The Morning After: Indianapolis

Posted Oct 9, 2011

Chiefs carrying effective mindset into bye week

INDIANAPOLIS, IN –A poor first half showing had Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel out of character inside the visiting locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium. Usually an even-keeled and positive presence, Crennel had some choice words for Chiefs defenders at halftime of Sunday’s game.

The Chiefs defense was being torched. Curtis Painter looked more like Peyton Manning and was well on his way to ridiculous day with 237 passing yards and two TDs at the game’s midway point. Blown coverage, missed tackles and absolutely no pressure on the quarterback were just the start of Kansas City’s defensive lowlights.

At one point late in the second quarter, a deafening roar echoed throughout the crowd during a television timeout. Fantasy leaders were being displayed on the jumbo boards and Painter was shown atop the list of NFL quarterbacks. Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne were the league’s top-producers at wide receiver.

It was a party in Indianapolis. The Colts looked primed for their first victory of the season.

“Coach RAC came in and just got on us,” safety Kendrick Lewis said. “He just let it all out and said some things I don’t want to (repeat), but he showed us the fight that he wanted us to come out and play with. We built on that and came out with fire.”

Whatever Crennel said to the defense, it worked. The Chiefs posted a second half shutout as the offense scored the game’s final 21 points to complete a 28-24 comeback victory over the Colts.

Kansas City limited Indianapolis to just 64 second half yards.

“It kind of got out of our hand in the start, especially from a defensive point of view,” LB Derrick Johnson said. “It didn’t look like we could stop them. In the second half we did. The offense continued their success by moving the ball, and it was a team win.”

Twice the Chiefs faced 17-point deficits, trailing Indianapolis 17-0 and again at 24-7.

Offensively, the Chiefs started the first half slowly as well. Kansas City punted on its first four possessions before notching touchdowns on the four of its final six offensive drives.

“It’s four quarters of football,” said WR Steve Breaston, who finished the day with two touchdown receptions. “You can go to the other locker room and say, ‘how can you be so bad in the second half?’ Like I said in this league it’s four quarters of football.

“Maybe the first couple games we didn’t play so good, but I think this team is progressing on our mistakes. We are taking advantage of our opportunities, and the thing now is the belief in that someone is going to make a play out there, whether it’s at the running back position, outside, Matt (Cassel) throwing the ball, or whether it’s on defense. I think we are developing a confidence, and even when we are down we are staying in games.”

This game looked like a repeat of lopsided losses to Buffalo and Detroit where the bleeding started early and never stopped, but the Chiefs biggest play-makers took hold of the reigns and showed no signs of self-doubt for a second consecutive week.

Cassel threw for four touchdown passes in perhaps his most efficient performance as an NFL quarterback. Two of those touchdown connections went Dwayne Bowe, who delivered the type of performance that left his teammates wide-eyed at times.

“My favorite was the one where he stayed with it and laid out,” Breaston said. “He could have easily given up on it since he got the (pass interference), but he stayed with it. We didn’t get the (pass interference) we got the touchdown. Those are the types of plays that you want to make. You don’t want to settle for being at the one-yard line and getting stopped. It’s a great play by Dwayne.”

“Dwayne continues to make unbelievable plays,” Cassel said. “He’s a guy that I trust with all my heart and the ball.”

In addition to Bowe and Breaston, Keary Colbert delivered two clutch third-down receptions that kept drives alive. Jackie Battle’s first career 100-yard rushing performance wore down the Colts defense and helped cool off Painter, who was only able to attempt two passes in the third quarter because Kansas City possessed the football for all but three minutes.

“I knew that we could (come back) if we just got guys to realize the importance of sticking to it, keep grinding, keep chopping wood, whatever the sayings are,” head coach Todd Haley said. “A lot of guys were saying the same thing. Just keep doing your job, keep sticking with your teammates, keep encouraging and don’t have any doubt in the outcome.”

There appears to be complete buy-in across the roster as Haley had the words “No Doubt” written in large black letters on grease boards inside Kansas City’s locker room for the second consecutive game. Players have been wearing ‘underdogs’ t-shirts throughout that past two weeks. Haley wears the shirt underneath his jacket on the sideline.

The Chiefs have developed a mindset that seems to be working. The team now has two weeks to prepare for a showdown with the Oakland Raiders, riding a two-game winning streak into the bye week.

Sunday’s win was the type that can rally a football team for the long-haul.

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