Colts vs. Chiefs: Indy Wins Ugly, but the Playoffs Are Beautiful
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They weren't supposed to win 10 games. They weren't supposed to make the playoffs. They weren't supposed to be competitive.
The contest was a struggle throughout as the Colts gave up a season-worst 352 yards rushing, allowing big yards to Jamaal Charles (22-for-226, 1 TD) and Peyton Hillis (15-for-101).
As the Chiefs bludgeoned the Indy line, the Colts offense languished through the middle of the game.
Andrew Luck managed to break the rookie passing record, shooting past Cam Newton's one-year-old mark of 4,051 yards, but hit the skids in the third quarter, throwing 10 straight incomplete passes.
Fortunately for the Colts, he saved his best for last.
With the score tied at 13, Luck engineered his seventh game-winning drive of the season. Starting with a 3rd-and-4 from his own 33, Luck hit six consecutive throws. Three went to Reggie Wayne, who also snagged the game-winning touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from the seven.
As he has so many times, he went high to pull down a pass that put the Colts in the postseason.
The only surprise was that it took Indianapolis so long to take control of the game.
The Chiefs opened play looking like the worst team in football. Brady Quinn threw an early pick-six to Darius Butler on a poorly-thrown ball several feet behind his intended receiver.
The early points helped the Colts build a 13-3 halftime lead, but Kansas City bounced back behind Charles and Hillis.
Charles opened the second half with an 86-yard touchdown run to put his team back in the game.
As dominant as he was, however, the Chiefs ultimately couldn't overcome the play of Quinn. He tossed two interceptions and had a third overturned by a dubious pass interference penalty.
For the Colts, the victory raised their road record to 4-4 on the year and marked their ninth win in 10 one-score games. Indianapolis has now made the playoffs 12 times in 14 seasons, winning at least 10 games in all of those seasons.
It also locked down the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. Indianapolis will travel to either Baltimore or Cincinnati in the Wild Card Round. Baltimore wins the AFC North with a win in either of its final two games.
The Colts will wrap up the regular season with the most meaningful meaningless game in history. Even though they have nothing to play for standings-wise, the game will be symbolically important.
It will mark the return to the sidelines of head coach Chuck Pagano, whose battle with leukemia has been the emotional core of the Colts' renaissance.
The Colts have already achieved more in the 2012 season than anyone dreamed possible.
Despite their struggles against the Chiefs, there's no reason to expect the miracles to run out now.
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