In a brief career already full of memorable performances, this one still managed to stand out amongst the rest.
Whether it be the repeated broken tackles, his hurdle over safety Jessie Bates or the three trips to the end zone, Kareem Hunt was not going to be denied in the Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
The Chiefs tallied 551 yards of total offense in the victory - the third-most by any team in the league this season - and the 23-year-old Hunt was responsible for a quarter of those yards all by himself.
“He just takes this offense to the next level,” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “His ability to run the ball hard and to catch the ball out of the backfield doesn’t really get [taken into account]. I can throw a check-down to him and he can break three tackles and get into the end zone. He’s truly a special player, who I believe doesn’t get as much hype as I think he should. As he keeps rolling, the hype will come.”
Hunt was rolling right out of the gate on Sunday, picking up 21 yards on his first two touches before doubling that figure with a remarkable run that simply defied logic.
Devoid of running room on a handoff to the right, Hunt managed to slip away from multiple would-be tacklers, spin around and jet up-field before hurtling Bates and carrying four Bengals’ defenders all the way to the 6-yard line.
It was ridiculous.
“It’s just one of those runs where you have to get the team going and I am never going to give up on a play,” Hunt explained. “I’m going to fight for every last inch until they make sure that I’m down.”
“It should’ve been a tackle-for-loss and then he broke a tackle and jumped over a dude,” Mahomes added. “This is a very talented defense that has a lot of guys who are built to stop the run. It just speaks to the strength and the power that he has when he runs with the football.”
That strength was on display time and time again throughout the game, as Hunt churned out six plays that picked up double-digit yardage - including a 15-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter.
It was one of five catches for Hunt on the night, and when coupled with his three-yard touchdown grab on Kansas City’s first offensive series, Hunt tallied multiple receiving touchdowns for the first time since his record-breaking professional debut against New England last season.
In fact, Hunt already has more receiving touchdowns (4) than he had all of last season and he’s already halfway to matching his total in receiving yards from a year ago.
The guy is more than just the AFC’s leading rusher - he’s a reliable and dynamic threat in the passing game.
“It’s just about Pat finding me. I tell Pat that whenever he gets into trouble, look for me,” Hunt said. “My goal is to make somebody miss and to get at least 10 to 15 yards on each catch.”
That playmaking ability has helped Hunt tally 595 yards from scrimmage since Week 4 - the most in the NFL in that span - catching the eye of Head Coach Andy Reid in the process.
“Kareem is playing as well as any running back in the National Football League,” Reid said. “He’s not only running the ball like crazy, but he’s also catching the football…my hat goes off to him. I think he is playing great football - tough football. He’s punishing right now and it’s something to watch.”
And it even has his teammates getting creative in the nickname department.
“He’s a bull, man,” said tight end Demetrius Harris. “He’s a real-life bull.”
“I like that. I like a bull,” Hunt said laughingly. “I’d like to be an ox, too.”
Whatever he is, the 23-year-old tailback is seeing red.