Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt has certainly had better performances than the one he put forth in the Chiefs' 26-17 win over the Titans on Sunday, but considering he was playing with a significant right knee sprain, well, it's safe to say he deserves a little leeway.
“It’s sore, just one of those things you’ve got to play through, I think,” Colquitt said. “I didn’t punt all week, I didn’t punt at all. So it was just one of those things where they thought that would give me the best chance to play in the game.”
Colquitt, a Pro Bowler in 2012 who injured the knee against the Giants last week, punted six times for a 37.5-yard average, a number that was also dragged down by a shanked punt that only traveled nine yards in the fourth quarter. Colquitt also failed to drop a single punt inside the 20, though he entered the game among the league's leaders in that category with 15.
Colquitt did make an impact. Despite his achy knee, he served as the holder on both of the Chiefs' extra points and four field goals, which wound up being the difference.
“The biggest thing about that was just to be there for (kicker) Ryan (Succop),” Colquitt said. “We don’t need a change of holder in the middle of the year, so you’ve got to stick it out and try to get it worked out over the next couple of weeks.”
Colquitt also played a huge part in the first big play of the day. His first punt bounced off the leg of a Titans player and bounced into the end zone, where Marcus Cooper recovered it to give the Chiefs a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
“It wasn’t on purpose,” Colquitt said. “It was just kind of a knuckleball when it came down. It just happened to hit one of their legs. Cyrus made a big play. He kind of turned up and looked and pushed the guy into the ball.”
Colquitt said the score obviously gave the Chiefs a big lift.
“When you come into a hostile environment against a team that’s playing really good like the Titans are right now, you’ve got to get some breaks and sometimes a little luck is involved,” Colquitt said. “That should have been their ball probably around the 20-yard line We benefited from that, and it kind of neutralized the crowd.”
Colquitt, however, didn't let himself off the hook for his shanked punt later in the game, which gave the Titans the ball at their own 35 instead of deep against their own end zone.
“It’s hard for me to go low right now (because of) the knee, but that’s no excuse,” Colquitt said. “Obviously, you want to hit the ball better than that. It was a combination of that and we’ve had three blocked punts in six games, so when you get a low snap the first thing you think of is you’ve got to really hurry up here. You’ve got to get it out of there.”
At the end of the day, though, he was just happy to get the win. It certainly did hurt that it came in Nashville, where his in-laws are from, and the state of Tennessee, where he played college football and had about 20 friends and family in attendance.
“It was a hometown feeling,” Colquitt said. “I’ve got a lot of buddies in this town, and it was welcoming in the stadium.”