 36 years.

“I set some early goals, with the biggest thing being I wanted to put the team in a winning position,” Hunt said. “But I just wanted to make the most of my opportunity and definitely wanted to get over 1,000 yards as a rookie.

“I just wanted to contribute to this team.”

Hunt has done that and more some this season, and it’s caught the eye of his teammates.

“He’s just an all-around running back, which you don’t see that often anymore – especially right out of college,” said fullback Anthony Sherman. “He just does everything he’s asked to do, and you’re seeing the results that we’re getting. It’s been fun to watch him mature over this year and continue to do a great job.”

And he’s set a slew of records along the way.

In addition to the franchise rookie rushing mark, Hunt’s accolades this season include the most yards from scrimmage in an NFL debut (246), the longest streak of games with at least 100 yards of offense to begin a career (7) and the most 100-yard rushing games by a rookie in franchise history (6).

But most importantly, he’s consistently risen to the challenge when Kansas City has needed him most.

“I love winning and I love playing the game,” Hunt said. “I just look at wins and losses and that’s pretty much my only thing. Even if we were winning and I didn’t have these records, it really wouldn’t matter to me.

“Winning is the most important thing.”

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