The last time Knile Davis touched the ball on offense for the Chiefs, he could be seen streaking 8 yards for a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos.
Davis smiled when asked about the play in the days afterward, recalling that he had to make an on-the-fly adjustment to receive the handoff when quarterback Alex Smith tripped during the drop.
“I think he got stepped on, tripped up or something, but I had to make sure I got the ball — I just had to — and it worked out great,” Davis said. “I had to come downhill a little more.
“When I scored, I was like ‘Man, we finally beat the Broncos — what a nice feeling.’ ”
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It was a fleeting one, however. The Chiefs eventually fell to the Broncos 31-24 after a vintage Peyton Manning drive and late fumble by star running back Jamaal Charles.
Yet, it still would have been hard to predict what would soon happen to Davis’ playing time. Since then, Davis, the Chiefs’ 2013 third-round pick, has failed to record a single offensive snap or touch in the last two games against the Packers and the Bengals.
Instead, the staff has opted to go with second-year pro Charcandrick West as the top option behind Charles. West has logged 26 offensive snaps the last two weeks to Davis’ zero. That’s quite a change from the first two weeks of the season, when Davis recorded 26 offensive snaps to West’s zero.
On Sunday, West had five carries for 17 yards and caught a pass for 4 yards, while Davis — who logged at least one carry in all but one game in 2014, when he rushed for 463 yards and six touchdowns in 134 carries — uncharacteristically watched from the sideline.
“We like what Charcandrick has been doing,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said when asked about the situation. “We also like Knile. In certain situations, we like to use them all.
“In those situations, we chose to go with Charcandrick … You saw some of the things we were doing with him, and we think Charcandrick does a pretty good job with those things.”
Reid was asked Monday whether their different styles — West is a pass-catching back with a jitterbug running style like Charles, while Davis has struggled with drops but is a north-south back with breakaway speed — played a role in the way the snaps have been divvied up lately.
“All three of them are different — that’s kind of what I was saying yesterday, we’re trying to exploit everybody’s talents,” Reid said. “We thought some of the pass-game stuff fit (with West).
“I haven’t lost confidence in Knile at all. That’s just were I was at for that game, and what I felt.”
Reid said Davis, who injured his ankle against the Packers on Sept. 28 but returned to the game, has made some positive strides since he was a rookie. He has only nine carries for 25 yards this season, but in his two career starts — against the Chargers in 2013 and the Dolphins in 2014 — he carried the ball 59 times for 213 yards (a 3.6 average) and three touchdowns.
In his career, he has 213 carries for 730 yards — a 3.4 average — and 11 touchdowns.
“Listen, I actually think Knile, when he came in here, his pass game wasn’t his forte,” Reid said. “But I think he worked hard at that and got better at that.
“Knile runs hard, he’s a bigger body. And he’ll pound it at you — that’s the one thing that he’ll do. And I think his overall knowledge of the offense is better than when he first got here.”
When asked whether West, an undrafted rookie out of Abilene Christian a year ago, would continue to get more of the No. 2 work going forward, Reid offered no hints.
“We rotate them all during practice, we’ll see how that rolls,” Reid said. “We’re lucky that we have the three of them. I think they’re three important guys to have.
“All three of them are active, we’ll use them the way we feel is best.”
Davis has not been completely inactive. He’s remained the team’s primary kick returner, returning nine kicks for 232 yards, an average of 25.8.
But if things continue this way, it might be the only steady work Davis receives, even if Reid says he’s keeping the door open for a pinch-hitting role as a runner on offense.
“Whenever my number is called,” Davis said in the aftermath of the Denver game, “I’m ready to get in there and do my thing.”