Kareem Hunt gets his reward for doing early-season dirty work

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Running back Kareem Hunt struck a deal with quarterback Patrick Mahomes early in the season, when the Kansas City Chiefs were piling up the touchdown passes.

"I told him, you do all the cute stuff and I'll handle the dirty work," Hunt said.

Hunt was rewarded on Sunday night for all of his work picking up tough yards early in the season. He scored three touchdowns, two on passes from Mahomes, in the Chiefs' 45-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Hunt also rushed for 86 yards and caught passes worth 55 more. He provided the night's most spectacular play in the first quarter when he broke several attempted tackles and then leaped over safety Jessie Bates for a 21-yard run.

The play set up Kansas City's first touchdown, which was scored by Hunt on a 6-yard catch.

"It was just one of those runs you've got to get the team going," said Hunt, who added he had hurdled defenders before in high school and college. "I'm never going to give up on a play. I'm going to fight for every half-inch."

The play was a run/pass option for Mahomes, who initially regretted giving the ball to Hunt.

"I probably made the wrong read," Mahomes said. "I handed it to him and it should have been a tackle for a loss and then he broke a tackle and jumped over a dude.

"You see guys jump over guys but they kind of build up. They kind of know it. He had just broken a tackle and I feel like he had just started to run and he just out of instinct jumped over him. ... It was a pretty sweet thing."

Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing last season as a rookie, was largely left out of the Chiefs' early-season offensive party. He rushed for 168 yards and caught only one pass in Kansas City's first three games.

He still had three TDs in those three games, a testament to his penchant for getting the tough yards.

Hunt has 374 yards and 14 receptions in the last four games.

"He just takes this offense to the next level," Mahomes said. "He truly is a special player who I believe doesn't get as much hype as I think he should. As he keeps rolling, the hype will come."

As Mahomes said, Hunt has been in the shadows this season of Kansas City's other productive skill players, namely Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. But his contributions are noticed in the Chiefs' locker room and by coach Andy Reid.

"Kareem is playing as well as any running back in the National Football League," Reid said. "He's punishing [defenders] right now."