Chiefs’ memories of Indy anything but fond

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The Kansas City Chiefs have never cared much for road trips to
Indianapolis like the one they’ll take Sunday to face the Colts.

As a visitor, Kansas City stands 1-6 in regular and postseason
games played in Indy. The Chiefs lost games there in the 2006 and
2013 playoffs.

It’s that last loss in January 2014 that left a very deep bruise on
the Chiefs’ psyche. Kansas City led by 28 points with 28 minutes to
play, but Colts quarterback Andrew Luck led one of the biggest
comebacks in NFL postseason history and Indy grabbed a 45-44
victory.

That was the last time these teams met each other and typical of
the not-for-long NFL, only a handful of players who appeared in
that game with a chance to play Sunday: 17 in all, led by the
team’s starting quarterbacks Luck and Kansas City’s Alex Smith.

“I obviously remember the outcome and being pretty disappointed,”
said Smith, who threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns in that
game. “It was a long time ago, though. When you start thinking
about it, one year is a long time in the NFL, let alone a couple of
years. A lot has changed since then, so it’s hard to even look at
that tape.”

Turns out it’s not even a subject that has been broached by coach
Chuck Pagano to his 2016 Colts.

“Every year is different, every team is different,” Pagano said.
“There’s a lot of turnover in this league. They’re great for
memories, but they don’t really have any significance on anything
other than again playing it one play at a time.”

The 4-2 Chiefs come into the meeting on a two-game winning streak
after beating Oakland and New Orleans. The offense and defense have
been inconsistent for coach Andy Reid, but when they’ve been on
their game, they can compete with any team in the league.

“The focus for me is on the Chiefs’ defense this year and it’s
really good group that leads the way in takeaways,” Luck said.
“(Marcus) Peters is a premier corner in this league; he’s leading
the league in interceptions and it’s a very opportunistic defense
and we have to be on our p’s and q’s.”

The Chiefs are looking for consistency across the board in the
journey to their goals. They found that last year when they
finished the regular season with 10 straight victories.

“You have to be disciplined about how you go about your business
and the details,” Smith said, “especially when you get to the meat
of the season. You need to have the sense of urgency to stay
short-sighted and not look too far down the line. Sometimes it’s
tedious, but it’s making sure you get all of those things done.”

The Colts are 3-4 and coming off a victory last Sunday over
Tennessee. Luck has thrown the ball well, despite being sacked a
league-high 25 times. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton ranks among the
NFL’s best catchers with 45 recepetions for 689 yards and four
touchdowns. Veteran running back Frank Gore remains productive at
33 years old and is tied for ninth in the league with 495 rushing
yards on 117 carries.

“He’s a warrior, that one,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Gore.
“He’s a tough guy, a physical runner and to last as long as he has
is a tribute, probably, to his offseason work program and how he
goes about the game. He’s a kid that loves to play and he’s kept
himself in good shape.”

Indianapolis hopes to have wide receiver Donte Moncrief back to
face the Chiefs. He has missed the last five games with a shoulder
injury. Moncrief returned to practice this week.

But it is Luck that makes the Colts go.

“He’s playing well … making great decisions,” Pagano said. “He’s
taking what the defense is giving him. He’s spreading the ball
around, hitting the check-downs, extending plays when he has to
extend plays and finding guys down the field. He is preparing
extremely well like he always has. He is playing at a high level
right now.”

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