After most of the national media predicted the Colts would run all over the Chiefs, there are sure to be plenty of surprised people around the country at just how well the Kansas City defense played. Don’t count Peyton Manning and the rest of the Indianapolis players among that group, according to the Indy Star.
“That’s kind of what we expected to see,” Manning said after being held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season and just the 25th time in his 197 regular-season career starts.
“They weren’t going to give you many free plays or big plays down the field. They were going to test your patience.”
The Colts had an opportunity to create separation early, but their first two offensive possessions bogged down inside Kansas City’s 7-yard line. An offense that ranked No. 3 in the league in red zone efficiency (TDs on 11-of-15 trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line) had to settle for 20- and 24-yard field goals by Adam Vinatieri.
“We would rather have touchdowns than field goals,” wide receiver Reggie Wayne said, “but that’s somewhat expected. We knew this was going to be a tough one.”
Manning has failed to generate a touchdown in just seven games, including the playoffs. The last time was Nov. 30, 2008 at Cleveland when Crennel’s defense stifled Manning’s offense in a 10-6 Colts victory sealed by a late defensive touchdown.
“One thing about (Sunday), their offensive coordinator (Charlie Weis), their defensive coordinator, they both know us. They both come from the New England scheme, so we knew it was going to be tough,” added Wayne.
After an amazing day, the Chiefs finally broke on that final drive, but that is bound to happen when you lose the time of position battle by nearly 10 minutes.
Tamba Hali was tasked with rushing Manning with little help throughout the game and still managed to cause havoc all day long. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it’s unbelievable that Hali can be held and/or tackled on every drive and not draw a flag. The only holding call against the Colts was drawn by Alex Magee — yes, that Alex Magee.
Brandon Flowers made a couple of Pro Bowl caliber plays, including one on a deep throw down the middle that looked to be perfectly placed by Manning beyond the reach of three Chiefs defenders.
The player that won’t get the credit he deserves is Jon McGraw. He was responsible for the only Manning turnover, but that wasn’t his biggest contribution on the day. That would be holding Dallas Clark to 3 catches for 20 yards. Clark’s season-low over the first four weeks of the season had been 5 catches for 44 yards.