INDIANAPOLIS — An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs 45-44 AFC wild-card playoff loss to Indianapolis on Saturday:
By VAHE GREGORIAN
The Kansas City Star
A is for apex of the season, which turned out to be Nov. 3, when the Chiefs improved to 9-0. They lost six of their last eight from that point.
B is for Bowe, Dwayne, who backed up his words about being a big-game player with eight catches for 150 yards and a season-long 63-yard catch.
C is for colossal collapse: The Chiefs led Indianapolis 38-10 before the Colts uncorked a rally that matched the second-biggest in NFL playoff history.
D is for defense of the Chiefs, which crumbled down the stretch … both of the season and the game Saturday.
E is for endless, which the third quarter seemed to be as the Colts went from being hopelessly behind to in range by outscoring the Chiefs 21-10.
F is for freakish play, the fumble by Donald Brown converted into a touchdown by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
G is for Gray, Cyrus, the wide-open Chiefs running back that Alex Smith overthrew for what likely would have been a touchdown, one of the few moments that Smith would want back from arguably his best game in the NFL.
H is for Husain Abdullah, whose two interceptions tied a franchise playoff record.
I is for injuries to the Chiefs: Five players were knocked out of the game for good, including three by concussion.
J is for Jamaal Charles, the star running back who had been playfully called “Public Enemy No. 1” by Colts coach Chuck Pagano, and was rubbed out by a concussion on the first series of the game.
K is for Knile Davis, the Chiefs rookie running back who led the team in rushing with 67 yards and had a touchdown rushing and another receiving in place of Charles … before Davis suffered a knee injury himself.
L is for linebacker Justin Houston, who returned after missing five-plus games and had a fumble recovery and a sack before leaving the game with another unspecified injury.
M is for memorable season: the Chiefs were 2-14 in 2012. The turnaround was remarkable. But it will be hard to forget the piercing ending.
N is for Nineteen Ninety-Four, which remains the last time the Chiefs won a playoff game.
O is for offense: The Chiefs (513 yards) and Colts (536) combined for more than 1,000 yards.
P is for penalties against the Chiefs, two for 15 yards, meaning they were penalized just three times for 20 yards in their last two games.
Q is for questionable: With the Colts already having romped right through them on their first drive of the game, setting a tone for a high-scoring affair ahead, the Chiefs settled for a field goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter. What might have happened had the Chiefs gone for it? At worst, they would have had Indy pinned at the 1. Just the same, the Chiefs did go on to build a 38-10 lead that should have stood up.
R is for Ryan Succop, the Chiefs kicker who connected on all three field goals he attempted.
S is for Seven minute 23 second drive that the Chiefs put together at the end of the first half to take a 31-10 lead into halftime. If that didn’t do in the Colts, surely intercepting Luck and then making it 38-10 to start the third quarter would … but didn’t.
T is for T.Y. Hilton, the Colts receiver who shredded the Chiefs for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
U is for undressed, which the Colts passing game did to the Chiefs defensive secondary to the tune of 443 yards.
V is for variety: the Chiefs offense mixed up plays and personnel as well as it had all season. Perhaps it was by necessity with Charles out, but it seemed a nimble adjustment in adverse circumstances.
W is for what would have happened next week even if the Chiefs had won but were left to deal with all those injuries?
X is for X-factor: Who knew in the first months of the season that the Chiefs offense would emerge as their greatest strength, so much so that it could produce 44 points without Charles?
Y is for yards thrown for by Alex Smith, 378, a career high.
Z is for zero, the number of wins the Chiefs have in four playoff appearances against the Colts.