We should have remembered that the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts only play weird games, especially when they’re in Indianapolis. This one was sloppy and poorly executed from the first punt to running the clock at the end. The Chiefs had so many chances to salt this one and found incredible ways to botch them – especially in the all-important third phase.
Here are a few who stood out in a match we hope will soon be forgotten.
To note: The application of the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to pass judgment on the skill or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to rate their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.
Darius Harris: Pushed into action due to the suspension of linebacker Willie Gay, Harris had a pretty big game, leading the team with 13 tackles. Harris was strong against the run all afternoon, helping to contain the Colts’ only real offensive weapon — running back Jonathan Taylor — to less than 100 total yards. Kansas City fans should take comfort in knowing that the team has a potentially strong backup that can get that defense through three more games.
Nick Bolton: The best defensive player on the field was the man paired with Harris. Bolton was a monster against the Colts, showing he could be an effective blitzer with two sacks from Colts quarterback Matt Ryan. But perhaps his most impressive play was stopping Taylor in the air (and rolling him back) on an important fourth down play to give the Chiefs offense a chance.
The Jarius Sneed: Seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery are some of the stats Sneed racked up on Sunday. But he was inches away from a few other massive plays that could have completely changed the game. The first was on the strip-sack he caused. Sneed (and a few of his teammates) had the chance to get to football and potentially score. Then when he did recovering another fumble (caused by Carlos Dunlap), Sneed was only one tackle away from dismissing it for six. Both of those plays turned out to get the Kansas City offense to score, so neither play was a true blemish on Sneed’s excellent day. But those two plays — plus a dive attempt on a fourth-quarter pass — would have put Sneed in weekly reward territory.
Ju Ju Smith-Schuster: The team’s presumptive No. 1 receiver caught five of eight targets for 89 yards. His 53-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter was the longest offensive play of the day for both teams. It was good to see quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide player build on their chemistry and confidence by moving the chains on a big play. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.
Skyy Moore: Moore’s failed punt turned a defensive triple into an easy Indianapolis touchdown. On his next punt return, he chose not to field it inside the 10-yard line. The Colts shot him down the one-foot line. This time his play led to a three-and-out for the Kansas City offense. The rookie looked lost on punt returns, seemingly struggling to locate the ball in the air (and on the ground). When a player struggles like Moore, chief Andy Reid will usually try to give him more opportunities right away. It didn’t happen on Sunday. Maybe we’ll see that in week 4.
Rashad Fenton: The Colts didn’t have much success on offense, especially in the first half. But when they got a pass, it was often against the fourth-year cornerback. Much like the rest of the Chiefs’ young defense has been playing, it looks like Fenton could be the guy being harassed.
All special teams unit: Apart from a punt they managed to make inside the 5-yard line, Dave Toub’s group did almost nothing right; Moore’s punt-returning adventures were just the beginning. A missed extra point, a missed field goal, a sloppy false field goal and a missed kickoff return were all part of a day marred by poor decisions and poor execution. Given the spots on the roster and the focus on the Toub guys, there’s really no excuse for them to be this bad, even for a week.
The offensive line: Of course… Mahomes has only been fired once. But given the adversary, he was under duress way too. It was the failure of the racing game, however, that really stood out. The Chiefs running backs combined for 29 rushing yards, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire somehow finding himself without yards at all – although he had a touchdown and solid receiving work. This should have been an opponent that the Chiefs offensive line (and the entire team) could have handled. There were widespread issues in this game – and many of them started right from the start.