KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On at least three occasions this season, an opposing coach was asked what it takes to stop Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Each time, they came back with the same response.
“If you’ve got the answer,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said, “I’m all ears.”
That was before Kansas City played Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Colts didn’t need to do much to stop Charles in a 23-7 victory. The Chiefs only gave him six touches in the second half, something coach Andy Reid lamented following the game.
It stands to reason that Kansas City will at least make the Colts do the job themselves when the teams meet in a wild card playoff game Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“You’re talking about a guy that’s a game-wrecker,” Pagano said this week. “Whether you hand the ball off to him, catching the ball out of the backfield, swing passes, split him out and put him in receiver positions — the guy has so much versatility and so much talent.
“He’s a home run hitter,” Pagano said. “It’s a huge challenge.”
Charles ran for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season, solid if unspectacular numbers unless you consider that he’s done it while averaging 5 yards per carry. He also has a career-best 70 catches for 693 yards and seven more touchdowns, giving him nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
Pack together again
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The gang’s back together, mostly, for the Packers in the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb pulled off a fourth-down stunner last week against the Bears in each player’s first game back from injury. Now imagine what Green Bay can do with the franchise quarterback and speedy receiver practicing without limitations for a full week, joining Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Eddie Lacy on the list of playmakers.
Just in time for Sunday’s matchup against the 49ers in an NFC wild card game.
Eagles limit turnovers
PHILADELPHIA — Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and the rest of the Eagles protect the ball at an unusual rate.
The Eagles (10-6) set a team record for fewest turnovers with 19 this season. That’s a major reason they won the NFC East title and will host the New Orleans Saints (11-5) in a wild card playoff game Saturday night.
Only Indianapolis (14), San Francisco (18) and Kansas City (18) had fewer turnovers, and each of those teams also made the playoffs. However, only eight of Philadelphia’s turnovers were made by starters. The other 11 came from current backup quarterback Michael Vick (five), third-string QB Matt Barkley (five) and former punt returner Damaris Johnson (one).
Foles, a former Arizona Wildcats quarterback, threw just two interceptions and fumbled twice.
“I just try and be as smart with the ball as I can,” Foles said. “I always want to get the ball out of my hands, so a sack doesn’t happen. But the one thing you don’t want to do is put the ball in harm’s way, because a turnover usually gives the other team good field possession and momentum. You can see what happens when a turnover happens. Everyone on the sideline is jumping around and excited. You don’t want to give them momentum.”