Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Now Entering the MVP Race: Jamaal Charles

Coming off a five(!)-TD performance, the Chiefs back has raced into the award picture—and more importantly, he’s been the spark to a late-season offensive charge in Kansas City; plus your mailbag questions

The MVP debate lost one borderline candidate Monday night. Calvin Johnson was going to have a tough road, as any wide receiver always would, but his three drops—two of them at crucial times—in a loss that could keep the Lions from making the playoffs will knock out whatever chance he had in what has been a great season.

But the debate did gain one entrant in Week 15: Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. His five-touchdown performance in the Chiefs’ win at Oakland Sunday (and seven in the last two weeks, for a league-high 18 on the season) is notable not just because of the sheer luminosity of it. It’s the totality of the offensive renaissance in Kansas City.

For the first half of the season, the Chiefs survived on defense and whatever Charles’ legs could provide on offense. In the last four games K.C. has averaged 42 points a game—42 points total would have been a month’s work back in October—and this has been Charles’ eye-popping output:

Attempts Yards Average TDs
Rushing 60 378 6.3 5
Receiving 16 272 17.0 5
Total 76 650 8.6 10

When a guy is averaging 8.6 yards per touch, maybe he should be getting the ball  more than 19 times a game. But whatever Andy Reid is calling in the last month is working, and much of it is centered around Charles. If the Chiefs win out and finish 13-3, and the pacesetters—Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton—struggle a bit in the last two weeks, Charles could become a dark-horse candidate for either the MVP or Offensive Player of the Year.

“I’m not in the race,” Charles told me after the 56-31 rout of the Raiders. “That’s not for me to decide if I deserve something like that. I deserve to work hard and get ready to play the best football I can. After that, it’s not up to me.”

But …

More Week 15

Catch up on everything that happened Sunday with Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback.

Robert Klemko was in Detroit Monday, and he says we're to blame for building Megatron into a mythical figure.

Meanwhile, Greg A. Bedard notes that while Tony Romo is getting all the blame for the Cowboys' collapse to the Packers, the truth is a lot more complicated.

“I do think about it,” he said. “But then I think about what I can control.”

What Reid has brought to the Chiefs, other than a calming influence after a raging storm in the last couple of seasons in Kansas City, is some new ideas to the offense. One is how to use Charles. Example: Saturday night in the hotel in California, Reid shared the first 15 plays with the offensive team, as he does every week. And the first play was a screen to Charles, a play the Chiefs thought would be great to run early to take advantage of the Raiders’ overaggressiveness and their wont to pursue plays too fast on screens.

“I looked on the paper and saw that,” said Charles, “and I focused on it all night. I could see it happening, and I knew it would be a good play to run for us. It turned out to be wide open.”

The 49-yard screen on the first play from scrimmage was one of four touchdown catches for Charles on the day, and for the year he’s been the best receiver out of the backfield in the league, by far: 65 catches, 655 yards, 11 touchdowns.

Now it’s going to be up to the 50 voters who make the picks for post-season awards for the Associated Press. (I am one of them.) Charles’s play down the stretch, and how he’s enlivened an offense that needed it, could thrust him into a race no one saw him in a month ago.

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Now let’s head to Page 2 for your mailbag…

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93 comments
mikeytrapp
mikeytrapp

Wait . . . the hit on Kevin Huber was legal?  It was not even close to being legal.  Your rep as a shill for the league remains untarnished, Peter.

John Schneck
John Schneck

Brady is not having an MVP year by any stretch.  Peter King is the New England boot-boy.  Brady has lost games that in the past he would will his team to win.  This was especially prevelent in Miami.   Giving back the #1 seed is just not Brady.  No MVP for him or #2 or #3.  


And neither is Russell Wilson.  Although he is the poster boy of the new wave of QB's for composure and understanding of the game,  and he is blowing away the other poster boys like Andrew and RGIII right now,  lets be honest,  his numbers, which are pretty pedestrian do not scream out MVP.  


The teams success has more to do with his defense being #1 in the NFL than he does being an "MVP" -- 


So, that pretty much brings Manning to the top by default.   He is the obvious choice right now. 


And this is from a die-hard Seahawks fan.


However,  we'll take the win in the Meadowlands come February over the MVP any day.   


js

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

Personally, I feel Brady deserves the award. He has lost Welker, Woodhead, Hernandez, Wilfork, Mayo, Gronk for a significant period of time, Amendola for a few games, Kelly, Vereen for 10 weeks, and despite all of that, the Pats are 10-4, beaten the Saints and Broncos, and are in prime position for a playoff bye and another run at his 4th title. With roughly the same team that Manning has, Tim Tebow won a playoff game. If Tim Tebow was QB for the Pats, they'd be 3-11. That's all you need to know.

Darren1
Darren1

I must say I agree with Stuart S. The constant gesticulating for a PI penalty is highly annoying. New rules instituted last year in the NBA for such behavior now results in a technical foul. 

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

"Now Entering the MVP Race: Jamaal Charles"

Apparently Peter you don't even read your own magazine. SI anointed Peyton Manning as sportsman of the year. Your "pamphlet" at SI has already picked the MVP for this season.....GET IT?

John64
John64

It's kind of funny and ironic that Peter "I love me some Peyton" King wrote this piece. Everyone knows his MVP vote was cast in stone for Manning after his 5th TD pass vs the Ravens on opening night.

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

I disagree that motioning for a flag is too insignificant to call a penalty. If you can get a penalty for taking your helmet off or celebrating a touchdown wrong, then signaling for a penalty is right up that alley. I'm a Broncos fan but every time Eric Decker motions for a penalty (which is about every time he doesn't make the catch) I want to pull my hair out.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

again manning will likely get is as his final 2 games against 2-12 houston and 4-10 oakland, and after what charles just did to the raiders, just imangine what manning will do, and i think he will likely play only a half, as i think hets the record against the texans and depending on what happens with the colts and chiefs, if the chiefs lose and broncos win, they get the west and guranteed a top 2 seed

Ron5
Ron5

Seahawks:

4. PEDs

SilverX2
SilverX2

I noticed no mention of the "gift win" the ravens got last night. I guess only the patriots get "gift wins" In case you are wondering the ravens got away with a few PI calls, and then got PI calls in their favor when there was not contact what so ever

jim1096
jim1096

This comment is totally "homer" worthy but if the Bears manage to make the playoffs, Josh McCown could be considered given his stellar play and keeping the Bears afloat. 

tsf14
tsf14

I agree with Stuart S. that the whining has gotten totally out of control in the NFL. Not just the receivers but everyone. Defensive backs almost never foul  I'm a Patriots fan but Tom Brady is the worst - cries about everything.  Go back to the huddle and run the next play. 

Odin's Goat
Odin's Goat

@Reedster2185Still foaming at the mouth whenever the Pats get a mention?  Just try and unbunch a bit.

Jon8
Jon8

@VexPith


I did! I voted for Nick Foles! (Note: NOT an Eagles fan!)

John64
John64

@John Schneck Absolutely Manning is the only choice for MVP.  Especially considering the Broncos will stomp the Texans and Raiders to finish 13-3, win the #1 seed and Manning will be the first QB ever to throw for 50+ TDs and 5,000+ yards in the same season.  

And then yes... Seattle will ruin his immaculate season in frigid SB 48...

John64
John64

@John Schneck Someday I believe SI will put out an article entitled "Tom Brady or Peyton Manning: Which QB does Peter King drool over more?"  And the answer will be:  "Trick question. He loves them both equally as a father would love his two sons."



John64
John64

@RescuedfromESPNHey I like Tom Brady as much as the next overzealous, demented fanboy, but do you realize the extreme vitriol that would be hurled Brady's way if HE won MVP??  Anyone and everyone who isn't a Brady fan (oh yeah, there are A LOT of them) would lose their collective minds and cry foul for decades to come.  Trust me on this one... it wouldn't be worth it.

George
George

@John64 fatboy king loves farve a ton more than Peyton or Brady.

blynder
blynder

@rckymtn4 

I'm a Denver fan as well.  Decker does that quite a bit and it is noticeable.  I don't think it should be a fine - but I'd also love to see a coach pull a player aside and say "knock that $h!Z off!"  Let the ref's call the game and let ME argue with them about plays and penalties!"  But alas...

I also happen to feel the same way about celebrations after sacks, big hits and TD's.  My coach in H.S. told us (where NO celebrating was allowed - ever), "Act like you've been there before."  Generally, a nice way to handle success to me.  Humility means so much more.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@Ron5 The only difference between Seattle and some other team is that Seattle got caught. Put your binky back in your mouth and quit whining. 

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@SilverX2 ok it wasn't a gift win, as they earned it i mean my god tucker hit a 61 yard field goal, no the reason why the lions lost, is megatron dropped 3 catches he routinely makes

Ron5
Ron5

@SilverX2In Petey's universe no games are played after Sunday and before Thursday. They are always excluded from his players of the week.

never4get
never4get

@SilverX2 I noticed no mention of the low hit on Joe Flacco's knee that got no flag and left him limping the rest of the evening. Both teams were 7-6 and we got no endzone action. Your boys have an all world defensive line and the best WR in the world, but we still scrapped out a two point win. Both teams had plenty of calls for false starts and encroachment all night long. Quit whining about the refs and try winning the games you're supposed to win. Maybe one day you'll get into the win column in the playoffs for a change. With all that talent on both sides of the ball, you've got no one to blame but yourselves.




evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@SilverX2 Seems to be a pattern.  The NFL called up Minnesota last week to apologize for giving the game to the Ravens, then, too.

blynder
blynder

@jim1096 

Most have said it - a pretty strong probably not - but it does make me wonder if there shouldn't be an award for unsung hero or unexpected hero or something.  I suppose that is what the pro bowl could be for (no way we see McCown there)...

John64
John64

@jim1096 Considered a capable backup QB? Sure, ok.  Considered for MVP?  Uh.... no.

Bucky182
Bucky182

@tsf14 Agree. While watching the Green Bay-Dallas game (I'm a Packers fan) on Sunday there was an incomplete pass intended for Miles Austin and there was noticeable contact. Maybe not enough for a flag but there was definitely contact on Austin. When the play was over Austin got up, made a quick glance toward the official, saw there was no flag, and jogged back to the huddle. I remember thinking to myself how rare it was to see a guy do that. I can appreciate a player that appreciates what the officials do. Grow up and move on. Since when does throwing your arms up and crying magically make a flag appear?

Mike26
Mike26

@tsf14 I agree 1000% about the whining.  Any time Brady is hit he lays on the ground waiting for a flag.  As soon as it comes, he hops up, smiles and starts clapping.


And there's no way you're a Patriot fan.  ZERO CHANCE.  No real Patriot fan would EVER criticize their Field Commander...

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@John64 @RescuedfromESPN Indeed. Don't get me wrong, Peyton Manning is one of the all-time greats and has had a fantastic year. The main reason Manning gets so much flak is that he had to play along side another All-time great who is slightly better than him. Is Brady better than Manning? Yes, but that shouldn't mean the Manning isn't amazing and top-5 all time in his own right. 

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

@Darren1 @CobyPreimesberger Agree. People write posts that they want others to read, yet they won't even take the time to go back and read them themselves before clicking the "Post comment" button. I often stop reading after it becomes apparent that the poster shows no respect for their readers. Proofreading: what a novel concept.

blynder
blynder

@picklejuice @Ron5 

I've always wondered why a football player would want to use pot; but I have not smoked in a long time - what I remember is that I felt more lethargic and had slower reaction/alerts - why do that in a fast moving sport?  Of course they're not high during games but - whatever. 

I don't smoke anymore (and really only did it a handful of times) and am confused on why it is illegal and alcohol is legal.  Seeing a football player being busted for pot just makes me shake my head tbh. It's about morality more than any given benefit... To me, this is one of those things that just needs to go away.  Let's stop busting them for smoking pot; unless it is a driving under the influence (of pot) or showing up to work (on pot) or something of that nature.

Mike26
Mike26

@picklejuice @Ron5 100% correct.


AND, 100% stupid and selfish that ANY player gets caught with it in their systems - especially multiple players from the same team.  ALLEGEDLY.

John64
John64

@never4get  Every week these boards are littered with people whining about calls or no-calls.  Ugh... Enough with the whining about flags already.  You all sound like Tom Brady and/or pretty much any and all WRs when you do that... 

PatrickMurphy
PatrickMurphy

@never4get@SilverX2 I'll tell you what should have been an unsportsmanslike conduct penalty.  Stafford's leap for a TD when he was signaling for a spike a few games ago.


If the defense would have come after him, they would have been penalized but instead Stafford knew that they would just line up and he could jump over and score. 


Something has to be done to clarify that when motioning for a spike you have to go through with it.

John64
John64

@Mike26  But I always get a kick out of comments like that...  "I'm not a Patriots fan, in fact I DESPISE Tom Brady and I hope he DIES of AIDS today!!!!  ...but he's probably the greatest QB of all-time and seems like a really cool guy..."  LOL... 

John64
John64

@Mike26  It's the PEYTON fanboys that flat out refuse to EVER criticize their man crush.  Or ever put one ounce of blame on him for any game lost or INT thrown.  That guy is the recipient for more lame excuses for his failures by his fan base than any player in NFL history. 

John64
John64

@Mike26  Untrue.  I'm a HUGE Brady fan and I put 100% of the blame on him for EVERY SINGLE Patriots loss since 2001, minus 2008.  Go ahead, try me...  Brady either gets it done or he doesn't. NO excuses from me.  Plus he dresses like an idiot and he really needs to stop the drama queen act. 

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@John64 @RescuedfromESPN Sadly, he gets compared to Brady, which brings him down by comparison. All Manning needs to do is beat NE in the playoffs again and win another SB and that should secure his legacy as the greatest of the generation.

John64
John64

@RescuedfromESPN  What if Denver doesn't play NE in the playoffs, but he wins another SB?  

I agree 100%--- there is no way Brett Favre is a better all-time QB than Joe Montana, yet his cumulative stats obliterate Montana's.  

John64
John64

@RescuedfromESPN  Wait... so you're saying the reason Manning gets so much criticism is because he played in the same era as a QB who is better, and that QB is Brady?

That seems like a slightly bizarre concept if I may be so bold. 

What, in your opinion, would Manning have to accomplish to leap ahead of Brady on your all-time QB list? 

John Schneck
John Schneck

@DeeEmm1 @blynder @picklejuice @Ron5 

...which is exactly why no one is Seattle cares if Brandon Browner comes back to the team or not.  His play this year is down a couple of notches from his first.  It is obvious to me 'something' happened... is that 'something'  Pot? it has changed him.  


Pot is the opposite of PED's.


js

DeeEmm1
DeeEmm1

@blynder@picklejuice@Ron5They do it after practices and games to relax their aching bodies, not for during games. Although, for some people, being high during the game might be beneficial. It doesn't affect everyone the same way.

Darren1
Darren1

@blynder @picklejuice @Ron5 I was a goalkeeper in high school and college and the one time I tried cannabis during a summer league game (against a bad team we knew we were going to whip) I was terrible -- poor reaction time, indecisive, just kind of out of it. Never did THAT again!!!

woodson26
woodson26

@John64@never4getNot to mention the soccer players that tumble whenever they are touched and beg for calls...like the emailer mentioned

John64
John64

@Mike26  Anymore when I watch the NFL, I feel like it's slowly morphing into the WWE.  Everything is for glitzy-entertainment value and the game itself is reflecting that.  It's becoming like arena football. Offenses just go through defenses like a knife through butter anymore.  It's too easy.  And the gaudy, video game passing numbers also reflect that.  

Incompletion? Screw that, because somewhere we'll find a defensive holding or P.I. or pushing-the-passer or helmet-to-helmet or some other penalty that involves a defender offending an offensive player.

Can't wait for the "Illegal verbal abuse, #65, defense, 15 yards, automatic first down." penalty that results in your favorite team losing a super bowl...

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

@Mike26 @sstafford0707 @John64 It seems that the Broncos have been on tv a lot but it seems you haven't watched any games. Yes, Manning hits receivers on timing patterns but he also is very good at going through his progressions on those times when his receivers are "breathed upon."

Mike26
Mike26

@sstafford0707 @Mike26 @John64 Stas-wise, not at all - EXCEPT when a defense plays the WR's tight and the officials let them get breathed upon.  When that happens, the ultra-important timing is affected and Manning doesn't have the arm strength to threaten downfield more than 35-40 yards - and then they Broncos struggle to win.

sstafford0707
sstafford0707

@Mike26@John64Manning is having his 2nd-highest ever Y/At so it really doesn't matter of his down-field strength has diminished

Mike26
Mike26

@John64 @Mike26 John, you're getting harder and harder to argue with; my only disagreement is that the Bradyians are nealry as bad as the Mannings.  I appreciate and respect both of them but can see that both are on the downslope of their careers - yes, even Manning, whose stats are gaudy but throwing distance is decreasing annually (and noticeably).

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