Injuries Cost Kansas City Down the Stretch In Loss to the Indianapolis Colts

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting a 38-10 lead early on in the second half, it appeared that the Kansas City Chiefs had put the final nail in the Indianapolis Colts’ coffin.

Instead, the Colts mounted the second best comeback in playoff history, hanging on to beat the Chiefs 45-44 in thrilling fashion. How did Kansas City lose this game? Well, the Chiefs self-destruction can be accredited to the injuries that depleted the team throughout the game.

In what can be construed as foreshadowing, the Chiefs lost their best player, six plays into the game. Carrying it to his right, running back Jamaal Charles sprinted seven yards before being up-ended by defensive back Greg Toler. A normal play with an unfortunate abnormality: Charles didn’t get up. He stayed on the ground before being helped off the field and onto the sideline. Eventually, Charles walked to the locker room and didn’t return. He was out for the game with what was reported as a concussion.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Without Charles in the offense, the Chiefs didn’t falter. They Jumped out to a 28-point lead thanks in most part to the play of quarterback Alex Smith. Smith had his best day in a Chiefs uniform tossing four touchdowns and 378 yards passing.

Throughout the game, and the Chiefs premature domination, a trend began to form.

Receiver Donnie Avery followed Charles’ lead suffering a concussion. Corner back Brandon Flowers was helped off the field and immediately sent to the locker room with what also appeared to be a concussion. Outside linebacker Justin Houston, defensive back Dunta Robinson and second-string running back Knile Davis all left the game, as well.

Take a second to catch your breath.

With a hampered defense, and an offense lacking most of it’s play makers, the Chiefs struggled mightily in the second-half. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton tore up the depleted Chiefs’ secondary. Hilton had 13 receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 64-yard touchdown catch that put the Colts up for good.

Even with all these injuries, the Chiefs had an opportunity to survive the Indianapolis comeback.

On 4th and 11 at the Colts’ 43-yard line, with two minutes remaining, Smith dropped back to pass and lofted the ball down the right sideline where Dwayne Bowe leaped over Josh Gordy and caught the ball. However, he was out of bounds and the Colts were able to kneel the ball and win a crazy Wild Card showdown.

What will be surely lost in this catastrophic collapse for Kansas City is the performance of Smith. Labeled as a game manager, Smith rebutted that label by carving up the Colts secondary and leading the Chiefs to 44 points.

The defense, and the injuries, not Smith and the offense, are to blame for a game that will live in infamy in the hearts of Chiefs’ fans for a very long time.

Topics: Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Guest

    For chiefs fans this is a feeling we have every year we get in the playoffs! I think most of us would like to give up on this losing team ! If it was only that easy?

    • sidibeke

      Just can’t stop coming back for more abuse.

      • KCMikeG

        It’s called loyalty. It is seriously painful to keep the faith.

        • Bosco Cletus

          If they would have gotten beat 23 7 again, it wouldn’t hurt at all, but blowing a four td lead is just too much for me to stomach. I was at the Colts game in 03 and the Ravens in 2010, those games didn’t hurt near as much as this one.

          • KCMikeG

            Couldn’t feel any more different about this. Being a play or player away from winning a playoff game is light years better than getting dominated or schooled are much worse let alone the total humiliation of a blow out. Did yesterday suck? Hell yeah! Am I sick and numb – yes. But getting laughed at because we couldn’t even compete is as bad as it gets. Those days are over. Great playoff games are very often comeback games. Unfortunately we were on the wrong end of it.

  • Aaron Martin

    Injuries??? Try no secondary.

  • Larry Devore

    inability to cover Hilton cost the Chiefs this game. Why run a sideline pattern on your last play?

    • John Walsh

      Whether they ran a sideline pattern or not, it was up to the receiver to catch it and stay in bounds. Basically, he let the cover force him closer to the sideline. The ball was there, the catch was made and they had time and yardage for the score if it had been good.

      I couldn’t agree more about the coverage on Hilton. It stunk the whole game. From loose coverage, out of position coverage, failing to back up each other in coverage and pathetic tackling, the secondary was ripe for the picking. You would think that, after seeing their mistakes, they would adjust coverage, that never happened.

      You can’t lose that many starters and expect to win, but they should have won. I lay that on the defense. They let Indy back in the game.

    •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

      All Bowe had to do was turn and reach toward the ball and he either would have caught it, or a flag woulda been thrown … the defender never looked at the ball…

  • Danny W

    Forget about injuries. Try passing the ball when you have a 28 point lead. Try not adjusting coverage toward TY Hilton. Try Kendrick Lewis all year long blowing ass. You want to talk about that we can. Injuries is bogus.

    • d-block

      Kendrick Lewis is Ryan Leaf bad. I think my grandmother could play better.

    • KCMikeG

      As much as losing our superstar on the 6th play of the game certainly effected our chances to win the offense still put up 44 points without JC. You can’t give up 45 points and expect to win.

  • Tristian Shelley

    I mean this hurt even as a niner fan who just became a chiefs vfan this year due to Smith. The injuries were video game like. The colts had one injury to a guy who didnt even matter and the chiefs lost their top 2 running backs 2 of thier top 3 recievers their best corner and their best pass rusher. Abdullah played out of his mind but I cant get o ver Suttons inability to take away the only threat they had in hilton. Its unacceptable no matter who is hurt. Andrew luck sat back against a rush that wasn’t getting there and looked hall of fame like even with the 3 picks. Im trying to figure out what the needs are besides safety in the draft on Defense. Does Sutton need to go or should the personnel be blamed? Or for that matter the position coaches? Defensive backs specifically. What happened to the pass rush the second half of the season? Why in press man did we rarely see jams at the line of scrimmage? Why throughout the season did we see the safties consistently take bad angles? Im thinking another speed threat is needed at reciever like Jeremy maclin but man another guy who can consistently get open is needed. Hakeem Nicks will come cheap and when he is healthy he is as good as there is. A run-stuffing d-end a partner in crime next to Johnson at LB and a Safety are top defensive needs. Unsure about Sean Smith. U cant change/overhaul everything so safety and Left Tackle along with Reciever would be my top 3. Man imagine if Alex Smith had weapons what he could do

    • micah stephenson

      Our secondary is made or broke with our pass rush. At every time the d has looked good this yr we were generating pass russ, when we don’t we look bad. Every single coach will tell you “it don’t matter WHO the cbs are if you can’t get to the QB”. We need another CB or 2 but all 32 teams feel that way. Cb is a need for every team, every yr. K.Lewis and Robinson can go but I want to keep the rest of our DBs and add talent to them.

      • Bosco Cletus

        Those three posts right there ^^ show you should stick to madden.

        • Bdiddy

          The fact that Micah is a shameless (and groundless) AS11 basher notwithstanding…his assessment in the last two posts are pretty much right on.

          Two things account for the Chiefs’ inability to stop the pass, not just yesterday, but in the entire last half of the season. The first thing is the secondary, who created no disruption of the receivers’ routes. They weren’t even touched off the line…ever. This gave Pep Hamilton and Luck the freedom to call plays that would get their receivers open early in underneath routes, which in turn got the ball out of Luck’s hand consistently in around 2 seconds or so.

          This brings me to the second thing, the pass rush. Our’s is very over-hyped because of the mind blowing stats they accumulated in the first 6 games. They looked pretty good against some pretty lackluster opponents. The sad fact is, against playoff caliber teams they can’t compete. Their reputation is based on the fact that they don’t quit. This dogged determination results in what is known in the biz as coverage sacks, but those only happen with…good coverage. Go figure. They cannot disrupt the passer quickly like Mathis did to ours. If you can’t stop the pass from happening, and you can’t stop the reception from happening, you are left with the outside hope that they will shoot themselves in the foot with their execution. And, as playoff caliber teams quite often do, they instead step up, execute flawlessly when they need to, and the end result is what we saw yesterday.

          AS11 on the other hand, proved to be everything we hoped he could be yesterday in a game that meant everything. Consider the following:

          Dwayne Slow – His primary (wide) receiver shows up sporadically on game day (because you actually have to work to get open), has clearly lost a step, and absolutely WILL NOT extend his arms and make a “hands” catch like every great receiver in this game does, If you can’t get separation from DB’s you had better be able to block them out of the catch. We just gave this guy a fat contract, and if we don’t reconsider and get some real WR’s instead, we’ll see many years like this one…going down the Dwayne.

          Jamal Charles – The hype was that AS11 and this offense couldn’t do a damned thing without him…Really?

          • KCMikeG

            Great post!

          • micah stephenson

            If Alex was the man, he wud of got us a score on the last drive to win the game.

          • KCMikeG

            He could have if Bowe would have run a decent pattern along the sideline giving himself room or tried to drag his foot in bounds. It takes both of them to make a pass play work. Smith did his part – Bowe didn’t.

          • micah stephenson

            Bowe with 8 catches and 150 yards in the game. Not bad for a spose to b scrub. He don’t look any slower to me.

          • Bosco Cletus

            Dwayne Bowe had his best game in my recent memory yesterday, even without the long ball he almost scored on he was a beast. When the Chiefs needed key third downs he was the target. The last throw was all play call to me, I don’t like fades to win the game, back shoulder might have been a better play call.

        • micah stephenson

          I will dominate you in madden.

          • Bosco Cletus

            The constant Alex bashing it just exhausted, we get it, you don’t like him, but his stats were nearly identical to Lucks yesterday only he threw three picks. You also stated 11 cant throw the ball around, hes a dink a dunker, did you even watch the game? He had completions of 79, 63 which should have been a score, 27, 19, 17 and another 13 yarder for a score, all of this without the best player on the team. The man played his freakin guts out.

            The comments about the lack of pass rush allowing the Colts to do whatever is just about as lame as the Smith comments, tell me ONE player in the league that can sack the qb in 2 seconds or less? That’s what the Colts did, exactly what Denver did to them BOTH outings. Two step drop and throw, hell a 7 man blitz isn’t going to disrupt a QB many times if ever with two and three step drops. NOW, I will agree that when Luck made his mistakes, its when they collapsed the pocket in 4 and 5 step drops, no doubt, but when the game was on the line they knew what to do. Two step throw, two step throw, they knew the corners were banged up and down to backups and they took advantage. You could have put Deion and Woodson back there yesterday and it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

          • Bosco Cletus

            I will also add for those that were just screaming and yelling after Robert Mathis sacked Alex and he lost the ball was NOT all his fault. The play before Stephenson (who played pretty well against Mathis) got hurt and went out. So the next play call should have been pretty good, they put Fasano on him to get Mathis licking his chops, but when the ball was snapped they peeled Allen back to the right to chip him while Alex scrambled the left, but as we saw both men missed him. Alex assumed he would at least have 3 seconds to throw the ball.

          • Bosco Cletus

            I don’t play anymore, but you probably would have.

        • micah stephenson

          Elaborate on why you think the comments mean I shud stick to Madden.

    • micah stephenson

      The base defense, which is one of the few sets that have the 2nd MLB on the field, is on the field less than 50% of the snaps. Jordan is good enough considering our other 3 LBs are probowlers. There are better places to spend that money.

    • micah stephenson

      Alex has plenty of weapons minus a TE. He just ain’t a pass it all over the field type of guy. He likes to hand off to the RB, check down, a lot of short safe throws, keep the game close, try not to turn it over and give us a chance to win at the end. We not gone never have wrs with a bunch of yards becuase of Alex’s style of play. He need to learn how to use what we got already at wr. With Alex at QB it will always seem like we need wrs.

    • KCMikeG

      Excellent comment. Andrew Jackson is my favorite at ILB with our #3 pick and I like Baylor’s Ahmad Jensen at safety with our 4th pick. He is a big hitter that would replace Lewis and give Cooper the over the top help he needs.I say we draft WR Sammy Watkins with our #1 pick. We would finally have a true #1 WR and a threatening duo. With Hemingway and McCluster at #3 & #4 we would be set. Sammy’s brother Jaylen Watkins or Dontae Johnson NCS would be a nice CB pick at #6.
      I want the beast Joe Don Duncan at TE with our 5th round pick and please bring Tony G back. Please…

  • sidibeke

    You know what, though. I don’t blame the injuries. I’m not sure the outcome would have been different. The game was a microcosm of KC’s season, and so like games of the 2nd half of the season. We cruised out to a big lead at home against Den. Did so with our scrubs at SD. Here again, start fast and totally shut down. Something needs to happen on D, and I mean coaching or scheme or philosophy change or we’ll have more of the same next year.

    • KCMikeG

      Agreed although there has to be something said about the defense giving the offense 4 turnovers to work with on short fields. The more I mull it over I’m coming back to players not executing being the cause of our demise. Lewis and Robinson especially but DJ, Hemingway, Bowe, Poe and Berry too. Hali & Houston neither one were 100%.
      Sutton failed to adjust coverage to their only true WR threat in Hilton and after weeks of getting burned while dropping 6-7 into coverage the lesson remained unlearned. His
      Reid/Pederson have their share of responsibility in horrible clock management and the inability to protect leads over the last half of the season. We don’t seem to want to run the ball when we need to and time and again, especially in the donkey game at home and yesterday’s game too, I keep seeing our players running out of bounds untouched – WTH? How many times did you see a player cut back inside to get more yards and keep the clock running? Zero. This needs addressed.
      Finally I believe that we must reconsider keeping Succop as our kicker. He is ranked bottom of the barrel on FG made (#29), percentage made (#26) and on FG over 50 yards he is only 25% (1 out of 4). Look at the percentages for FG made over 50 yards by the top 19 kickers – all 67% or better. When AS11 completed the pass on 3rd down at the end of the game we were at the 43 yard line. There wasn’t even a thought of attempting the game winning FG from 60 yards. Instead we are gambling on converting a 4th and 11. Same problem the week before in SD. How many times have we punted when others would have been adding 3 points?
      Huge improvement from last year, definitely headed in the right direction and my hopes are high for the future.

      • KCMikeG

        I had forgotten that the same situation happened at the end of the 1st half yesterday too. We had the ball on the Colt’s 41 yard line and didn’t try a 57 yard FG instead having AS11 throw up a hail Mary to Bowe. We HAVE to upgrade our kicker.

        • sidibeke

          Yeah. If we can, we should. With a better kicker, we wouldn’t have to watch SD make the run that KC should me making. Dammit.

  • sidibeke

    I was thinking, and the biggest loss due to injury was that Davis had to step in at RB and we lost a returner. Our return game with only Demps was pedestrian. That hurt.

  • Blaize Richardson

    Andy Reid has been great all year and obviously had a great gameplan for the offense, but the wasting of timeouts came back to hurt us as well.

    • mattU

      The 2nd timeout in the 2nd half seemed like an incorrect play-clock reset, and from Alex Smith’s reaction it most likely was. That was awfully quick for the play-clock to run out there. Count it out…nowhere near the 40 seconds it should have been.

      • KCMikeG

        That happened on both of our first two time outs.

  • Pridenpoise

    The Chiefs had a remarkable season considering where they came from last year. But let’s not make out like they are better than they are, they blew a huge lead, injuries are part of the game, granted they did get hammered with them, their best player on offence went down and they did not miss a beat, so I think it’s more a product of bad defence and clock management. Imo

    • d-block

      I think there was something up with that field. You never see that many players from the same team drop like that.

      • Pridenpoise

        Had there been a rash of players blowing out knees or something along those lines I would agree with you, but most of these injuries were of the freakish nature players getting concussed on the field, or banging their heads on other players body parts.

      •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

        Get a clue, doosh-block, we’re a weak team that can’t take punishment. There were Colt players hitting the turf harder and bouncing-up… grow-up you excuse maker!!

        • d-block

          Real original. As always, internet tough guy.

          •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

            Hey dunce-blockhead, you got a problem w/ me? Take it up w/ your d-block prison counselor. HAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Auburn78

    No matter what others will deem Chiefs as a farce because they are what 1-5 against playoff teams this year. And I’m finally out of arguments against that logic. Giving up a 28 point 3rd quarter lead in the freaking playoffs means we didn’t belong there to begin with. Love my Chiefs but they laid down and stopped fighting.

    •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

      I thoroughly enjoy your humility and wisdom; we got lucky in beating Cleveland and Buffalo. Had those two teams alone not lost their No. 1 qb’s, we would have lost those gms! We somehow caught lightning in a bottle … and mgmt didn’t know what to do w/ it… Any other reasoning is an excuse and a lie!! Just look at the 2 San Diego losses, the home loss to the Doinkers, and the inexcusable 28 point give-back to the Colts; there’s simply no contingency plan, no model to follow other than hype and a wing-n-a-prayer…

      We ABSOLUTELY did not belong in the play-offs. In fact, we haven’t deserved to be a play-off team since ’03.

      We’re pretenders that deserve to be ridiculed!!!

  • jimfromkcj

    It seems to me that not many on this blog pay any attention to the Chief’s and where they stand with the salary cap. Too many of you seem to take the attitude that players are much better than they actually are and when they come up at contract time demanding the money that they would be worth if they were as good as you think they are. Some are willing to franchise Albert for another year and pay him 12 million, when his play isn’t worth the 9 million they are paying him this year. Berry, in all honesty makes too many mistakes to be thought of so highly, Flowers has never been a real shut down corner, but he is drawing shut down money. The only guys we have on defence who are earning their salaries are Johnson,Houston and Poe. All the rest should either renegotiate or walk. We can’t begin to improve this team until we get the cap in line with the players ability. If we don’t get the cap under control, in the next couple of years the Raiders and the Chargers will surpass us once again. They have loads of cap room and the money to spend. We have neither at this time.

    • 2dogs

      As the cap expert I’m sure you know every team has troubles staying under the cap. That’s why there’s parity in the NFL. I think the consensus here is Branden Albert will no longer be a Chief. I’m curious to how we fill all the defense positions after we cut all but 3 guys. Do we get are pick of the best guys in the league at a 75% discount? We lack the draft picks to get this done so please enlighten us.

      • jimfromkcj

        It didn’t take one year for us to get to this point and it isn’t going to get cured in one year either, but one way or another if you want to build a sustainable winner you have to get the cap in balance. Go to Over the cap and look at the cap numbers and see for yourself. The Raiders are setting on 9 million of dead money and the Chargers are on 7 million. That will disappear in a couple of years and they will have that to spend. On top of that the Raiders are only 50 mill in their top 51 cap figure and they are going to be drafting a lot higher than the Chiefs for the next 2 or 3 years and we don’t have Al Davis to screw the draft up. Reggie will draft prudently and the Raiders will be a power to reckon with in very short order. They bit the bulllit and I think it will pay dividends. Can we bite the bullit in order to get our cap in line with the talent we have?

        •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

          You scared the doggy away w/ reason and facts; that’s hard to do round these parts. Most here luv eaten the same ol gravy train…………

    •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

      Best post I seen on any of these threads; everyone else seems content to blame Indy for a variety of reasons — to include, they play dirty and/or they’re just plain lucky. It can’t be the ALMIGHTY Chiefs players… (You forgot to mention Tyson Jackson)

      Our “well rested” defense disappeared in the 2nd half!! Our so-called tough guys went down like flies on relatively soft and simple hits. I took much worse hits as a 5 yr old from my alcoholic step dad… (Which happened to be back in the day when the Chiefs were regulars in Super Bowls)

      Yeah we need to overhaul the roster and bring in some tough guys. Devito, Poe, Jackson … where’d they go when the gm started??

  • Canad-Ian

    I wish we got blown out. I’d rather be pissed off than heartbroken. At least being a KC fan has been me a draft fanatic.

  • Jarad

    Kendrick “oops that’s my guy” Lewis is #1 on my blame list. #2 is the football gods. They hate Chiefs fans

    • jimfromkcj

      Jared, have you ever thought that the reason we still have Kendrick is because he is the best we can afford when we are paying Berry a lot more than his production is worth?

    • KCMikeG

      Don’t forget “ouch it hurts to tackle” Lewis. I hope they cut him today.

  • tomflex

    Teams that play on artificial turf (or frozen) have a special way of taking players out of a game. They do alot of head slamming into the ground when they tackle. The Chiefs have lost several players to this little trick.

    •'defer='defer' defer='defer upperturion

      Did you just really cop-out to, ‘dirty Colt players?’


      • tomflex

        Did I say that?…..Just part of the game.

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