INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – They share a history, one that will be rehashed ad nauseam in the coming days.
Yes, it will be enough to make any – every – Kansas City Chiefs’ fan ill.
For a fifth time, the paths of the Indianapolis Colts and Chiefs cross in the playoffs. The ugly truth for Kansas City: it’s 0-4 against the Colts, including 0-2 in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.
That latter is a historical tidbit that demands perspective and a few minutes to digest. Consider the Colts have won as many playoff games (2) as have the Chiefs – ever – at Arrowhead.
And that’s the site of the latest encounter.
On the strength of their 21-7 domination of Houston Saturday in an AFC wild-card match-up, the white-hot Colts move on to round 2 and a divisional meeting with the Chiefs.
The Colts are the AFC’s No. 6 seed, but have won 10 of their last 11 games and are 11-6 behind the MVP-level play of Andrew Luck and a swarming, smothering defense.
The Chiefs earned the conference’s top seed and a first-round bye with their 12-4 record. Their defense has been among the NFL’s worst all season – 31st in yards allowed (405.5) and 24th in points (26.3) – but their offense has been state-of-the-art with Patrick Mahomes at the wheel.
Mahomes set franchise records with 50 touchdown passes and 5,097 yards and the Chiefs followed his lead by leading the NFL in total offense (425.6 yards per game) and scoring (35.3). The points are a franchise record and third-highest total in NFL history.
Another interesting subplot will be Chris Ballard’s return to Kansas City. The Colts’ general manager was with the Chiefs from 2013-17, the last two years as their director of football operations.
But about that playoff history.
The Chiefs won Super Bowl IV after the 1969 season, but little since. They’re 9-18 overall in the postseason, and are 1-11 in their last 12 games. They’ve lost their last six at Arrowhead Stadium with the Colts accounting for two. They’re 1-5 under coach Andy Reid, 0-2 at home.
“That’s behind us. That’s old news,’’ linebacker Justin Houston said. “You don’t focus on the past. Don’t let the past poison your future.’’
And this from fullback Anthony Sherman: “The past doesn’t mean anything. Those other games? They don’t mean anything. This is a whole new team. We can’t worry about those other teams did.’’
But we can review that history with the Colts. Here’s a quick stroll down memory lane:
Round: Wild card
Site: Lucas Oil Stadium
Result: Colts 45, Chiefs 44
How it happened: Luck orchestrated the second-largest comeback in postseason history. The Colts trailed 31-10 at the half, then fell into a 38-10 hold Luck suffered an interception on the first play of the third quarter and the Chiefs capitalized with a touchdown.
Over the game’s final 28 minutes, 39 seconds, Luck and T.Y. Hilton had their way with a Chiefs’ defense that lost several key players with injuries. Luck completed 17-of-23 passes for 314 yards with touchdowns to Coby Fleener (12 yards) and Hilton (64). He also scooped up a Donald Brown fumble and dove into the end zone for a TD that narrowed Kansas City’s lead to 41-38. Hilton had 7 catches for 140 yards and a 64-yard TD on a deep post with 4:21 to play that gave the Colts their only lead of the game. Hilton finished with 13 catches and 224 yards, both team playoff records.
Josh Gordy sealed things by defending a fourth-and-11 pass to Dwayne Bowe in the closing minutes.
Round: Wild card
Site: RCA Dome
Result: Colts 23, Chiefs 8
How it happened: The first step on the Colts’ journey to a Super Bowl XLI win over the Chicago Bears involved stepping all over the Larry Johnson-led Chiefs. Johnson set a franchise record with 1,789 rushing yards and led the NFL with 416 attempts.
The overriding objective of the Colts’ maligned defense – 21st overall, 32nd against the run – was to neutralize the Chiefs’ primary weapon. Done. Johnson was limited to 32 yards on 13 carries and Kansas City managed just 126 total yards and 7 first downs.
Credit the return of safety Bob Sanders and linebacker Rob Morris to the lineup.
The Colts’ offense did the rest. Peyton Manning passed for 268 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions, and rookie Joseph Addai rushed 25 times for 122 yards.
Site: Arrowhead Stadium
Result: Colts 38, Chiefs 31
How it happened: In a blur, that’s how. The Colts and Chiefs combined for 842 total yards, 51 first downs and zero punts. Manning passed for 304 yards and touchdowns to Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley and – yes – fullback Tom Lopienski. Edgerrin James punished the Chiefs for 125 yards and two TDs. The Chiefs countered with Priest Holmes’ 176 rushing yards and Dante Hall’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Site: Arrowhead Stadium
Result: Colts 10, Chiefs 7
How it happened: It remains the coldest game in Colts’ history and perhaps the most numbing non-Super Bowl loss for the Chiefs. They were 13-3 and the No. 1 seed. The Colts were 10-7 and fresh off a road upset at San Diego, but double-digit underdogs.
Indy trailed 7-0 early, but pulled off the stunner as Jim Harbaugh hit Floyd Turner with a 5-yard TD in the second quarter and Cary Blanchard converted a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter. Placekicker Lin Elliott became Public Enemy No. 1 in Kansas City by missing three field goals, including a 42-yarder in the closing seconds that would have sent the game into overtime.
Not surprisingly considering the conditions, the Colts’ defense flexed its muscles. It limited the Chiefs to 281 total yards and got interceptions from Ashley Ambrose, Eugene Daniel and Quentin Coryatt.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.