Oh, so close: Cassel’s face says it all
We learned more about the Chiefs than we did the Colts: Hold your head up high Chiefs fans, you held Peyton out of the end zone for a complete contest for the first time in 14 games (last season, week 8 vs. 49ers). Moral victory?
The Chiefs offense needed a big play: In a game that produced no big plays, the Chiefs couldn’t come up with one, just one; it could have made all the difference in a defensive affair.
It started with a shocking onside kick. It ended with an even bigger shocker, a defensive battle. In what was a surprising offensive struggle for both teams, the Colts handed the Chiefs their first defeat of the season, taking down the NFL’s last unbeaten 19-9. It is the first time since 1970 that the NFL will not see a 4-0 team. An often-criticized Colts defense made sure of that.
On this day, it was the “other side of the ball” for Jim Caldwell’s crew that got the job done. Notorious for surrendering mass amounts of real estate on the ground, the Colts held the Chiefs to just 113 yards on 27 attempts. It was just about 48 yards under Kansas City’s average and for the Indianapolis it was close to 37 yards less than their average allowed on the year. The league’s 3rd best rushing offense was contained by the league’s fourth worst rushing defense. It was a game jam-packed with anomalies, none more obvious and crystal clear than Peyton Manning’s state line: 26-44, 244, 0 TD’s, 1 INT. Peyton was clearly off-target and was held without a pass play of 25 or more yards. It was the first time this season and the first time in the regular season in a full game for Manning since 2008 Week 13 at Cleveland. Credit the Kansas City secondary, they were all over the place.
The Chiefs definitely had their chances, but just couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. Down 3-0 early in the 1st quarter, coach Haley elected to go for it, however, the plan backfired. Dwayne Bowe dropped a potential go-ahead touchdown in the end zone during the 3rd quarter with the score 9-6 Colts. It was two plays after Jon McGraw picked off Peyton. The momentum was riding high, but once again the Chiefs did not fully take advantage of the opportunity. You cannot come up empty and trade touchdowns for field goals on the road against the defending AFC champs. Even if this was a so-called “moral victory” for the Chiefs, you cannot squander a chance to beat a team of the Colts caliber.
Despite the loss, you came away impressed by Romeo Crennel’s defense. They were on the field about ten minutes longer than the Colts, held the Peyton to 8-17 on 3rd downs, and yielded only one touchdown, and that was to a third-string running back. Conversely, the offense could not do their job, as they converted just one 3rd down in ten tries. While the defense elevated their play to the next level, the offense failed to elevate theirs to the next level. When the defense made a play, the offense could not make a play. Charlie Weis’ unit could not return the favor. All in all, it was a game a filled with mistakes for both sides, but in the end the team that had been there before, the more experienced team, came away with the win. Yet, you leave the game asking yourself, maybe if the game was played at Arrowhead, the Chiefs would have won. Just an interesting thought to ponder, in a game that had you pondering which team was actually the defending champions of the AFC. Interesting, just like the game’s final score.