The Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) picked up their third consecutive win on Sunday with their 30-14 victory over the Indianapolis Colts (3-5) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
It was the third straight week that the Chiefs had faced one of the NFL's most potent offenses, but once again, the defense stepped up and held a Colts offense that was averaging 28 points per game and ranked fourth in the NFL in that category, to their lowest output of the season with just 14 points.
Two weeks ago against the Raiders, who were ranked eighth in the league by averaging 26.4 points per game, the Chiefs held them to just 10 points. Last week against the New Orleans Saints, who were averaging 29.3 points per game and ranked No. 3 in the NFL, the defense allowed just 21 points.
There were several standout performances on both sides of the ball.
Here are 11 observations from Sunday's game:
- Alex Smith leaves early after hard hit, comes back, leaves again
Just a few minutes into the game and with the Chiefs moving deep into Colts territory, quarterback Alex Smith took a hard hit as he slid to the ground and was taken out of the game and evaluated for a concussion.
Prior to being taken out, Smith had completed 3 of 6 for 45 yards with all of the completions going to tight end Travis Kelce.
Foles entered the game on second-and-10 from the Colts 22-yard line just four minutes into the game, and after a run up the middle from Spencer Ware went for 7 yards, Foles' third-down pass attempt to Jeremy Maclin fell incomplete.
Cairo Santos came in and hit from 33 yards to give the Chiefs an early 3-0 lead.
Smith returned to the game early in the second quarter after passing the concussion protocol with "flying colors," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game, but he was dealing with a lacerated ear.
Smith would leave once again midway through the third quarter when Colts defender Clayton Geathers pushed Smith's head into the ground as he slid on a short run.
Smith was taken out with a concussion and did not return.
- Nick Foles played well in place of Smith
It wasn't the easiest of situations for Foles to step in and play on Sunday, but he did a phenomenal job leading the Chiefs offense in place of Smith, who left two different times during the game.
Reid said after the game that he liked that Foles "wasn't shy" and came in slinging it around.
Foles finished the game 16 of 22 for 223 yards and two touchdowns, showing a nice a touch on some deep balls and command of an offense that showed exactly why general manager John Dorsey and company brought him in before the season began.
Foles finished the game with four completions of 28 yards or more, which went to three different receivers. He was brought in for moments like Sunday, when he had to step in and play well enough to help the Chiefs win a big game on the road, which they did.
- Linebacker Dee Ford puts together a good day
It's going to be a battle between his performances last year at home against the San Diego Chargers, and what he was able to do on Sunday against the Colts, but linebacker Dee Ford finished Sunday's game with one of the best performances of his career with 3.5 sacks on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
It was the kind of day the Chiefs defense was waiting for, and needed, from Ford on Sunday.
Coming into the game, there was reason to believe Ford could be in line to make some plays, as Luck had been sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL. The Chiefs defense, which had just eight sacks total headed into Sunday's game, finished with six on the day.
Ford's 3.5 sacks doubled his season total and shattered his career best, which was set last year with 4.0.
- Travis Kelce gets hot early, scores on pass from Foles
Just nine minutes into Sunday's game, Kelce already had four receptions for 61 yards, which is more than he had in three of his games this season.
Smith found him three times for 45 yards, and Foles' first completion was a 16-yarder to Kelce inside the red zone early in the game.
On Foles' second offensive drive, he found Kelce across the middle for a 14-yard touchdown to finish off a six-play, 80 yard scoring drive that took just 3:28 off the clock.
Kelce finished the first half with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, which surpassed his season-best performance that came against the New York Jets, when he finished with six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Kelce finished with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
- Foles goes deep to Tyreek Hill for 49 yards, then finds him again for 34-yard touchdown
On the first play of his second drive, Foles went deep down the middle to rookie speedster Tyreek Hill, who made a contested catch for a gain of 49 yards. The ball was a bit underthrown and Hill stopped his momentum and waited for it before jumping up with a defender draped on him to make the catch.
It's the second time in as many weeks that Hill has hauled in a deep pass down the field, as his 38-yard touchdown reception last week against the Saints was voted by fans as the best play of that game.
Just five plays later, Foles found Kelce for the 14-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs an early 10-0 lead.
Then, midway through the third quarter and with the Chiefs leading 17-7, Foles, who had just entered the game for Smith for the second time, found Hill deep down the left sideline on what looked to be a blown coverage for the 34-yard touchdown strike.
Hill finished with five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
- Phillip Gaines' interception turns into a Jeremy Maclin touchdown for the Chiefs
With the Chiefs holding a 10-7 lead late in the first half, Luck and the Colts were attempting to move the ball quickly into scoring position with 42 seconds remaining in the half.
On Luck's first-down pass, cornerback Phillip Gaines made a great break on the ball and got his body in front of the receiver and intercepted the pass in front of the Colts sideline, which gave the Chiefs offense the ball at the 36-yard line.
This time, the Chiefs would take advantage of a Colts mistake.
After a first-down pass to running back Spencer Ware on a quick screen across the middle went for 23 yards, Smith found Jeremy Maclin for 13 yards in the back corner of the end zone just two plays later, giving the Chiefs a 17-7 lead.
It was Maclin's first catch of the day and couldn't have come at a better time.
It was a huge momentum swing for the Chiefs and it began with Gaines' clutch interception.
- Spencer Ware and Parker Ehinger leave the game early with injuries
Headed into Sunday's game, the Chiefs only had two running backs—Charcandrick West and Ware—active because Jamaal Charles was ruled out as he continues to work his way back from the knee injury he suffered last year.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game that Charles is going to see Dr. James Andrews early this week to get his knee looked at again.
Early in the second half, Ware was ruled out of the game with a concussion, which left West as the only running back left.
West, who took some shots of his own on Sunday, carried the ball 14 times for 52 yards.
Rookie offensive lineman Parker Ehinger was ruled out for the game with a knee injury suffered early in the second half. Zach Fulton stepped in at left guard.
- Kelce's catch late in third quarter overturned after Colts challenge
In what was one of the biggest plays of the game, Kelce made a fantastic over-the-shoulder catch on a pass from Foles late in the third quarter and looked to take a few steps before losing control of the ball before he got to the ground.
The play would have given the Chiefs first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, but instead, the play was overturned and forced a third down from the 38-yard line.
On that third-down play, Colts linebacker Erik Walden picked up his sixth sack of the year, and it resulted in a loss of 10 yards and forced the Chiefs to punt it back to the Colts, who were trailing 24-14 at the time.
- Chris Jones picks up the first sack of his career at a great time
It seemed as if some of the momentum had moved back to the way of the Colts early in the fourth quarter after the overturned play to Kelce and subsequent sack and punt, which is why on the Colts next offensive possession, the sack on second down by rookie defensive lineman Chris Jones ended any real chance of something happening for the Colts on that drive.
It was one of the bigger plays in the game. Jones showed all of what makes him such an intriguing young player on that play, and it was also the first sack of his young career.
The Colts were then forced to punt it to Hill after a third-down scramble by Luck came up short of a first down, and Hill returned it 28 yards to midfield.
The Chiefs then drove it 46 yards on 10 plays in a little over five minutes, as Cairo Santos hit from 22 yards to give the Chiefs a 27-14 lead with 8:04 remaining in the game.
With less than two minutes remaining, Jones also forced a holding penalty on a play that would have counted as a touchdown as Andrew Luck found receiver Donte Moncrief deep down the field for the score.
Jones' pressure and ability to beat his man wiped away a score that would have made the final two minutes of the game a little more interesting.
- Demetrius Harris makes ridiculous catch inside the red zone
It's worth noting that on that offensive drive by the Chiefs to set up that Santos field goal, tight end Demetrius Harris made one of the best catches you'll see all year as he used every bit of his tall, lengthy frame and athleticism to snag the ball right out of the air for a gain of 12 yards, which set up the Chiefs at first-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
- Chiefs defense stands tall against Luck and Colts passing game
He's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but the Chiefs defense did a fantastic job on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on Sunday.
Coming into the game, Luck had attempted the second-most passes of any quarterback in the league. There was no secret as to what the Colts wanted to do offensively.
Luck finished 19 of 35 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The 210 yards was the second-lowest output of Luck's season and the interception was only the fifth of his season in more than 250 passing attempts.
Luck's top target, receiver T.Y. Hilton, who ranked third in the NFL with 689 yards receiving coming into the game, didn't have a catch until there was less than two minutes remaining.
Hilton finished with one reception for 20 yards.
The leading Colts receiver on the day was Donte Moncrief, who finished with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs finished with four players having more than 41 yards receiving on Sunday (Kelce-101, Hill-98, Conley-59 and Maclin-43).
Photos from the Chiefs Week 8 matchup against the Colts