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Chiefs vs. Colts: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 04: Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during a Wild Card Playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Kristopher KnoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2014

It took a remarkable comeback for the Indianapolis Colts to overcome a 38-10 deficit and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in one of the wildest Wild Card game's ever.

Final Score: Kansas City 44, Indianapolis 45

Indianapolis Colts Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseB-B
Run OffenseC-B+
Pass DefenseFC-
Run DefenseDC-
Special TeamsC+A-
vs. Chiefs AFC Wild Card Round



Game Analysis for Indianapolis

Pass Offense: Quarterback Andrew Luck made some outstanding plays over the course of the contest, but he also made some critical mistakes.

A trio of poorly-thrown interceptions could have cost the Colts the game, but Luck had the poise and the savvy to overcome and lead his team to a most improbable victory.. He was helped immensely by wideout T.Y. Hilton, who caught 13 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

Luck finished the game 29-of-45 for 443 yardsand four touchdowns with the three interceptions.

Run Offense: Indianapolis never really turned to the ground game in this contest. This is understandable, considering the deficit faced by the Colts throughout the game.

However, the Colts got very good production when they did run the football with the exception of an early Trent Richardson fumble.

Donald Brown led the team with 55 yards on 11 carries, while Luck added 45 yards rushing from the quarterback position. Richardson did not carry the ball after his fumble.

Pass Defense: Indianapolis had difficulty defending quarterback Alex Smith, especially in the first half where the Chiefs quarterback passed for 217 yards and three scores.

Receiver Dwayne Bowe proved particularly difficult to defend, catching eight passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.

In the end, the Colts were able to stop Smith when it mattered. He finished the game 30-of-46 for 378 yards and four touchdowns.

Run Defense: The Colts were aided by an early injury to Jamaal Charles and a later injury to his backup Knile Davis. However, Indianapolis still had its hands full trying to contain the Kansas City rushing attack.

Davis led the Chiefs with 67 yards on 18 carries, while Smith added57 yards on eight quarterback scrambles. Charles rushed three times for 18 yards before leaving the game.

Special Teams: While it is unlikely to get a lot of credit for its performance, the Colts special teams unit was quietly impressive in this game.

Kansas City fields a pair of dangerous return specialists in Dexter McCluster and Quintin Demps. Indianapolis managed to hold Demps to just 26 yards per kick return, while McCluster had just one punt return for six yards.

Coaching: Head coach Chuck Pagano and his staff deserve credit for keeping the players motivated following a disastrous 38-10 third-quarter deficit.

The coaching staff also deserves a ton of credit for making enough halftime adjustments to close the gap over the final two quarters.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s unit was particularly impressive after halftime, racking up 35 points and putting the Colts ahead at the end.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 04: Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during a Wild Card Playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyo
Andy Lyons/Getty Images



First-Half Analysis for Indianapolis

Pass Offense: Quarterback Andrew Luck set the tone early, going a perfect 7-of-7 with a touchdown on the Colts’ opening drive. The Colts would have probably leaned on Luck even if they did not face a large deficit in the first half.

Luck was able to utilize his mobility to buy time and deliver the football downfield. However, he was unable to make enough big plays to keep pace with the Chiefs on the scoreboard.

His only major mistake was costly, as Luck’s second-quarter interception took away a potential scoring opportunity. Luck finished the half 12-of-21 for 129 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Run Offense: Indianapolis did not test the Kansas City run defense often in the first half. Things did not always go right when it did.

Trent Richardson, who was acquired via trade with a first-round draft pick only to be benched later in the regular season, fumbled on his first career postseason carry.

Donald Brown received just three carries, on which he gained 12 yards. Luck led the team with 30 yards on two scrambles.

Pass Defense: With running back Jamaal Charles injured early, the Chiefs turned to quarterback Alex Smith to produce big plays through the air. A lack of adequate pressure and several breakdowns in the secondary allowed him to do exactly that.

Smith delivered accurate deep passes with frequency and finished the half 14-of-23 for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

Run Defense: The Colts had a difficult time containing the Chiefs rushing attack, despite the injury to Charles.

Charles gained 18 yards on three carries before leaving the game. Knile Davis rushed 12 times for 51 yards in his absence, while Smith added 41 yards rushing from the quarterback position.

Special Teams: The Colts special teams unit did a respectable, if unspectacular job in the first half.

Dynamic return specialist Dexter McCluster was held to just six yards by the Indianapolis punt coverage unit on his lone return. Kicker Adam Vinatieri made his only field-goal attempt.

Coaching: Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky had no answer for the Chiefs innovative play calling in the first half. His unit had surrendered an average of just 21 points per game during the regular season. It has given up more in the first two quarters of this contest.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton did a nice job drawing up a variety of passing plays. Hamilton challenged the Chiefs’ man coverage with regular crossing patterns, which proved effective. A designed quarterback run on 4th-and-short in the second quarter was especially creative.

Indianapolis’ relative lack of scoring in the first half appeared to be caused by poor execution, not poor play calling.



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