The first game on the schedule for wildcard weekend had the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the Indianapolis Colts. Unlike the other games scheduled, the Chiefs and Colts would be safe from the frigid elements outside. This one would be played in the comfort of a dome. The Chiefs won the toss and elected to receive.
Despite the kick going five yards deep into the end zone, return man Quintin Demps ran it out and was brought down at the 18. Running back Jamaal Charles went right to work and two carries gained 11 yards. From the 29, quarterback Alex Smith completed a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Two plays later, Smith scrambled for 16 yards and the Chiefs were looking good. From the Indianapolis 39, Charles ran up the right side for a gain of seven, but after the play was over, he remained on the turf. He left with concussion-like symptoms and did not return. So, with their best weapon out, the Chiefs may as well pack it in, right? Wrong. Two runs by running back Knile Davis and a screen to running back Dexter McCluster put the Chiefs at the 16. Another pass to McCluster and another run by Davis made it first and goal from the six. Three plays later, Smith found Bowe in the end zone for a touchdown. Kicker Ryan Succop made the point after and the Chiefs led 7-0 with 8:11 to go in the first quarter.
The Colts started at their 26 and quarterback Andrew Luck brought out the no huddle offense. Three straight completions to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton moved them to the Kansas City 33-yard line. From the 33, Luck found tight end Coby Fleener for 18 more yards and wide receiver LaVon Brazill for five more. On second and five from the ten, Luck found Hilton again and this time it was for a touchdown. Kicker Adam Vinatieri made the point after and the score was tied at seven with 4:34 to go in the first quarter.
The Chiefs took over at their 26 and an illegal contact penalty on the Colts gave them five yards and a first down at the 31. On second and six from the 35, Smith hit Bowe in stride and he raced for the end zone. He didn’t quite make it as he was dragged down at the two-yard line by safety Antoine Bethea. That would prove to be a huge tackle because the Chiefs couldn’t get into the end zone from the two. That brought Succop into the game and he made his 19-yard field goal attempt. The Chiefs were now leading 10-7 with 53 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The Colts punted on their next possession and the Chiefs took over at their 21. On third and ten from the 21, Smith went deep for wide receiver Donnie Avery. Avery hauled in the pass and went all the way for a 79-yard touchdown. Succop made the point after and the Chiefs increased their lead to 17-7 with 14:39 to go in the second quarter. Things got worse for the Colts. They got the ball back at their 20 and running back Trent Richardson fumbled. The ball was recovered by linebacker Justin Houston at the 24 and the Chiefs were looking to increase their lead. Three plays later, Smith found running back Anthony Sherman for a five-yard touchdown. Succop made the point after and the Chiefs jumped out to a 24-7 lead with 13:05 to go in the second quarter.
Facing a 17-point deficit, Luck knew he had to get his offense rolling. A couple of runs by running back Donald Brown and a 17-yard pass to wide receiver Griff Whalen got them a first down at the 40. Another run by Brown, a short pass to Fleener and a 21-yard scramble by Luck put them at the Kansas City 30-yard line. They would get as far as the 19 and the drive stalled there. Vinatieri came on for a 37-yard field goal attempt and the kick was good. The Chiefs were now up 24-10 with 9:14 to go in the second quarter.
The Chiefs started out at their 19 and got the ground game working early in this drive. Two runs by Davis and three scrambles by Smith got them a first down at the 46. On third and four from the Indianapolis 48, Smith completed a five-yard pass to tight end Anthony Fasano to move them to the 43. Davis and McCluster got the bulk of the work for the next few plays and a scramble by Smith on third and seven made it first and goal from the eight. Two plays later, Davis took it up the middle for a four-yard touchdown. Succop made the point after and the Chiefs now led 31-10 with 1:51 to go in the first half.
The Colts were looking quite glum and all the energy the crowd had earlier in the game was almost completely gone. But, Luck did manage to get his team into Kansas City territory as time was ticking away. From the 43, momentum once again swung in favor of the Chiefs. Luck was sacked for a loss of seven by Houston and on second and 17 from the 50, Luck’s pass intended for Hilton was picked off by cornerback Brandon Flowers. Whalen brought Flowers down at the Indianapolis 45 and the Chiefs were looking to put up some more points before the first half ended. That didn’t happen and the score remained 31-10 at halftime.
The Colts started at their 20 and were looking to right their sinking ship. Well, that wasn’t the case. Luck attempted to complete a pass to Brown and it was picked off by cornerback Husain Abdullah at the 18. The Chiefs took advantage of that great field position and on third and two from the ten, Smith found Davis for another Kansas City touchdown. Succop made the point after and the Chiefs now had a 38-10 lead over the Colts with 13:39 to go in the third quarter.
The only thing the Colts had going for them was there was plenty of time left. Completions to Hilton, Brown and a 46-yarder to wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers moved the Colts down to the Kansas City ten-yard line. From the ten, Brown ran straight up the middle for a touchdown. Vinatieri made the point after and the Chiefs now led 38-17 with 11:47 to go in the third quarter.
The Chiefs got the ball back at their 22 and completions to Davis and wide receiver Junior Hemingway put them at the Indianapolis 46. From the 46, Smith was flushed out of the pocket and sacked by line backer Robert Mathis. The ball came loose and was bouncing toward the sideline, but linebacker Kelvin Sheppard pounced on it before it went out of bounds. After a lengthy review by the zebras, it was ruled that Sheppard had control of the ball before he went out of bounds. The Colts took over at the Kansas City 41, but an illegal formation penalty moved them back to the 46. From the 46, Luck looked for his favorite target and found Hilton open again for a gain of 16. On the very next play, Hilton was open again and gained 22 more yards. Then the Chiefs finally got smart and covered Hilton. That left Brazill open and Luck hooked up with him for 19 yards and a first down at the three. On second down from the three, Luck tossed a short pass to Brown and with some good blocking by wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, Brown was able to make it into the end zone. Vinatieri made the point after and the Colts were showing signs of life. They now trailed 38-24 with 7:32 to go in the third quarter.
The Colts needed to force a three and out and they did just that. They took over at their 28 and went looking for some more points. Well, the Chiefs had other ideas. Luck was picked off again by Abdullah and the Chiefs had prime field position at the Indianapolis 28-yard line. For the second time in a row, the Colts didn’t allow the Chiefs to get a first down and they had to settle for a field goal attempt. Succop nailed his 42-yard attempt and the Chiefs went up 41-24 with 4:12 to go in the third quarter.
The Colts started at their 20 again and passes to Brown and Brazill gained 55 yards and got them a first down at the Kansas City 25. On second and ten, Brown ran up the middle for a gain of 13 and a first down at the 12. Two plays later, Luck threw one down the middle to Fleener who caught it for a 12-yard touchdown. Vinatieri made the point after and the Colts now trailed 41-31 with 2:31 to go in the third quarter.
The Chiefs took over at their 19 and Smith quickly found Bowe for a gain of 21 yards. A scramble by Smith and a defensive holding penalty on the Colts put the Chiefs at the Indianapolis 43. On second and eight from the 41, running back Cyrus Gray was wide open on the right side of the field. Smith saw him, but the pass was overthrown. That was absolute killer for the Chiefs. If the throw would have been more accurate, Gray would have had an easy touchdown. Two plays later, punter Dustin Colquitt got off a high punt that was downed at the ten. With 90 yards and a little under a quarter to go, the Colts went to work. Brown got things started with a ten-yard run and two more completions to Hilton netted a first down at the 40. Another pass to Hilton, a run by Brown and a 12-yard scramble by Luck had the Colts at the Kansas City 23. Another run by Brown and a completed pass to Whalen set up a first and goal from the ten. Luck hit Brown on a screen pass that moved them to the two-yard line. Brown got the call on the next play and safety Eric Berry forced a fumble that was picked up by Luck who then dove into the end zone for a touchdown. Vinatieri made the point after and we now had ourselves a three point game. With 10:38 to go in the game, the Chiefs led 41-38.
With their huge lead almost evaporated, the Chiefs knew they had to get into the end zone again. From the 17, Smith hooked up with Hemingway for a gain of 13. Then Davis ran up the middle for a gain of five, but didn’t get up after the play was over. He left the game and didn’t return. Smith completed short passes to Fasano and Gray and they got a first down at the 41. On third and seven from the 44, Smith went deep to wide receiver A.J. Jenkins for a gain of 27 and a first down at the Indianapolis 29. The Colts only allowed four yards on the next three plays and the Chiefs had to settle for another field goal attempt. Succop came on and made his 43-yard kick and the Chiefs went up 44-38 with 5:36 to go in the game.
Another touch-back meant the Colts were starting from their 20 again. A scramble by Luck and another catch by Fleener was good enough to get a first down at the 36. From the 36, Luck took the snap and launched a bomb down the middle of the field for Hilton. He caught it in stride for a 64-yard touchdown. Vinatieri made the point after and the Colts, who at one time were down 38-10, had come all the way back and taken a 45-44 lead with 4:21 to go in the game.
I couldn’t help thinking that the Colts had scored too quickly. The Chiefs had plenty of time to get in field goal range for the win. From the 20, Smith quickly found Bowe for a gain of 25 yards. From the 45, he hooked up with Bowe again for a gain of 13 and they were already in Indianapolis territory. From the 42, Gray ran up the middle for three yards. The Colts brought some pressure on the next play and forced Smith out of the pocket. He heaved a pass to no one in particular and that drew a flag for intentional grounding and moved them back ten yards. On third and 17 from the 49, Smith completed a six-yard pass to McCluster. That set up a fourth and 11 from the 43. Maybe try a long field goal? You’re in a dome, why not send Succop in for a long attempt? Head coach Andy Reid decided to go for it. Smith took the snap and floated one up the right sideline for Bowe. He caught it, but could only get one foot in bounds. The pass was incomplete and the Colts took over at the 43. Three straight kneel downs by Luck got them a 45-44 win. All I could say after that was “Damn! What a game!”
For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 30 of 46 for 378 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had 57 yards rushing on eight carries. Dwayne Bowe led the Chiefs in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 150 and a touchdown. On the ground, Knile Davis was the leading rusher with 67 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. As a team, the Chiefs rushed for 150 yards on 32 carries. Defensively, Eric Berry led the team in solo tackles with seven and forced a fumble.
For the Colts, Andrew Luck completed 29 of 45 for 443 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran for 45 yards on seven carries. T.Y. Hilton had himself a career day as he hauled in 13 balls for 224 yards and two touchdowns. With Reggie Wayne out for the year, someone had to step it up and Hilton did a great job. On the ground, Donald Brown had the most yards with 55 on 11 carries and a touchdown. As a team, the Colts rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries. Defensively, Antoine Bethea led the team in solo tackles with eight.
That was one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time. The teams combined for a record 1,049 total yards of offense and the 28-point comeback is second only to the 32-point comeback the Buffalo Bills had in 1993 against the Houston Oilers. Up next for the Colts is a trip to New England to take on the Patriots. That game will be played Saturday night at 8:15 eastern time.