Indianapolis Colts: Justin Houston

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts had the ball nearly 17 minutes longer than the Kansas City Chiefs in the first meeting between the two teams on Dec. 22. They also rushed for 135 yards and had nine different players catch a pass from quarterback Andrew Luck in their 23-7 victory.

“They played way better than us,” Chiefs do-everything running back Jamaal Charles said. “They beat us in all phases. Defense, they played harder and tougher than us and we didn’t do that on offense. We just got to play to their level.”

You would think the Colts would want to stick to the same blueprint in Saturday’s wild-card playoff game between the two teams, right?

Nope, that’s not the plan.

“We started from scratch, we didn’t just copy and paste the game plan from a couple weeks back,” offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. “We went back and we looked at how they played us defensively in the first game and went back and studied some of the earlier games that they played in the season and just hit the reset button. I think it’s important that we do that just so that we have the right mindset going into it and we feel good about the plan.”

You have to like that the Colts are going with the frame of mind that they can’t do the exact same thing this weekend. Doing that would set them up for possible failure because Kansas City’s Andy Reid is too good of a coach to get beat the same way by the same team twice in two weeks.

It’s not to say the Colts won’t repeat some of the same things from that game. They’ll add some different wrinkles, too.

The Chiefs were without linebacker Justin Houston, who tied for the team lead in sacks with 11, during the first meeting. Houston missed the final five games, but told Kansas City reporters that he’ll play Saturday.

“We’re assuming that they’re going to have one of the best pass-rushers in the National Football League back in the mix,” Hamilton said. “So we've got to prepare for their front seven. Not to discount the guys that play on the back end, because [Eric Berry] is a really good football player as well.”
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis doesn’t act like he’s unaware of how other players at his position are playing.

Mathis knows he’s leading the league in sacks with 9.5. He also knows how many sacks the player behind him -- Kansas City’s Justin Houston -- has. It's that competitive desire to stay in front for Mathis.

“Yeah, sack guys, pass-rushers, we keep up with one another,” Mathis said. “I see what they’re doing. I study film of them and whatever they’re doing that can help me out, I’ll do it. Whatever I’m doing that can help them, they’ll do it.”

Mathis’ 9.5 sacks are the second most through five games in NFL history. Kevin Greene had 10 sacks with the Carolina Panthers in 1998. Mathis became the 30th player in league history to record at least 100 sacks in their career when he got to Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson twice last weekend.

“Still doing what I’ve been doing over the last 10 years,” Mathis said about his early-season success. “Sometimes the balls roll to your favor. I’m feeling highly blessed right now.”