The ghosts of last seasons playoff loss were exorcised Sunday when on the final play of the game; the defense sealed the win with an interception. It gave Kansas City back to back wins and clearly proves that this team is nowhere out of contention for the AFC West and a playoff birth.
If you love statistics, you had to love this game. The Chiefs on back to back weeks scored a remarkable 101 points against a great defense and one that is struggling to say the least in the Colts. But give the Chiefs offense credit because when they failed to show up in the third quarter, they found away to get back into the end zone two times to salt the game in their favor.
But we have to start with the defense. Although they gave up 505 yards of total offense to the Colts; they played their guts out on every play. Peyton Manning lit the Chiefs defense up with 472 passing yards and threw five touchdowns but still lost the game. You would think those numbers would mean a Chiefs loss but the Colts decided to abandon the running game as Edgerrin James was held to a season low 34 yards on ten carries. The Colts decided the only way to beat the Chiefs was for Manning to carry the load and he nearly did.
Give the Chiefs defense credit as they did not fall into the trap of blitzing Manning or the outcome might have been different. As I thought, they played back and at times it cost them as Manning had too much time. Manning spread the ball out to six different receivers as he hit on 25 of 44 passes. Marvelous Marvin Harrison scored twice as did Reggie Wayne who picked on the Chiefs cornerbacks who had problems keeping their footing.
The Colts were very fortunate to score their first touchdown as the referees called a pass interference penalty on Eric Warfield when it was clearly a case he made a brilliant play knocking the ball away from Harrison on third down. But that penalty gave them a first down and on the next play, Manning threw one of his five scores. At that point doubt had to creep into the players but they held their own especially in the first half.
But this day would be different as the Chiefs after a 0-3 and 1-4 starts have won two games in a row and are back in the hunt in the AFC playoff race. Once again the offense kept making the plays and Trent Green had one of the best games of his career. Manning gets all the ink but Green matched the effort with three touchdown passes and 389 yards passing. He hit on 27 of 34 passes completing 13 in a row at one point and his clutch throws in the fourth quarter showed he has big play ability.
One thing the Chiefs did today was spread the ball around and take advantage of the Colts leaky secondary. One of the primary recipients was tight end Tony Gonzalez who caught a season high two touchdown catches including the catch that sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter. It was his second of the day as he led the team in catches with eight.
Superman showed he was humble once again as he fumbled twice for the second game in a row. Today he did it near the Colts goal line. But he ran for 143 yards and scored three more touchdowns giving him 13 on the season. He also caught three passes from Green for another 82 yards of offense.
The offensive line was dominating only giving up one sack as they gave Green an eternity to complete passes. The Colts defense threw everything at the Chiefs offense but they responded after the heals of their eight touchdown performance last week against the Falcons.
This game does not put the Chiefs into the playoffs but it serves notice that this team has found their groove offensively. They scored when they had to and they continue to pile up points that never materialized early in the season. A key for that success has been the play of wide receivers Johnnie Morton who had a touchdown and Eddie Kennison who made a clutch catch late in the game to set up the second Gonzalez touchdown.
Today the Chiefs showed their heart. Despite the fact the team gave up so many yards they kept their composure especially after they gave away a 31-14 halftime lead. Instead they held it together and the stats mean very little because if the defense didn't respond after the Colts scored two quick third quarter touchdowns, the outcome might have been different.
But to do it against Manning who came off the heals of their most embarrassing loss of the season against the Jaguars; especially when you consider Jacksonville got spanked on the road by the Houston Texans, this game was very important to the Colts as they lose back to back games for the first time since 2002.
Now the Chiefs go on the road for back to back games against Tampa Bay next Sunday and then to the Big Easy to play the Saints before their Monday Night showdown against the New England Patriots.
Today's win was huge for this organization and its clear the Chiefs if they can stay their course are the team to beat in the AFC despite the fact they stand 3-4 on the season. After today's shootout performance against the Colts, no other AFC team is going to want to have anything to do with the Chiefs now or in the playoffs.
I bet the Colts don't who played their best game of the season and it was nowhere near enough to beat Kansas City.