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Halftime report: Chiefs 31, Colts 10

Updated: 2014-01-05T01:12:27Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

— It’s halftime at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the Chiefs lead the Colts 31-10. Here are some quick observations.

The loss of Jamaal Charles to a concussion is obviously a huge blow to the offense, but Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson are turning in a masterful performance. All kinds of new plays, all kinds of wrinkles … it's been fascinating to watch on many levels. Where was all this stuff two weeks ago, when the Colts held the Chiefs to only seven points?

The Chiefs really capitalized on the struggles of Colts cornerback Greg Toler, who was returning from a groin injury and basically couldn't run. Dwayne Bowe broke off a 63-yard catch-and-run after juking him at the line of scrimmage, and Donnie Avery torched him for a 79-yard touchdown on a simple post pattern.

Speaking of Bowe … he set the tone early with his 6-yard touchdown catch. He ran a little inside slant from the slot and caught it right in front of safety LaRon Landry, the man who gave him a concussion a few weeks ago. Bowe also juked past Landry on his 63-yard catch later on, too.

Kudos to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who is turning in a masterful performance. He's completed 13 of 21 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, and has also done a terrific job eluding the pressure of Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis, whom the Chiefs have struggled to block. He's made plays with his feet and extended plays when necessary. You can't call him a game manager based on the way he's playing today.

Knile Davis is running hard in Charles' absence. He bowled over hard-hitting safety Antoine Bethea on one run and has done a good job holding on to the ball. He currently has 12 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown.

The Chiefs are doing some really interesting things with their defense. After Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and receiver T.Y. Hilton abused them on their first drive ― in which they marched for a touchdown ― the Chiefs went to a personnel grouping they've barely used in their defensive subpackages. They've put Husain Abdullah ― a special-teams stalwart ― at linebacker and let safeties Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis roam. They've also been sprinkling in reserve cornerback Ron Parker. Safety Quintin Demps has been the odd man out.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Chiefs fans in the second quarter; Justin Houston looked like his old self. Racked up his 12th sack of the season near the end of the half.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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