Kareem Hunt talked his way into winning the rushing title

DENVER -- Andy Reid wanted to give Kareem Hunt the day off in Sunday’s final regular season game and let the Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back rest for the upcoming playoffs.

Hunt had other ideas and was able to convince Reid to let him play in Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Denver Broncos. Winning that battle with Reid also allowed Hunt to win the NFL rushing title.

His 35 rushing yards, all coming on his first-quarter touchdown run, allowed Hunt to finish the season with 1,327 yards. That pushed him past Todd Gurley, who sat out Sunday’s game for the Los Angeles Rams.

“He came to me and he wanted to play and he wanted to do this thing," Reid said of Hunt, who needed 14 yards against the Broncos to pass Gurley. “I fought him a little bit on it, and he won that fight. He told me he’d get it taken care of quick, and he did that. My hat goes off to him."

Hunt had just the one carry and also caught one pass for four yards. He was in for just five snaps.

Reid’s plan for much of the week leading up to the Broncos game was for Hunt not to play. The Chiefs on Sunday rested several other key offensive players, including quarterback Alex Smith, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

“He waited until later (in the week) when he kind of saw the direction I was going," Reid said of Hunt and his reduced role in practice.

Reid’s decision was complicated by the illness of backup Charcandrick West, who didn’t make the trip to Denver. The only other true running back, Akeem Hunt, injured his ankle in the second quarter, limiting him to four carries.

Fullback Anthony Sherman was Kansas City’s leading rusher on Sunday with 40 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Hunt said he appreciated winning the rushing title but would have understood had Reid held him out.

“If it happens, it happens," Hunt said of his attitude about the rushing title. “Honestly, it wasn’t on my radar because I wasn’t supposed to play. I got told (Saturday night) that I had to dress and play.

“I just had to be ready. We were low on numbers at the running back position. Akeem and Sherm were the only guys there, so I had to dress and have their backs."