“As far as a running back, it doesn’t matter who’s in there," Ware said. “It could have been anybody."
But on Sunday in Oakland, the Chiefs got their first extended look at Ware and Jamaal Charles sharing their backfield and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. The two combined to rush for 164 yards, with 131 from Ware, and they each scored a touchdown in Kansas City’s 26-10 win over the Raiders that boosted the Chiefs' record to 3-2 and helped put them back squarely in the AFC West race.
“We have a lot of talent in our backfield and our offense will try to utilize everybody,” Ware said. “Jamaal did a good job as far as what he was asked to do. I feel like I did a good job.”
The Chiefs were more committed to the run against the Raiders than they’d been all season. This was their first game in which they ran more than passed. They rushed a season-high 40 times.
This may be a look at how the Chiefs operate offensively from here on out.
“It was a little taste as we get going here,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “To have that kind of depth at the running back position to keep each other fresh and come in and spell each other ... They all have different strengths and feed off each other. That’s what you can get to, those guys feeding off each other and making the most of their opportunities.”
The two seem to complement each other well. Charles has the speed and big-play ability, Ware the power and the ability to get tough yards.
Those roles were, at times, reversed against the Raiders. Charles picked up tough real estate on a 6-yard run to set up the Chiefs’ first touchdown. Ware had the game’s longest play, a 45-yard run.
“When you talk about Jamaal, you’re talking about a future Hall of Fame player,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We always say, ‘You’re not going to replace Jamaal, that’s not what you do.’
“I don’t want to take anything away from Ware and the way he plays. He’s so tough and having them both out there, that’s a win-win, I think. They’re completely different players and they both did a nice job out there.”
Ware had lost a fumble in each of the past three games, but he had his career high in carries (24) in Oakland and didn’t put the ball on the ground.
“I think you probably couldn’t have painted a better picture for him,” Smith said. “To bounce back in a sloppy game, muddy, even when it stopped raining, whenever you went to the ground there was mud everywhere all over the ball.
“So to have him go out there and not only run the way he did, but obviously the ball security is something that we put a huge premium on and to see him bounce back from that made everyone -- I know I was -- really happy for him.”