Peyton Manning stood hopelessly on the sideline as the Indianapolis Colts’ 24-7 lead began to fade away in the battle with the Kansas City Chiefs. This game, like many others, could have turned out differently if the four-time MVP was under center. But he wasn’t.
It was Curtis Painter.
Painter did not do too bad, going 15-of-27 for 277 yards with two touchdowns and a 115.8 rating. But it wasn’t enough. There were a lot of holes, but it was mostly on defense.
“The offense was doing a great job in the first half, and we just kind of let down,” Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. “We blew this.”
First, there was the Colts rush defense. It just didn’t come prepared to play, even if the Chiefs were without star running back Jamaal Charles. They had Thomas Jones, and an unfamiliar face in Jackie Battle. Battle ran all over the Colts, rushing for 119 yards on 19 carries. Jones had his share with 55 yards on ten carries.
Then there was the pass defense. Matt Cassel started looking like his 2010-form that produced 27 touchdowns and led the Chiefs to a division title. He went 21-of-29 for 257 yards and four touchdowns, along with a 138.9 rating.
The Colts had trouble covering Kansas City’s top — Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston. Bowe made some ridiculous catches, including this circus one over Jacob Lacey to get the Chiefs to a 24-21 deficit.
Bowe had 128 yards off seven receptions, and two touchdowns. Speaking of Lacey, the young Indy cornerback struggled throughout the game. There were many times where he was called for pass-interference or allowed a huge play to the man he was assigned.
Meanwhile, Breaston’s elusiveness was too much for Indianapolis to handle as he put up 50 yards on four catches and caught touchdowns, including a diving touchdown reception that was the eventual game-winner.
“He is a guy I trust with all my heart — and the ball,” Cassel said of Bowe. “Then you get Steve Breaston, who continues to make so many plays. They compliment each other very well. If you’re going to double one, you can’t double the other.”
It has been since 1997 that the Colts have lost five straight games in a row. And the following off-season, they would go on to draft Peyton Manning. It’s 2011, and Andrew Luck is out there. As much as some hate it, the Colts are in the lead, with the Miami Dolphins, for the so-called “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes.
Painter started off the game with a six-yard touchdown to Garcon on a screen play. On the next drive, Adam Vinatieri would hit a 53-yard field goal to give Indy a 10-0 lead. Painter would then later find Garcon again, hooking up with the young receiver for a 67-yard touchdown to put Indianapolis up, 17-0, giving Painter his fourth career touchdown pass — all of his career touchdown passes have been to Garcon.
It all seemed good for Indy, who had a 24-7 lead after a Delone Carter touchdown run of three yards. But that’s when the Chiefs started clicking. They would go on to score 21 unanswered points with two Steve Breason touchdowns and the ridiculous, circus catch of Bowe.
“This is a big win, a step in the right direction,” Cassel said. “We kept our focus, and you could see the end result was very positive for us.”
Cassel would end the game with a key first down with about a minute remaining of regulation. With that, the Chiefs move to 2-3, while the Colts are still winless at 0-5.
“Take your hats off to them,” Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said. “They came out with a good game plan in the third quarter and they executed it well. I feel like we should be walking out of this game with a ‘W,’ but we didn’t get that done.”
Indianapolis will now have to face the Cincinnati Bengals, looking for their first victory of the season.
It’s going to be a long season, Colts fans. Let’s try to finish this season out and stick together!
We got this!
A quote from Bill Polian on the post-game radio show says it all for the state of the Indianapolis Colts franchise at this point in the season.
“I’m baffled. Truthfully, it’s hard to envision with the kind of people we have upfront that we can be this porous in the secondary. It’s a dilemma honestly.”
Since when has Polian been so direct and honest about his football team? Polian is frustrated. Expect some changes in the future.