Another year, another disappointment for Andy Reid, and another disappointment for the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s been twenty years since the Chiefs won a playoff game, and Andy is still without an illusive Super Bowl ring as a head coach. It looked like Kansas City had this one in the bag, but Andrew Luck, Chuck Pagano, and the Indianapolis Colts did not think today was a good day to die. It was a big boy win for Andrew the Giant, and his biggest since being drafted 1st overall out of Stanford less than two years ago.
Kansas City fell victim to the injury bug. Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs’ best player, went down in the first possession of the game with a concussion and never came back. In the second half, they lost Charles’ replacement, backup running back Knile Davis to a knee injury. On defense they lost a lot of skill and toughness in the form of Brandon Flowers (possible concussion) and Justin Houston (knee/leg). The first play after Houston’s injury late in the 4th quarter, Andrew luck tied it up with a long touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton. Alex Smith tried to get the Chiefs down the field, but the drive fell short when Dwayne Bowe could not stay in bounds on 4th and 11.
In the first half, before the injuries really started to pile up for Kansas City, the Chiefs were dominating the game. Their offense was moving the ball, the defense was forcing Andrew Luck and blockbuster trade acquisition Trent Richardson to make mistakes. I was thinking about writing an article comparing Andrew Luck to his predecessor, Peyton Manning, and not for the good reasons. Sure, they were both drafted first overall by the Colts, neither were subject to the Heisman Curse, as they were both snubbed for college football’s highest honor, and Luck was considered the best quarterback prospect the NFL had seen since Peyton Manning, but there was also the ineptitude they both shared. Manning has been a one-and-done in the playoffs more often than not in his career, and Andrew Luck suffered the same fate in his first NFL January last year. The Colts were the first stop in the Ray Lewis Farewell Tour, before the Baltimore Ravens knocked off Manning’s Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. If Luck lost his second career playoff game, this time at home, professional football pundits and amateur bloggers alike would start asking those kinds of questions they way I do about Andy Reid.
The most ridiculous moment of the game came in the 3rd quarter when Luck had driven the Colts inside the 10 yard line. Luck handed the ball to former UConn running back Donald Brown, who coughed up the ball after being drilled by Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry. Berry was unable to recover the football and it bounced right back to Andrew Luck. Luck could have just played it safe and fallen on the ball, but instead used his incredible football instincts, transformed himself into a fearless, bulldozing fullback, and pummeled his way into the end zone. It all happened so fast. It was one of those plays that you need to watch the replay two or three more times just to make sure you saw what you saw. If I had been a fan of one of the teams in the game, my heart would have been racing after that ten second emotional roller coaster.
The season is over, but Chiefs fans should be happy about how this season went. Andy Reid is a good coach, and they have a lot of young talent. This season was a tremendous turnaround after going 2-14 last season, and I expect them to get better in the coming years. They have a core they can build around with Smith, Charles, Dwayne Bowe, and Eric Berry. The future of the Kansas City Chiefs looks a lot better than it did when they hired Reid one year ago today.
The Colts will play next week in either New England or Denver, depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s game between the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals, but either way it will be a showdown between two great QBs–one old, one young. Whether it’s Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, it will be a great story. This is the best time of year for football, and we haven’t even gotten to the outdoor playoff games yet!