As the Chiefs broke training camp in August, running back Damien Williams’ place atop the depth chart was set. He was in line to serve as a potential workhorse back, same as he had finished the year before.
Plans change. The Chiefs have instead favored the running-back-by-committee approach this season, a rotation that left Williams behind over the past month.
It finally turned back to him on Sunday. And that was before the 91-yard touchdown run highlighted by the fastest he’s ever moved to the end zone and a teammate moving even faster to join him there.
Williams saw 43 offensive snaps in Sunday’s win against Minnesota, the most he’s seen since the opening week. And he turned them into 125 rushing yards and the touchdown.
The best day of his season telegraphed Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s approach to his backfield. In the past. And for the foreseeable future.
Ride the hot hand.
“We’re lucky that we have some guys, and they all played — and we’ll keep that up,” Reid said. “We’re going to need all of them. That’s a tough position, and I thought (Williams) did good in there. We kept giving it to him, and that’s how it rolls.”
The 91-yard touchdown run tied Jamaal Charles for a franchise record. Charles did it back in 2012 in New Orleans, a play that had flipped the course of the game.
This one did, too. Andrew Wylie and Mitchell Schwartz created the gaping hole on the offensive line, and Williams cut back to maneuver through it. He cut once against safety Anthony Harris and left him on his hands and knees, fooled by the move.
Exhilaration. And a bit of relief.
After entering the season as the incumbent starter, Williams has ceded playing time to LeSean McCoy, added to the roster a week before the season. McCoy still leads the team in rushing with 371 yards. Williams more than doubled his season total Sunday and now sits at 225.
By no coincidence, the Chiefs produced 147 rushing yards against the Vikings — their season-high through nine weeks.
“Going into camp and starting off the season how we did, it was kind of sketchy,” Williams said. “We really needed to establish the run game. We went out there (Sunday), and we played hard-nosed football.”
McCoy fumbled in a key situation a week earlier against Green Bay, a turnover from which the Chiefs never really recovered. He then played only six snaps Sunday, though that appeared to be more of a reward for Williams than punishment for McCoy.
McCoy still started the game and played all three snaps on the first series. But he saw only three snaps afterward as the Chiefs turned to Williams.
Again: Ride the hot hand.
“You saw that on the long touchdown, there was LeSean congratulating him,” Reid said. “They all get alone and are pretty unselfish that way.”
It’s all part of the committee, to be sure, but they undoubtedly each wish to lead the group. That was part of the strategy in adding McCoy less than 10 days before the season opener. The Chiefs sought to add competition.
That will march on, even if the scale tilted toward Williams for one afternoon. It’s capable of changing once again moving forward.
“We really don’t care if everybody plays in a game, so we encourage that,” Reid said. “Be ready, and we’ll use you anywhere.”