Jamaal Charles made it look all too easy against the Raiders. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
The only people happier than the Kansas City Chiefs about the first-half performance of running back Jamaal Charles are the people lucky enough to have him in their fantasy leagues. In the first half of Kansas City's game against the Oakland Raiders, Charles tied a league mark with four touchdowns, a total that also ties the franchise record for scores in an entire game. Running back Larry Johnson racked up four touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks in October 2006, with three rushing touchdowns and one through the air.
Charles inverted that formula -- he rushed for just 16 yards on six carries in the first half with one touchdown on the ground. However, he ripped the Oakland Raiders defense to shreds on short passes, embarrassing his enemy defenders for three touchdowns and 116 yards on six catches. He added another touchdown with 3:34 left in the third quarter, when he ran away from Oakland's defense after another short pass from quarterback Alex Smith. According to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press, Smith's five touchdown passes traveled a total of 13 yards downfield. The 11-3 Chiefs beat the 4-10Raiders 56-31, and clinched a playoff berth just one season after going 2-14.
Charles is always a threat to take it to the house, but the Oakland defense, which ranked 16th in the NFL in pass coverage against running backs this season, had no answer for him. Kudos to Charles' teammates for their downfield blocking, but between Charles' sick agility and a complete inability to tackle on the part of the Raiders, this was a unique one-man show.
The NFL record for touchdowns by a non-quarterback in a game is six, set by Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears in 1965. Charles' five touchdowns ties him for second all-time with 10 other players in National Football League and American Football League history. The most recent player to hit that mark was running back Clinton Portis of the Denver Broncos, who scored five times against the Chiefs on Dec. 7, 2003.