INDIANAPOLIS — Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith briefly left the game under the NFL’s concussion protocol, and while the was gone backup Nick Foles connected with tight end Travis Kelce for a 16-yard touchdown pass. Phillip Gaines picked off a Andrew Luck pass late in the second half to setup another touchdown, giving the Chiefs a 17-7 halftime lead.
Foles went 6-of-9 passing for 85 yards and a touchdown while posting a 134.0 quarterback rating in relief. Foles picked up most of his yardage with a 49-yard bomb to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Foles under threw Hill, but the rookie speedster made an adjustment to come back to the ball and make a leaping catch.
Smith returned midway through the second quarter, and finished the first half 8-of-18 passing for 117 yards and a passer rating of 84.7.
First half MVP goes to Kelce. The big tight end has six catches for 96 yards in the first half along with a couple of crucial third-down conversion.
Keys to the second half for the Chiefs:
Run the ball
The Chiefs win when they run the ball. The team mostly relied on the passing game in first half, rushing just 10 times for 35 yards. Finding opportunities for Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West are key to running out the clock and keeping the ball way from Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Keep pressure on Luck
The Chiefs haven’t demonstrated much of a pass rush this season — the team picked up just eight sacks through the first six games of the season. But the defense picked up two first-half sacks, and put pressure on Luck several other times.
The pressure on Luck helped lead to two turnovers. The Colts have allowed 27 sacks already this season, and opportunities are there to put the Colts and Luck in a deep hole.
Get another turnover
The Chiefs stumbled into their first turnover when Luck bobbled a shotgun snap and linebacker Ramik Wilson charged up the middle for the recovery.
Cornerback Phillip Gaines picked up a second turnover with 38 seconds left in the first half, taking away a ball intended for Colts receiver Donte Moncrief.
The two first-half turnovers at home are somewhat out of character for the Colts, who protect the ball almost as well as the Chiefs do. But Kansas City has a plus-seven turnover ratio on the season. Forcing another turnover could prove critical in the second half.
All week long the Chiefs defense recalled their last trip to Indianapolis, a 45-44 playoff loss in January 2014. The tame has a much smaller lead and less margin than ever, but the team coming out with a win is continent on the defense keeping the Colts in check.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton left the game with a hamstring injury in the first half, and his absence could prove crucial to the Colts. Without Luck’s most powerful offensive weapon, the defense needs to shine in the second half.