In what was widely seen as a possibility trap game for the 2-0 Kansas City Chiefs taking on the winless Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs seemed to fall into the trap – falling to the Colts 20-17.
From start to finish, the Chiefs’ game was riddled with mistakes, errors and untimely penalties. When so many things go wrong, there are many people who can bear the blame; surely there is enough finger pointing for everyone.
Many will watch the horrendous play of the entire special teams unit – from coordinator Dave Toub’s poor call on the fake field goal to Skyy Moore’s two mental lapses on his punt returns. I understand those who will focus on the curnch time penalty called on All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones that gave Indianapolis the last breath of life it needed to survive. It would even be easy to lock down the feud that seems to be happening between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
All of those things played a role in Kansas City’s loss.
But despite how badly the game was played, it still looked like one of those games the Chiefs would find a way to win – like they have so many times before – but there was one game where I wondered. I said, “Kansas City may not win this game.”
With 10:04 left in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs led 17-13. They were facing third-and-thirteen — and with the offense looking all afternoon, the third-down conversion probably wasn’t as automatic as Chiefs fans have grown accustomed to seeing it.
As the ball was broken, the pressure got to Mahomes – as we had seen throughout the game – but he got up and fired a pass through a narrow window to connect with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who turned it into a 53-yard gain.
It seemed like just the spark the Chiefs needed to put the game away. After a short three-yard run by Jerick McKinnon, the Chiefs faced second and seventh with 8:53 left on the clock. It was the perfect time for the Kansas City stars to make a huge play that would undo all the mistakes the team had made.
Mahomes went down again, delivering a near-perfect strike into the hands of future Hall of Fame tight end Travis Kelce in the end zone. But this time – unlike the heroic stories we’re used to reading about the Mahomes-Kelce connection – the story ended differently.
Kelce dropped the pass. He looked at his hands in disbelief.
Capturing Kelce would have given Kansas City a two-point lead that the team likely could have maintained. But even without the touchdown, the Chiefs were clearly within goal range. Two plays later, however, substitute placekicker Matt Ammendola was wide left on a 34-yard attempt that would have given the Chiefs a seven-point lead.
The bottom line
Beginner returns miss punts and backup kickers miss kicks — but All-Pro tight ends don’t normally drop routine touchdown catches. This turned out to be the one mistake the Chiefs simply couldn’t overcome.
Although it is a difficult defeat, it is only one. If we haven’t learned anything else about these Chiefs players over the past few years, it’s that they always seem to find their place and bounce back.
Hopefully this turns out to be an early wake-up call – and the Chiefs won’t fall for it. Next trap.