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The Chiefs' Ground Game
Michael Silver
December 29, 1997
Philosophy: Keep everyone fresh—and happy—by spreading the workload. After anointing fourth-year speedster Greg Hill as his feature back during the off-season, coach Marty Schottenheimer changed his mind in September, installing various formations that split the carries among Hill (550 yards), Marcus Allen (505 yards) and fullbacks Kimble Anders (397 yards) and Donnell Bennett (369 yards). Says Schottenheimer, "Each guy brings something different to the table, and at any given time we have a fresh running back carrying the ball."
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December 29, 1997

The Chiefs' Ground Game

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Philosophy: Keep everyone fresh—and happy—by spreading the workload. After anointing fourth-year speedster Greg Hill as his feature back during the off-season, coach Marty Schottenheimer changed his mind in September, installing various formations that split the carries among Hill (550 yards), Marcus Allen (505 yards) and fullbacks Kimble Anders (397 yards) and Donnell Bennett (369 yards). Says Schottenheimer, "Each guy brings something different to the table, and at any given time we have a fresh running back carrying the ball."

Leading the Way: The Chiefs' strength is up the middle. Right guard Will Shields is going to the Pro Bowl, and center Tim Grunhard and left guard Dave Szott also had stellar seasons. In Kansas City's most impressive performance, a 44-9 victory over the 49ers on Nov. 30, the interior linemen pushed around two of the NFLs most dominant defensive tackles, Dana Stubblefield and Bryant Young. Anders, a Pro Bowl selection for the third time this year, is second only to the Steelers' Tim Lester as a blocking fullback.

X Factor: Hill is the fastest back on the team, Bennett the most powerful and Anders, who caught 59 passes, the most versatile. But if the Chiefs need a yard on third or fourth down, no player is more potent than Allen (right), who has a knack for short-yardage and goal line success. "There's no way that sumbitch should be able to do what he does down there," says Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas. "I can't explain it."

Prime Numbers: Allen picked up a first down on 33.9% of his rushes, best among NFL running backs. He also had 11 of the Chiefs' 15 rushing touchdowns.

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