A Chris Jones mishap and a missed field goal late in the fourth quarter spelled doom for the Chiefs against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Matt Ammendola missed a 34-yard field goal that would’ve extended the Chiefs’ lead at the time, and then Jones was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the Chiefs had stopped the Colts on third down.
“It sucks, man, because I blame myself for that,” Jones said.
The Colts capitalized on Kansas City’s miscues, especially Jones’ penalty, with a 20-17 victory that was ensured when Matt Ryan found tight end Jelani Woods for a 12-yard touchdown.
On Jones’ penatly, which kept alive the Colts’ game-winning drive, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he didn’t see any pushing or shoving between Jones and Ryan.
Reid, then proceeded to offer some advice.
“Chris got a call on that, so I guess my best advice would be, ‘Don’t talk,’” Reid said.
That was a game-changing penalty, for sure, but the Chiefs — especially their offense — flirted with disaster throughout the game. The offense had been averaging 35.5 points per game but sputtered against a Colts defense missing three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard.
The Chiefs’ defense, meanwhile, did all it could to keep KC in the game. Linebacker Nick Bolton had a team-high two sacks; cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and defensive end Carlos Dunlap each totaled a sack and forced fumble; and defensive end Frank Clark notched a sack, too.
Sneed’s sack and forced fumble on Ryan came on a fourth-and-1 play at the Colts’ 49-yard line. The Colts recovered the ball but lost possession on downs. The Chiefs turned Sneed’s play into points four plays later on Mahomes’ 3-yard touchdown pass to Kelce.
Dunlap’s sack and forced fumble, which Sneed recovered, also resulted in a short field and points. The Chiefs recovered the ball on the Colts’ 21-yard line and got in the end zone five plays later on Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-10 lead.
The Chiefs’ defense contained running back Jonathan Taylor, the Colts’ top offensive weapon. Taylor entered the game averaging 107.5 yards rushing, but the Chiefs pretty much stuffed him: 71 yards on 21 carries.
By making the Colts’ offense one-dimensional, the Chiefs were able to pin back their ears and go after Ryan, who finished 27 of 37 for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan got the last laugh on the Colts’ game-winning drive.
“When you look at the game as a whole, offense and defense, we just didn’t finish the game,” Clark said. “We didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
The Chiefs dropped to 2-1 while the Colts improved to 1-1-1. Reid is now 2-4 against the Colts since he arrived as Kansas City’s head coach in 2013.
SPECIAL TEAMS STRUGGLES
Under coordinator Dave Toub, the Chiefs’ special teams unit has enjoyed some good games.
Sunday wasn’t one of them.
The struggles started early thanks to rookie wide receiver/returner Skyy Moore. The first-round draft pick muffed his first punt-return attempt and the Colts recovered at the 4-yard line. Indy scored three plays later when Ryan found Woods in the back of the end zone.
“Everything was normal,” Moore explained. “I’ve just got to catch that.”
On his second punt-return attempt, Moore let the ball bounce nearby, then watched as it rolled to the Chiefs’ 1-yard line. The Colts downed it there.
Moore admitted that the first gaffe was still in his head as he lined up for his second return.
“Probably a little bit, just not wanting to make that next mistake again,” he said. “I’ve got to catch that one, too.”
Moore made good on his third try, at least, fielding the ball cleanly and taking it upfield for a 12-yard gain.
Kicker Matt Ammendola, filling in for the second straight game for usual starter Harrison Butker, contributed to the Chiefs’ special team woes by missing an extra point and a 34-yard field-goal attempt.
The Chiefs lined up for a 42-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but punter Tommy Townsend took the snap on a fake and attempted a pass to tight end Noah Gray. The ball sailed high over Gray’s head, giving possession back to the Colts.
The Chiefs’ kicking unit also drew a delay-of-game penalty in the third quarter.
The Chiefs asked Darius Harris to fill in for Willie Gay Jr., who is serving a four-game suspension, and Harris delivered.
Harris started alongside Nick Bolton and rookie Leo Chenal in the Chiefs’ 4-3 base defensive scheme. He remained on the field next to Bolton in the Chiefs’ nickel package.
“I feel like Darius did a hell of a job today,” Bolton said.
While Harris was responsible for coverage during a short touchdown pass by the Colts, he turned in a productive game from the weakside linebacker spot, with a team-high 13 tackles, seven solo. He also contributed to the Chiefs’ effort to contain the Colts’ running game.
“I feel like I had a good game, overall,” Harris said. “Obviously, we left some plays out there in all three phases. I would’ve loved to have the win, but we’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, learn from our mistakes and correct them come next week.”
Right tackle Andrew Wylie left the game briefly in the second quarter but later returned. Prince Tega Wanogho filled in at right tackle during Wylie’s short absence.
Rookie safety Bryan Cook received attention on the field after the second-half kickoff and then spent time in the blue medical tent on the sidelines. Cook returned to the game.
NOT SUITED UP
Defensive ends Mike Danna (calf), Joshua Kaindoh and Benton Whitley, Butker (left-ankle sprain), running back Ronald Jones, quarterback Shane Buechele and offensive lineman Darian Kinnard were inactive.
The Chiefs travel to Tampa in Week 4 to take on the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. It’s a Sunday night prime-time game between old acquaintances.