Well, things certainly started well for the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts in the final game of the season at Arrowhead Stadium. There was a chance for Arrowhead to see more action, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
The Chiefs defense forced Andrew Luck and the Colts offense into a quick three-and-out. Then a 25-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster put the Chiefs offense on their own 41 yard line. Five plays later Jamaal Charles was walking into the end zone after toying with the Colts defense for 31 yards.
It looked like Kansas City would pick up where they left off after last week’s destruction of the Oakland Raiders. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Chiefs 12th victory… The Romeo Crennel version of the Chiefs took over.
Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense couldn’t get out of their own way, turning the ball over four times and failing to score another point the rest of the way.
When the dust settled, the Colts had scored 23 unanswered points and the Chiefs dreams of the top seed in the AFC were gone. Instead they now knew they’d enter the final week of the season locked into the fifth seed and possibly a rematch with the Colts in Indy two weeks from now.
With nothing on the line next week for the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Diego Chargers — but potentially plenty for their opponent — head coach Andy Reid has plenty of big decisions to make.
Do the Chiefs try to get their groove back, but risk injury to their most important players? Or roll the dice that the poor performance from Smith and the rest of the Chiefs was an aberration?
Before we start talking playoffs, here’s a look at the best players from Sunday on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
The one thing we know is Charles will be a nightmare for whoever the Chiefs draw in the first round, if Reid chooses to use him. On just 13 carries, the Kansas City running back had 106 yards and also caught five passes for 38 yards.
Any discussions about resting starters really could start and end with Charles. The last time the Chiefs made the playoffs, former head coach Todd Haley decided to play Charles in a meaningless game and a huge hit nearly knocked him out and certainly held him back in the playoffs.
Charles has had an amazing season, but adding to his personal stats isn’t worth the chance of getting injured and being unavailable for the playoffs. The next time we see the league’s best running back, he should be in street clothes watching Knile Davis trying to redeem himself.
Defense: Derrick Johnson
Like the rest of the Kansas City defense, even Johnson missed some tackles Sunday. But he did get the only sack on Luck, good enough to tie his career best with 4.5 for the season.
Johnson finished with five solo tackles, bringing him withing 18 of the all-time Chiefs record set by Gary Spani between 1978-86. While he won’t get that record this season, it’s just a matter of time before he locks it in and holds it for years to come.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
Remember when every week we would talk about how the punter was the Chiefs best player? Unfortunately Sunday was a blast from the past, with Colquitt serving as one of the few highlights for a Kansas City squad that was embarrassed by the Colts.
Colquitt finished with a 54 yard average for his five punts and that doesn’t even tell the story of how amazing his day was. He didn’t have a single touchback and put two inside the 20… but wait, there’s more!
He had a beautiful 31 yarder that actually BROUGHT DOWN his average, but pinned the Colts on their own 13 yard line. He also has a 61 yarder that was returned to the 25 and one that went 59 yards and returned to the 20. So he was thisclose to putting two more inside the 20.
Colquitt is the type of weapon that can prove deadly in the playoffs if the Kansas City defense can hold up their end.