Jamaal Charles received the handoff, took a few steps to his left and planted his foot at almost exactly the same time his right guard, Jon Asamoah, began to drive a sitting linebacker right out of the play

This was Sept. 29, the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 31-7 win over the Giants, and what followed — a 24-yard gain up the middle — didn’t seem to be terribly noteworthy at the time. There was no vintage Charles magic, no whirling dervish moves. Just good, solid football, complete with textbook blocking at the second level.

But nearly two months later, that singular, unspectacular run remains the only one Charles has broken for 20-plus yards this season, which puts him far off the standard he set in the previous three seasons he was a healthy starter. In those seasons, he averaged 10 runs of 20-plus yards with the longest being 76, 80 and 91 yards.

While Charles has in many ways been his typical, steady self — only four players (LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris and Adrian Peterson) have more rushing yards than Charles’ 725 this season — all four have at least five 20-plus runs this year.

The Chiefs, of course, remain undaunted.

“We had a bye week, and he’s still fifth in the NFL in rushing,” veteran left tackle Branden Albert said. “I’m not trying to be cocky, but hey, we’re winning games and Jamaal will eventually get his. It’s just taking more time than it usually does.”

Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson doesn’t appear to be sweating too much either. But after spending much of the bye week deep in the throes of self-evaluation — and with a match-up against a high-powered Denver team looming Sunday — it’s clear the Chiefs’ offense, which ranks 24th in the NFL in yards per game, would certainly welcome a return to normalcy, of sorts, for Charles on Sunday.

“No. 1, (it’s) the offensive line, fullback, tight ends at the line of scrimmage and second-level defenders taking care of those blocks,” Pederson said. “A lot of your longer runs come from the receivers blocking down the field. Our guys have done an excellent job down there; sometimes it’s the backside cutoff safety or corner that makes the play. We emphasize those backside blocks a lot.”

That would seem to be as good an explanation as any. Albert said the blocking schemes up front aren’t much different than last year’s and teams have long played eight defenders in the box to stop Charles. Also, Charles is only 26 years old and still has plenty of juice left, despite the fact he’s been dealing with a rash of nagging injuries this season ranging from his knee to his toes.

From there, one might be tempted to look at the offensive line, where two new starters — third-year center Rodney Hudson and rookie right tackle Eric Fisher — replaced veterans Ryan Lilja and Eric Winston, who were the Chiefs’ highest-graded run blockers last season with a combined grade of plus-24.2 (according to Pro Football Focus).

This season, only right guard Jon Asamoah (plus-1.8) has a positive run-blocking grade among the starters, while the rest have a combined grade of minus-19.2. But left guard Jeff Allen says the unit is still meshing, and insists they have watched multiple plays where Charles was only one block away from breaking a long one.