Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe hardly ever says a word to anyone, much less utter a nasty word.
But something inside him boiled over midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s 23-7 loss to Indianapolis, and Poe uncharacteristically snapped.
The Chiefs, trailing 20-7, had just forced an incompletion on third down, and Indianapolis was going to have to punt from its 32.
But Poe, who was battling Colts guard Mike McGlynn, was called for taunting. Fifteen yards. Automatic first down.
And the Colts would keep the ball for nearly another five minutes, culminating with a 30-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs were never really part of the game again.
After the game, Poe took full blame for losing his composure.
“It was just trash talk, and they called a penalty,” Poe said.
Poe, the Chiefs’ first-round pick from Memphis last season, said he had no history playing against McGlynn, a six-year veteran from Pittsburgh, and said he he wasn’t baited into anything.
Poe, who had four tackles in the game, plus two quarterback hurries, didn’t blame any level of frustration for his trash talk.
“We were both talking to each other, and they called it,” Poe said. “We were both talking trash, and they called it on me. I never had one before … “
Chiefs coach Andy Reid was as surprised by Poe’s penalty as anyone.
“You can’t have those,” Reid said. We haven’t had those up to this point. You do have to stay disciplined. There’s no excuse for that. He knows that. He’s a smart kid, and that’s not his M.O. I wouldn’t anticipate that happening again.”
Poe was not alone committing critical penalties in the third quarter.
During the Colts’ first drive of the quarter, Smith was called for defensive holding against Da’Rick Rodgers on a second-an-10 incompletion from the Indianapolis 44.
One play later, Colts’ running back Donald Brown ran 51 yards for a touchdown for the 20-7 lead.
Then, on Indianapolis’ next possession, Smith, again defending Rogers on third-and-seven, was called for defensive holding, just three plays before Poe’s taunting call.
“We play press man coverage a lot, and you’re going to get a holding call,” Smith said.
Smith said both he and Rogers were doing plenty of hand fighting as they ran down the field.
“It went a little too long …” Smith said.
In all, the Chiefs were assessed seven penalties for 65 yards on Sunday, a week after they were called for eight penalties for 91 yards.
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was called for a 15-yard horse-collar tackle on running back Trent Richardson when he had him stopped short of converting a third down, but that play didn’t prove costly because Vinatieri ended up missing a field goal.
Indianapolis, meanwhile, came into the game tied for the third-fewest penalties in the league, and the Colts were flagged just three times for 31 yards.
“You have to give those guys credit,” Smith said. “They were the better team. They made a ton of plays and took advantage of the mistakes we made today.”