(10-5) Colts 23 - Chiefs 7 (11-4)
The Colts had a breakout game Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, upsetting the once 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs, 23-7, in what could prove to be a playoff preview. The Colts are currently the 4th seed in the AFC, while the Chiefs are ranked 5th, meaning that if the current seeding does not change after next week, the two will face off in the Wild Card round of the postseason.
After Sunday’s face-off, the Colts should be feeling pretty good about the possibility of a second matchup. Indy absolutely dominated the TOP in Kansas City, holding the ball for almost 17 more minutes than its opponent. The Colts utilized that time wisely, scoring on five consecutive drives (not counting one possession when Luck took a knee just before halftime). In addition, the Colts were charged with only 3 penalties for 31 yards, compared to 7 for 65 from the Chiefs.
Andrew Luck played impressively, completing over 70% of his passes for 241 yards and a touchdown, and he did not turn the ball over. Sunday’s win was Luck’s 21st as a starter, tied for third-most by a starting quarterback in his first two seasons.
It was Donald Brown who may have had the most eye-opening play, though. The running back had quite a day in Kansas City, rushing for 79 yards, including a spectacular 51-yard touchdown run, on just 10 carries. He also had a 33-yard receiving touchdown, accounting for both of the team’s end zone scores. In comparison, Trent Richardson rushed for 43 yards on six additional carries. However, Richardson did pick up a key first-down on a fourth-and-one that led to an Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Vinatieri uncharacteristically missed an early 34-yard field goal attempt, but he converted on his other three tries from 46, 45, and 30 yards out, respectively.
Wideout Griff Whalen, who was on the practice squad just two weeks ago, led all receivers with 7 catches for 80 yards.
On defense, it was Jerrell Freeman and Robert Mathis who shined, accounting for a combined two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and a sack. Mathis continues to make a strong case for defensive player of the year honors. In total, the Colts sacked quarterback Alex Smith four times and forced four Chiefs turnovers. Luck was sacked just once, and an admirable job was done by yet another patchwork offensive line hampered by injuries.
The Colts put in their most complete game Sunday since losing Reggie Wayne to injury. With the win, they also helped clinch the AFC West Title for the Denver Broncos, who just a couple weeks ago helped Indianapolis clinch their own division when beating Tennessee. For now the Colts will hold on to the fourth seed, but with a win next week at Jacksonville and some help from other teams, there is a strong opportunity to move up.