It took almost all day, but in the end Matt Cassel and his pair of favorite wide out finally figured out how to beat the Colts. Cassel used the unbeatable combination of Dwayne Bowe’s size and Steve Breaston’s elusiveness to comeback from down 17 as the Chiefs topped the Colts 28-24.
Cassel threw four touchdown passes, two each to Bowe and Breaston, to rally the Chiefs from a 17-point deficit and keep the Colts winless at 0-5 on the season.
“He is a guy I trust with all my heart — and the ball,” Cassel said of Bowe. “Then you get Steve Breaston, who continues to make so many plays. They compliment each other very well. If you’re going to double one, you can’t double the other.”
Colts QB Curtis Painter delivered the best performance of his three-year NFL career but still it was just short, as their defense allowed the Chiefs to mount a comeback.
Painters was 12 of 17 for 237 yards with two TDs and a near-perfect 152.2 rating in the first half, as the Colts built a lead. A series of second-half drops and a defensive collapse cost the Colts. Again.
“The offense was doing a great job in the first half, and we just kind of let down,” Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. “We blew this.” Pierre Garcon had five catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
“Everything seemed to go right in the first half but we had about five plays in the third quarter and they had 10 first downs in that stretch,” said Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. “That really hurt us.”
Cassel was an efficient 21 of 29 for 257 yards with a rating of 138.9.
Bowe caught seven passes for 128 yards and simply outmuscled the much smaller Jacob Lacey for many of them. Breaston caught four passes for 50 yards but made a spectacular effort to get into the end zone at the end of the first half and a terrific move against a backup cornerback to give the Chiefs their only lead with 5:15 left in the game.
Jackie Battle also ran 19 times for 119 yards, enough to give the Chiefs their first win at Indy.
“We just started doing things better,” coach Todd Haley said. “That’s three weeks in a row with strong second halves. That’s our conditioning and hard work paying off in our favor. We did a good job wearing them out.”
Breaston’s go-ahead touchdown, with 5:15 remaining, marked the first time the Chiefs led in the game. It came at the end of a nine-play, 54-yard drive, with Breaston easily catching a soft throw from Cassel while defender Chris Rucker had his back turned to the pass.
Earlier, Painter did his best Peyton Manning impression while leading the Colts on three scoring drives in the first 18-plus minutes of the game for a 17-0 lead.
On an 80-yard drive to open the game, Painter connected with Reggie Wayne on passes of 19 and 26 yards before hitting Garcon for a six-yard touchdown.
Adam Vinatieri kicked a 53-yard field goal early in the second quarter and Painter hit a wide-open Garcon in stride on the right side of the field for a 67-yard touchdown on the first play of the Colts’ next possession, quickly making it 17-0.
“We did a good job of getting into a rhythm and made some plays in the first half. That gave us a lot of confidence,” said Painter. “Now we have to carry it over into the second half.”
The Chiefs also had a quick strike in them, pulling within 17-7 when QB Matt Cassel and Bowe hooked up for a 41-yard touchdown on the sixth play of a drive later in the second quarter.
The Colts replied, taking a 24-7 lead on Delone Carter’s three-yard touchdown run. The 80-yard drive was highlighted by Painter’s 23-yard pass to Austin Collie down to the Kansas City two-yard line.
Bowe’s 29-yard catch and Battle’s 15-yard run helped set up a Chiefs touchdown before halftime. Breaston scored on a 16-yard catch, diving to stretch the ball inside the left pylon to get KC within 24-14. Breaston caught four passes for 50 yards in the 4-point win.