KANSAS CITY – The unthinkable at the beginning of the season would now happen if a similarly shocking thing didn’t happen on Sunday.
With two games left the Colts need just one victory to advance to the post-season and complete an unprecedented campaign in a year viewed as the start of a rebuilding project. One of those chances on Sunday came against the Chiefs, who have just two wins in 14 games and managed just seven first downs in a loss the previous week to the Raiders.
On top of that, head coach Chuck Pagano is on the verge of returning the sidelines after a three-month battle with Leukemia.
While this certain scenario took a bit of time to come together, the Colts were able to outlast the upstart Chiefs to pick up a win Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. In victory the Colts clinched a spot in the 2012 NFL Playoffs as their record improved to 10-5.
Quarterback Andrew Luck, who broke the NFL rookie record for passing yardage in the season on a second quarter completion, hit Reggie Wayne for the game-winning touchdown with 4:12 to go to get the spot in the post-season.
To start off the scoring, however, the Colts turned to their defense and mid-season pick up Darius Butler. In the first quarter the cornerback stepped in front of a Brady Quinn pass and took it 32-yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0. With Luck and the offense a bit sluggish, however, Kansas City was able to stay close and pulled to within four later in the quarter when Ryan Succop hit a 47-yard field goal.
A similar situation developed in the second quarter as the Colts struggled to move the ball but Kansas City couldn’t respond. The Colts would muster up points thanks to Adam Vinatieri, who first booted a 48-yard field goal early in the quarter to push the lead back to seven.
Once again the defense helped to produce points in the final two minutes when Joe Lefeged recovered a Chiefs fumble deep in Colts territory. Luck would drive the team 60 yards-including the yardage record-breaking throw to Hilton-to set up Vinatieri for a 36-yard kick to make it 13-3 at the break.
Kansas City’s rushing offense came alive immediately in the second half as Jamaal Charles broke an 86-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter to cut the lead to 13-10. Another rushing-aided drive later in the quarter led to a second Succop field goal of the game to tie things up at 13.
A dormant Colts offense finally awoke in the closing minutes of the game as Luck found rhythm in the passing game in a 13-play 73 yard drive. Luck put the Colts ahead with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Wayne to give the team their first touchdown of the contest and the lead again.
The Colts would make a defensive stop and then seal the game on a long third-down run by Vick Ballard to lock up the win and their place in the post-season