A few days after the Chiefs' 16-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, left tackle Donald Stephenson was still shaking his head at the fumble he helped cause.
The Chiefs were trailing the Vikings by six midway in the fourth quarter and were at Minnesota's 43-yard line when Stephenson inadvertently punched the ball out of Charcandrick West's hands on a running play. The Vikings recovered, and the Chiefs never got that close to the end zone again.
“Just bad, just a goofy play,” Stephenson said. “It (stinks). I'm still kind of mad about it. But it could have happened to anybody.”
Stephenson was simply trying to chase down and block the defensive end, Danielle Hunter, who was looping inside on a stunt.
“They had a line stunt and he was trying to get to his end and just came back inside and there was Charcandrick at the same time,” offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said.
West took responsibility for the fumble, but Pederson said the Chiefs still have confidence in him.
“I still have full confidence in his ability to run the ball late in the game,” Pederson said. “If you actually go back and look at that play, he and Donald (Stephenson) kind of collide and it wasn’t necessarily about what the defense did, it’s more about what we did. You’re paid to hang on to it ... he’ll learn from that and (when) put in that situation again, he’ll hang on to it.”
Pederson said West's passion for the game has been encouraging as he tries to seize the opportunity before him as Jamaal Charles' primary replacement.
“He’s a guy that fits into what we’re doing offensively, the style of running that we’re doing right now,” Pederson said. “He’s a guy that works hard at developing his talent and getting better every day. He’s a young guy that’s getting a lot of reps and getting better with each snap that he takes.”