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In Comeback, Colts Were Both Good And Lucky

by Richard Martin
Jan 05, 2014 11:34 PM EST



In an epic, for-the-ages second-half performance, Andrew Luck proved to be both lucky and good. Early, though, Luck was unfortunate and lousy. His interception early in the third quarter was returned to the Colts 18, and the Chiefs scored a touchdown to lead 38-10. To that point Alex Smith had outplayed Luck as the Chiefs used some creative playcalling that included Smith runs, shovel passes and some big plays. Down 38-10, Luck let it all hang out. The Colts went to a no-huddle offense, with Luck hitting Donald Brown for a touchdown to make it 38-17. The crucial sequence came during the Colts’ next possession. Indy was near the KC goal line, and Donald Brown fumbled. The ball went right to Luck, who ran it in for a score as if that were the play called. Luck indeed. Does he have a lucky horseshoe? The Chiefs had plenty of luck — the wrong kind. They suffered a series of devastating injuries that, in the end, were crippling no matter what anyone says.Jamaal Charles suffered a concussion on his third rush, which was only the sixth play of the game. He never returned. Also injured were his replacement, Knile Davis, as well as receiver Donnie Avery and defensive back Brandon Flowers. The Chiefs scored plenty of points, but in the end, a strong running game might have put them over the hump. They just didn’t have the horses at the end without Charles or Davis. Overall, Luck was 29-of-45 for 443 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in what was the second-largest comeback in NFL playoff history, trailing only Bills-Oilers in 1992. Smith had a great day, too, going 30-for-46 for 378 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. You could view at the game in various ways. Great comeback. Luck’s coming of age in the playoffs. Shootout. But at some point you have to ask: Where in the world was the defense in this game? On some of the big plays, defensive plays are nowhere to be seen. On Avery’s 79-yard touchdown, he could’ve jogged in. On T.Y. Hilton’s 64-yard go-ahead score, two Chiefs defensive backs were badly beaten. Duane Bowe had a 63-yard gain for the Chiefs. Overall, the Colts gained 536 yards, the Chiefs 513. Good heavens. All you could say is that the Chiefs came up with four turnovers and the Colts made some second-half stops. That’s it. This had to be a soul-crushing loss for Chiefs fans. It’s the team’s eighth-straight loss in the playoffs. But one part of the game was no surprise for Kansas City: The Chiefs haven’t played good defense in quite a while. Just as Saturday’s game was in effect two games, the team also had two seasons — one early with a dominant defense and little scoring, and one late with tons of scoring and little defense. Colts fans must be thinking the logo connotes good luck. In Saturday’s game, it sure did. If Luck comes up with more performances like this one, he’ll force everyone to start comparing him to other Colts greats. Maybe it’s too soon to start comparing him to Johnny Unitas, but it was a great clutch performance.