The Chiefs have not defeated the Colts since 1985 when former Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge was at the helm of the Chiefs offense. No other team in recent Chiefs history has such a streak against Kansas City and Sunday, the home team hopes to wipe away 19 years of hard luck against the Colts.
Two of the last three losses to the Colts have leveled the Chiefs. After their stellar 13-3 season a year ago and home playoff game, the Colts defeated Kansas City 38-31 when the defense failed to shut down the Colts offense as they never punted. Back in 1995 they lost at home to the Colts 10-7 to an Indy team that barley made the post season, behind quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Both losses were in the divisional rounds of the playoffs and both were just as painful. Still the Chiefs publicly aren't using the revenge card in preparation for this weekends Halloween bash against the Colts.
"I don't think revenge is a big deal. I really don't. I'm sure some people use it; I normally don't use it." Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said. "I think motivation to play well comes through a process that you work on through the year and the kind of players you handle. I think sometimes these guys think about it but some of these guys weren't here last year. Two of our defensive line starters didn't play against Indianapolis, so how can they feel revenge?"
Those two defensive linemen are Lional Dalton and Jared Allen who have helped solidify the defense. But this game is about offense and which ever team's defense stops the opposing offense will probably win the game. Kansas City is currently ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense, while the Colts offense is ranked third. So despite their records not much separates these two high powered offenses.
"Guys have to have the mentality that we've got to get off the field and get our offense the ball," Colts defensive tackle Larry Tripplett said Wednesday to the Indy Star. "We know if we hold up our side we're going to win a lot of football games. "It's been frustrating and it hasn't happened yet, but it's still semi-early in the season."
On the other side of the ball, Kansas City's offense is ranked ninth in the league while the Colts defense is a dismal thirty-first. Indianapolis has struggled giving up big plays especially in their passing game. A lot of the talk this week in the Colts camp has centered on the success the Jaguars had going deep last weekend.
"The long passes -- the 65-yarders -- are the ones that break your back," linebacker Jim Nelson said to the Indy Star. "Whenever we haven't played well, we've given up the big plays."
The downside to this weekends contest for the Chiefs on defense is the fact starting middle linebacker Monty Beisel and rookie defensive tackle Junior Siavvi are both going to sit out this game. The prospects are better on offense as the sore ankle that keep Priest Holmes on the sidelines in the second half of the Falcons game will not keep him off the field for Sunday.
Still on defense that means some young players have to step up this week. Players like Jared Allen, Benny Sapp and Kawika Mitchell will have to play the games of their brief careers on Sunday to match-up against the Colts who will no doubt be picking on the Chiefs young defensive lions. "We're very fortunate. We have some good young players that can play. We have a few guys who haven't been tested yet." Vermeil said. "But we've been bragging about them for a long time so it's time for them to prove us right or wrong. Some guys are going to have to step up and play."
If the Chiefs win Sunday it will increase their playoff chances. Going into this game, ten AFC teams are ahead of the Chiefs. So this game is crucial not only for their survival but for what many believe could be a starting point for a winning streak similar to the one the New England Patriots reeled off last year on their way to the Super Bowl.