INDIANAPOLIS – The Kansas City Chiefs set out to exorcise demons of seasons past against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, and they did just that in a 30-14 win, although the victory may unfortunately prove costly down the road.
“We understand that when this team connects on all cylinders, man we’re hard to beat,” said linebacker Dee Ford, who picked up a career-high 3 1/2 sacks against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Backup quarterback Nick Foles twice came on in relief of starter Alex Smith, completing 16 of 22 passes for 223 and two touchdowns, while the defense forced two turnovers and picked up six sacks. But the Chiefs also lost three offensive starters to injuries, including Smith and running back Spencer Ware with concussions and left guard Parker Ehinger with a knee injury.
Smith appeared to sustain a hit to the head that sent him to the locker room on the team’s first possession, which resulted in a field goal. He cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol, and trainers treated him for a laceration on his ear, Reid said.
“He passed with flying colors the NFL concussion protocol,” Reid said. “I mean without any problem at all. And from there we put him back in.”
Smith re-entered the game with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
“If we had any concern, we wouldn’t have put him back in, period.” Reid said. “I would never do that.”
The team’s first possession of the second half proved very expensive, however. On the second play of the drive, Smith found wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a short pass for a 10-yard gain. A defender appeared to roll up behind Ehinger’s knee on the play. He left the game with what Reid labeled a knee sprain.
Two plays later, Smith ran to the left side on a run-option play and slide to ground for a short gain. Colts safety Clayton Geathers hit Smith as he went to the ground, and the quarterback struck his head on the turf.
Smith then went through the mandated NFL concussion protocol a second time, and this time failed, sending him out of the game for good.
The injuries overshadowed an otherwise dominate performance on both sides of the ball by the Chiefs. Foles and Smith combined for 350 yards passing as the team marched up and down the field for 422 offensive yards.
Foles hooked up with Hill for the team’s biggest offensive plays of the game. In the first quarter Foles aired a deep pass toward Hill’s direction, and the rookie receiver adjusted to come back for the ball on a 49-yard gain.
The backup quaterback later found a wide open Hill for a 34-yard touchdown play in the third quarter. Hill posted a new career high with 98 yards receiving on five catches.
Travis Kelce added a season-high seven catches for 101 yards. He also had a 37-yard reception down to the Colts’ 1-yard line reversed after a replay review.
The tight end appeared to take several steps in bounds with the ball before pushed out of bounds, at which point he lost control of the football.
“I don’t know what that was about,” Kelce said. “I mean, three feet on the ground. I don’t know how I can go on the ground taking three steps, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who picked up 43 yards and a touchdown on three receptions, praised Foles for keeping the offense moving without skipping a beat.
“I think he did a phenomenal job today,” Maclin said. “He is a guy that everyone knows likes to throw the ball downfield and we were able to do that today.”
Foles said the deep connections to Hill helped boost the Chiefs enthusiasm while deflating the Colts defense.
“You can see the sideline gets amped up,” Foles said, “Once again Tyreek, he made a couple of deep balls, some plays on them, and he’s done a great job for us. It’s exciting when you can hit something like that.”
On the defensive side, the Chiefs picked up six sacks and two turnovers while holding the league’s fourth-highest scoring offense to half its season average and just 277 yards of offense.
“I was proud of our defense and the way the handle themselves,” Reid said. “It was a big challenge, like the last couple of weeks have been. I was proud of the way they went about their business.”
Ford said he felt the team’s pass-rushing performance against Luck coming during practice this week.
“He likes to make plays and he can make plays down the field,” Ford said. “It was imperative that we kept rushing and not just rushing up the field, sell some power, go inside and our D-line did a great job today.”