Chiefs 28, Colts 24
Jackie Battle did almost a career's worth of damage in a little more than three quarters of action.
Kansas City's reserve running back rambled for 119 yards on 19 carries to help the Chiefs beat the winless Indianapolis Colts 28-24 on Sunday.
Battle had rushed for only 155 yards in his four-year career before kickoff and had just one carry in the first quarter against Indianapolis, but he was virtually unstoppable the rest of the game.
It was quite a performance for an undrafted free agent from the University of Houston who primarily had toiled on special teams during his NFL career.
''They are going to know him after today,'' Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe said. ''He is a great running back, tough runner, and he is a great part of this team.''
Battle already had won his teammates over with his work ethic and attitude.
''He's a guy that never complains,'' Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said. ''He just goes out and works hard. He'll do whatever you ask him to do on special teams. He's a guy that just grinds and grinds and grinds. And you can see, when he gets his opportunities, he can play.''
Battle helped the Chiefs overcome a 17-point deficit - the largest comeback since Todd Haley took over the team in 2009.
They also overcame suddenly dynamic Indy quarterback Curtis Painter, who benefited from having the injured Peyton Manning available as a teacher on the sideline. Painter opened the game 12 of 17 for 237 yards with two TDs and a near-perfect 152.2 rating. A series of second-half drops prevented the Colts from moving the ball, though, and now the Chiefs have won two straight after starting the season 0-3.
Indy is 0-5 for the first time since 1997 and has lost five straight for the first time in a decade.
Kansas City's running game had struggled since star running back Jamaal Charles was knocked out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. In the games since Charles' injury, Kansas City (2-3) had rushed for 81 yards against San Diego and 103 yards against Minnesota. With Battle leading the way, the Chiefs pounded the ball 38 times for a season-high 194 yards.
The running game was key because it disrupted the Colts' offensive rhythm. Indianapolis led 24-14 at halftime but ran just five offensive plays in the third quarter.
''It just seemed like the second half, we couldn't switch the momentum,'' Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said. ''They wanted to pound the ball and get some things going.''
Battle was at his best in the second half while the Chiefs were rallying. He had 81 yards on 13 carries after halftime and added 21 yards on two catches for 102 total yards.
One of Battle's key plays came late in the game on a second-and-10 when he appeared to be stopped near the line of scrimmage, but escaped and set up a third-and-short. Cassel got the first down on a quarterback sneak, and the Chiefs ran out the clock.
''There's never a time when I've seen him get hit where he doesn't somehow fall forward,'' Cassel said. ''He's done a great job for us. Hopefully, he'll continue to grow in this offense.''
Battle's running provided balance for Cassel, who was an efficient 21 of 29 for 257 yards with a rating of 138.9. He threw four touchdown passes - two each to Bowe and Steve Breaston.
Bowe caught seven passes for 128 yards and simply outmuscled the much smaller Jacob Lacey for many of them. Breaston caught four passes for 50 yards but made a spectacular effort to get into the end zone at the end of the first half and a terrific move against a backup cornerback to give the Chiefs their only lead with 5:15 left.
Painter completed 15 of 27 passes for 277 yards. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon on the opening series and after a 53-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri, he hooked up with Garcon on a 67-yard TD pass to make it 17-0 less than 20 minutes into the game. Garcon finished with five catches for 125 yards.
But Kansas City never gave up.
''We just started doing things better,'' Haley said. ''That's three weeks in a row with strong second halves. That's our conditioning and hard work paying off in our favor. We did a good job wearing them out.''
Notes: Chiefs RB Le'Ron McClain injured his neck late in the first half. ... Cassel has had three straight games with quarterback ratings over 100. ... Colts K Pat McAfee hit the crossbar on his second kickoff of the game. ... Colts RB Joseph Addai left the game with a right hamstring injury in the first quarter and did not return. ... Colts RB Delone Carter's TD was the first of his career.
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