Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Colts

The Kansas City Chiefs are no longer undefeated after falling to the Colts 19-9 in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon.  Losing to the defending AFC champions on the road isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but the truth is that the game was much closer than the final score.

The Chiefs left at least 10 points on the board when Todd Haley decided to unsuccessfully go for it inside the Colts 10 yard line and Dwayne Bowe dropped a touchdown pass.

Once again the Chiefs defense was spectacular, holding the Colts high powered offense to field goals until the final 4 minutes of the game.  As I said during the game, you can only ask the defense to clean up after Matt Cassel and the offense for so long.

It’s tough to take down the Colts when you don’t win the time of possession and on Sunday Indianapolis had the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than the Chiefs.

No one cares about moral victories in the NFL, but at the very least the Chiefs proved to the rest of the league that they are for real and are ready right now to make a run for the playoffs with the help of their defense.

Here are the best from offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Tony Moeaki

Hard to find much to like about the Chiefs offense against the Colts.

Jamaal Charles averaged 5.4 yards a carry, but fumbled at the end of the first half as the Chiefs were driving into Indianapolis territory looking for their first touchdown of the day.  Cassel was at least bad, but I wouldn’t argue if you said terrible.  Thomas Jones looked slow and Bowe had the dropped TD.  The lone bright spot seemed to be Moeaki.

Cassel threw his way 4 times and he caught the ball — gasp — all 4 times!  After making a highlight reel worthy catch against the 49ers, Moeaki went up to get a poorly thrown Cassel pass to set up a Ryan Succop field goal, the Chiefs only points of the first half.

The only thing that will hold Moeaki back is his health.  Since coming back from his training camp ailments, he has stayed healthy and proven to be the most sure handed receiver on the Chiefs roster.

Defense: Tamba Hali

The Chiefs only true pass rush threat literally bled for his team today.

It’s not easy to ruffle the feathers of Peyton Manning, but that’s exactly what Hali was able to do.  When he wasn’t being held, Hali was either hitting Manning or forcing him to rush his throws, a deadly ingredient to a passing attack with some much emphasis on timing.

He did a little bit of everything: 6 tackles, a sack, forced fumble and pass defensed.  It is scary to think how good Hali could be if he received any respect from the officials.  The scratching, clawing and holding by the Colts linemen left Hali bloodied but without any holding calls.

Special Teams: Dexter McCluster

This was the toughest to choose.  Succop delivered the only points on the day for Kansas City, but he also failed to get the opening onside kick 10 yards and missed field goal in the final minute of the game that would have cut the Colts lead down to 7.

Colquitt had a nice day kicking the ball, but was late getting on the field to hold the field goal attempt that Succop missed.  That’s not to say he was the reason for the miss, but you hate to have those sort of mistakes on such a big play.

That left me with McCluster.  We knew that Javier Arenas’ duties on defense would put most of the return chances on McCluster’s shoulders and he took 6 catches for 141 yards.  His 23.5 yard average won’t light the world on fire but was mistake free, unlike the other specialists.

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