Sunday, December 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs
By Adam Teicher
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:
What it means: The Chiefs fell to 11-4 and have been eliminated from winning the AFC West championship. They have lost three straight home games and are 1-3 against teams that likely will wind up in the playoffs.
Stock watch: The Chiefs had scored 38 or more points in three of their past four games and 28 in the other but couldn’t get into double digits against the Colts. Rookie running back Knile Davis had played well in recent weeks in relief of Jamaal Charles but lost a fumble that gave the Colts great starting field position for the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe dropped a pair of passes and otherwise had trouble getting open against tight coverage. Defensively, the Chiefs twice blew coverage and left a receiver uncovered. Once, it led to a 33-yard touchdown catch-and-run by running back Donald Brown. The Chiefs also tackled poorly. Cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Dunta Robinson and safety Kendrick Lewis each missed an attempted tackle on Brown’s 51-yard touchdown run.
Turnover trouble: The Chiefs had been living off turnovers but died by them on Sunday. They committed four turnovers, while the Colts committed none. In addition to the Davis fumble, quarterback Alex Smith threw two interceptions, his second multi-interception game of the season. The second came in the end zone in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs desperate for a touchdown. He tried forcing the ball to Anthony Fasano, who wasn’t open. Smith also lost a fumble, his second of the season. Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson got into a passing lane in the third quarter and had a chance to not only intercept an Andrew Luck throw but also make a big return, yet couldn’t get his hands on the ball. The Chiefs had been negative in turnover differential in just two previous games this season. One was a one-point win over Houston at home in October, and the other was a three-point loss to the Chargers at home last month. The Chiefs had entered the game leading the league in turnover differential at plus-21.
What’s next: The Chiefs finish the regular season next Sunday against the Chargers in San Diego. The Chargers beat the Chiefs 41-38 in November at Arrowhead Stadium. The game is meaningless for the Chiefs with regard to seeding in the playoffs. They can no longer win the division title and gain a first-round bye, and are locked into the AFC's fifth seed. Their first-round playoff game in two weeks would be against the Colts if the season ended today. That game would be played in Indianapolis.