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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Of Kareem Hunt’s five touchdowns in the first two weeks of his rookie season, he had to work hardest for the last.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ standout running back, a third-round pick from Toledo, powered through the first attempt at a tackle by the Philadelphia Eagles defense last Sunday, spun around and, facing backward, churned his legs for three, four, five more steps. Just when it looked as if he might finally be stopped, Hunt pushed backward for a sixth step, then a seventh, twisting to reach his right arm forward and push the football across the goal line.
It was as impressive a 2-yard run as you’ll see in the NFL.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith called it a classic “will power” play. Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said it was a combination of effort and instincts. Guard Laurent Durvernay-Tardif said it was the type of determined running that inspires teammates to block longer and harder.
It seems as if the Chiefs are learning a little more about all the impressive things Hunt can do during every quarter.
The league’s newest breakout star, Hunt is proving he’s much more than a power runner, flashing enough speed to outrace linebackers and defensive backs en route to a pair of 50-plus yard touchdowns, but also sufficient strength to break tackles — 14 of them on 38 total touches, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s rushed for an NFL-best 229 yards, with an average of 7.6 yards per carry, and also easily leads the league with 355 yards from scrimmage and those five trips to the end zone.
While coach Andy Reid’s offense includes several elements of a college-style spread attack, it’s essentially a West Coast system, with complicated play calls and extensive passing game responsibilities for a running back, at its core.
“I feel like I’m a guy that can pound the rock a little bit, and catch the ball well out of the backfield and just make things happen in space,” Hunt told USA TODAY Sports this week.
“Andy tries to get his running…