5 takeaways from Colts’ win over Chiefs

Even though the Indianapolis Colts won’t know their playoff

seeding until after next week’s games, they’re probably hoping that

the Chiefs are their first opponent.

After all, they had their way with Kansas City on Sunday.

Andrew Luck threw for 241 yards in an efficient performance,

Donald Brown had touchdowns running and receiving, and the Colts

shut out the Chiefs after an opening touchdown in a 23-7 win that

could end up being a preview of an AFC wild-card game in just two

weeks.

If Indianapolis ends up as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and

with the Chiefs assured of the fifth seed, the two teams would meet

again at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kansas City’s chances of winning the

AFC West were dashed earlier Sunday when Denver beat Houston.

”It’s a possibility,” Luck said of a rematch. ”We have

another game or two until that happens, but if it is (Kansas City),

we’ll take a hard look at what just happened.”

It’s sure to be a pleasing film session.

Alex Smith threw for 153 yards, but he fumbled once and was

picked off twice. Knile Davis also fumbled the ball away, and the

Chiefs were hit with several key penalties that scuttled any chance

of mounting a second-half comeback in the frigid weather at

Arrowhead Stadium.

It was the fifth time the Colts (10-5) beat the Chiefs (11-4) in

their last six meetings.

”We’ll see them again,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson

said. ”They’ve got the upper hand on us right now because in their

minds they think they can beat us. If we go down there, it will be

a different story. But we’ve got to fight our way back.”

Jamaal Charles ran for 106 yards and the game’s opening score,

but Kansas City failed to keep him involved in the offense, and

that allowed the Colts to seize control.

Adam Vinatieri started the Indianapolis comeback with the first

of his three field goals, Brown caught a 31-yard screen pass for a

touchdown, and then added a 51-yard run later in the game,

tight-rope walking down the sideline the last 10 yards for the

score.

By the time Smith threw his second interception to Jerrell

Freeman, and then fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter, the

game had already been decided.

”The way we opened up, marching down the way we did, it felt

like things were going to be the way they’ve been,” Smith said.

”We really didn’t get into a rhythm after that, didn’t execute in

any area, and then the turnovers. The turnovers hurt you.”

As the Colts prepare for their regular-season finale against

Jacksonville, and Kansas City gets ready to wrap up in San Diego,

here are five things to remember:

TURNOVER TROUBLE: The Chiefs came into the game plus-21 in

turnover differential, by far the best in the league. But it was

Indianapolis that took advantage of Kansas City’s miscues by

scoring both of its touchdowns within two plays of a turnover. ”To

be able to come on the road, in this environment, and win a game

like this is very positive for us all,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano

said.

SHORT AND SWEET: Luck rarely threw deep down field, but it

didn’t matter. He gutted the Kansas City defense on crossing

routes, screen passes and check downs. ”They were flying around,”

Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers said. ”We were just watching

them fly around.”

ARROWHEAD MELTDOWN: The Chiefs will be headed on the road in the

playoffs, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They lost their

final three regular-season games at Arrowhead Stadium, which has

long had one of the NFL’s best homefield advantages.

STOPPING CHARLES: Charles was held in check after the opening

drive, and that was by design. The Colts saw him score five TDs

last week against Oakland and weren’t about to let that happen to

them. ”It was `Where’s Waldo’ all week for us,” Colts safety

Antoine Bethea said. ”We knew he was their go-to guy, and if we

could take him out of the game, it would be tough for their

offense.”

BIG `MO: Indianapolis has won three of its last four game and,

in the words of defensive end Bjoern Werner, ”we now have momentum

going into the playoffs.” The Chiefs head to San Diego next week

without any hope of improving its playoff seeding, which means

coach Andy Reid could be giving his starters a week off to rest.

”I haven’t even gotten that far,” Reid said. ”I’m not going to

say anything now on that, but yeah, I’ll evaluate what we do as we

go forward.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org