Kansas City Chiefs Look For Vengeance Against Indianapolis Colts
Once again, the Indianapolis Colts stand in the Chiefs' path of success.
The Colts have put the knife in Kansas City's football coffin far too many times over the last 20 years. They have found a way to win nine of the last 10 games in the series, and not only beat the Chiefs, but destroy the Chiefs' hopes and dreams along the way.
During the 1995 season an extremely talented Chiefs team faced off against Indianapolis in the AFC divisional playoffs. And although the Chiefs were the better team during that time, the "kicker who shall not be named" missed three chip shot field goals as the Chiefs lost 10-7 at home, and Indy began their trashing of the Chiefs, while a mild hatred was born.
The very next season, the Chiefs were a team on the verge of making the playoffs, and in Week 16 of 1996, the Colts came back to town and won another tight game as WR Marvin Harrison was unstoppable, scoring three touchdowns in the game.
The Colts went on to have the same record as Kansas City, but because of the tiebreaker, Indy got the playoff nod while Kansas City was forced to stay home.
Just seven years later the Chiefs were sitting pretty at 13-3, and after a hot 9-0 start to the season, they were a Super Bowl possibility. Yet again, the Colts came to town, and this time with a man named Peyton Manning.
The Chiefs and Colts went on to have a field day offensively, as neither team punted the ball, making this the only playoff game in NFL history where this happened. Yet, Indy beat Kansas City, 38-31.
And last, but certainly not least, the Chiefs backed their way into the playoffs in 2006, as they faced the worst rush defense in the NFL in Indianapolis. Sure enough, halfback Larry Johnson was shut down, and Chiefs were stomped 23-8, as Indy went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
Once again, the ascending Chiefs are making something special happen. They are 3-0 for the first time since 2003, and while their defense is the best they've had in 10 years, the 2-2 Indianapolis Colts are here to spoil the fun.
But something might be different this year. The Chiefs have arguably the best running game in the NFL with the one-two punch of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.
The Colts defense is looking just as bad as they were during that 2003 season, and while they still have a terrific pass rush, their secondary is disturbingly terrible, and their run defense is dreadful.
The Chiefs on the other hand, with the addition of Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator, have improved on all areas of the defense.
While the Chiefs are looking great stopping the run, as we all know, the only way to beat Indianapolis is to slow down Peyton Manning and limit his opportunities with the ball.
The Chiefs should know the formula. After all, Romeo Crennel is 6-0 against Peyton Manning as a defensive coordinator, and on average have held the Colts offense to just 17 points.
Sure, you could say it was because the New England Patriots had a lot of talent defensively during that time period. But how did Crennel shut down the Colts offense when he was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns as well?
The Browns managed to hold Indy to just 13 and 10 points during his tenure as head coach. Sure, the inept ability of the Browns offense is what cost them those games, but Romeo has something the Chiefs have never had, Peyton's number.
Peyton Manning is probably the best second down quarterback in the league, therefore, keeping the Colts offense in 2nd-and-long, and 3rd-and-long is the best way to disrupt Manning. If the Chiefs defense allows the Colts to be in situations where only a couple yards are needed, Kansas City doesn't stand a chance.
The obvious way of slowing down Peyton Manning is to blitz him, and disrupt his passing lanes. After further review, Peyton Manning thrives off being blitzed, as he put up an incredible 114.5 QB rating against the blitz in 2009.
He seems to have the most trouble when defenses keep three lineman on the line of scrimmage, and he is forced to throw to his left, away from his throwing arm. Want evidence? Just take a look at the Super Bowl last year when Saints' CB Tracy Porter had a pick-six after Peyton threw to his left.
With a win over Indianapolis, it would not only prove to the world that Kansas City is legit, but it would also shake this mammoth known as the Colts off their back.
QB Matt Cassel will be forced to play his most consistent game as a Chief, and running backs Charles and Jones should each receive about 20 touches. Anything to keep the ball out of Peyton's hands as much as possible.
Rookie safeties Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry will be held responsible for anything allowed deep, and Eric Berry knows to not let Manning get to his head.
"Don't bite on the pump fake," Eric Berry says, recalling his time spent at University of Tennessee practice, when Peyton Manning would return to his alma mater during the offseason and practice with the team.
“Guys got a lot of experience from him and a lot of knowledge from him,” Berry said. “It’s always good to see someone who went to your school previously and it’s good to see them come back. It always helps and it’s pretty cool."
Berry will be in the spotlight, and he, along with the rest of the secondary, will be exposed. Cornerbacks Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, and rookie nickelback Javier Arenas will each be forced to play a complete game.
Kansas City faces its most difficult task of the young 2010 season, and beating the Colts would be an epic prevail.
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