Chiefs Stick To Plan, Grab Victory No. 2

From Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

In a remarkable Sunday afternoon the Chiefs did two things you don’t normally see from the same team in an NFL game. They were down by 17 points with just over one minute to play in the first half.

And then QB Matt Cassel took a knee at the end of the game to run the clock out so the Chiefs could walk off the field with a remarkable 28-24 victory.

“The kneel-down is the best play in football,” Chiefs LG Ryan Lilja said. “No matter how you get to that point, if you are kneeling to run out the clock it’s a great feeling.”

Some 30 minutes of football earlier, the thought that the Chiefs would be running out the clock to gain the franchise’s first victory ever in Indianapolis. It’s been a long time since a Chiefs team trailed by 17 points and came back to win.

In fact, it’s 129 games in the past, close to exactly eight years ago. On October 12, 2003 the Chiefs trailed Green Bay 31-14 in the third quarter at Lambeau Field after Packers K Ryan Longwell hit a 50-yard FG. By the time that game was over, the Chiefs won 40-34 in overtime when QB Trent Green and WR Eddie Kennison hooked up on a 51-yard TD pass.

That was against Brett Favre. This time it happened vs. Curtis Painter. With Peyton Manning on the bench because of neck surgery, Painter got his second NFL start and in the first half he lit up the Chiefs. The Purdue product threw for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns to WR Pierre Garcon.

But a football game is a full 60 minutes on the clock and as bad as the Chiefs played in the first half, was how good they played in the second half. QB Matt Cassel threw four touchdown passes, two each to WRs Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston. The little-used Jackie Battle ran for 119 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

And the defense stood up in the second half and made Painter look more like an inexperienced NFL QB. He threw for just 40 yards in the second half, and the Colts were able to manage just 64 yards in total offense in the second half. They never got near the end zone.

“We played much better in the second half, but I’ve got to give all the credit for this one to the offense,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “We (defense) had all sorts of problems in the first half. I’m not sure where we were at. But the offense just kept things going and by the time we got ourselves together, the whole thing was working together.”

It was very much a complimentary victory for the Chiefs, meaning offense and defense not only contributed, but worked together with help from the special teams to make up a 17-point deficit two different times in the first half and move their record to 2-3 as they head to their bye week.

“The key with us was to stick with it and avoid the desire to hit the panic button,” head coach Todd Haley said of being down 17 points. “Sometimes that’s human nature and you think you need to do a little more. We stayed away from that and you saw that the second half went really well for us.”

The first half was a strange one for the Chiefs. At times, it appeared they were going to get run out of the building as the defense had trouble stopping anything the Colts were doing. But the inconsistent offense kept them in the game and down by 10 points at half-time thanks to a pair of second quarter TD throws by Cassel.

The Chiefs won the opening coin toss but deferred their choice to the second half. So it was the Colts with the football first. Even though Manning was on the sideline and not in the game, the Colts moved efficiently down the field like he was still in charge as Painter led them on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up nearly half of the first quarter.

Indy mixed the run and the pass, converting a pair of third down plays before Painter threw a 6-yard TD pass to Garcon for the score. On the play, the Colts lined three receivers up together in a bunch on the right side and for some reason the Chiefs secondary did not react. CB Javier Arenas was playing up near the line and Flowers was in off coverage. But when Painter’s throw reached Garcon and Arenas was blocked, it was a wide open highway into the end zone. The PAT kick gave Indy the 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, the Colts offense got the ball after a Dustin Colquitt punt and moved the ball into Chiefs territory to the 35-yard line. They stalled there, but veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri came in and nailed a 53-yard field goal for a 10-0 Colts lead. It was the fourth longest FG in Vinatieri’s storied career.

The Chiefs offense went three plays and out and Painter took over at his 33-yard line. One play, one score, as Garcon got open down the right sideline. Painter pump faked and Flowers bit on a potential throw down the seam to TE Dallas Clark. That left no Chiefs defender within 15 yards of Garcon and he scored a 67-yard touchdown. With the PAT, it was 17-0 in favor of the Colts and they were threatening to make it a blowout.

“That was bad,” Flowers said. “That was a mistake on my part and there was some miscommunication. We just didn’t have everything synched up the way it needed to be.”

The first of Cassel’s four TD passes helped cut the margin to 17-7 as he hooked up with Bowe for a 42-yard TD play that was about five yards pass and 37 yards after the catch. Bowe caught a slant and then just burst up the middle of the Colts defense and they were unable to stop him.

Still, the Colts came right back and Painter led them on another long drive, this time 8 plays, 80 yards and it ended with a 3-yard TD run by rookie RB Delone Carter. The PAT pushed the margin back to 17 points and there was just 69 seconds to play in the half.

Then, came the possession that turned the game around. Starting at their 20-yard line, the Chiefs offense moved the ball down the field with Cassel’s arm. He hit TE Leonard Pope for 4 yards, and then Breaston for 11 yards and a first down. Cassel and Bowe hooked up for a 29-yard play, pushing the ball into Colts territory. Battle ran for 15 yards, Cassel scrambled for five yards and then he hit Breaston for a 16-yard TD throw with just 13 seconds left in the half.

Ryan Succop’s PAT kick made the score 24-14 at intermission and there’s a huge difference being down by 10 and being behind by 17 points.

“There’s no 10-point lead in the NFL that’s safe,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “But 17, now that’s a tough one. It was a great drive by our offense.”

The Chiefs offense dominated the third quarter, holding the ball for 12 minutes, 12 seconds of the period. A holding penalty on Pope and a sack of Cassel killed one drive, but on their second possession they went 93 yards in 12 plays with the score coming on what is possibly the greatest catch of Bowe’s career. He fought off Colts CB Jacob Lacey – who was flagged for pass interference – reaching behind him and tipping the ball not once, but twice and making the catch. The PAT made it 24-21.

Back and forth the game went into the final quarter, until the Chiefs took over at their 46-yard line with just under 10 minutes to play. Again, Cassel moved the offense down the field with some timely passes and the running of Battle and on 3rd-down-and-2 from Colts 11, he hooked up with Breaston for the winning score in the left corner of the end zone.

Had No. 18 been playing for the Colts, that four-point lead with still 5 minutes on the clock would not have been safe. But Manning was on the sidelines and whatever fairy dust Painter had been playing under in the first half was now gone. Indy turned the ball over on downs and the Chiefs had one of their most improbable victories of the last decade.

“I knew that we could (comeback) if we just got guys to realize the importance of sticking to it, keep grinding, keeping chopping wood, whatever the sayings are,” Haley said. “We stuck to our plan and it paid off.”

4 Responses to “Chiefs Stick To Plan, Grab Victory No. 2”

  • October 9, 2011  - Tim says:

    Great victory, no doubt. Remember this: the Colts had a guy w/ his second NFL start light us up. Their OL was much weaker due to injury. We never should’ve been in that position in the first half…

  • October 9, 2011  - Chiefs Come-From Behind For 28-24 Victory : says:

    [...] GAME STORY: Chiefs stick to plan for victory. [...]

  • October 10, 2011  - Chuck says:

    I will stand by what I have said ever since the first 2 games of this season and the last 2 games of last season. Cassel seems to do fine when he is playing an inferior team but when he plays against a really good team (ala Ravens from last year, Bills, Lions, Steelers, Pats, etc etc he seems to “choke”. He does not perform well under pressure. He will never get us to a super bowl. We probably have won our way out of the Andrew Luck Derby and thats really a shame.

  • October 10, 2011  - Matt Ticknor says:

    Your no fan of the chiefs if you are rooting for them to lose (no matter what the stakes are)

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News