Chiefs rush to another loss
Big game for Charles in defeat
Monday, December 24, 2012
KANSAS CITY — Jamaal Charles had another game to remember in a season the Chiefs would love to forget.
The quick, elusive running back had 226 yards and a touchdown Sunday, etching his name in history while helping Kansas City rally in the second half against Indianapolis.
Charles was powerless late in the fourth quarter, though, when he watched from the sideline as Andrew Luck led the Colts downfield. The rookie’s go-ahead touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne gave Indianapolis a 20-13 victory and a berth in the playoffs.
“It hurts that we lost the game. We fought,” said Charles, whose 86-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half helped Kansas City forge a tie.
“I think what hurt us was the turnovers,” Charles said. “I turned the ball over, we threw two interceptions and that’s what killed us. If we didn’t have any turnovers, we probably would have won the game. It was frustrating because it’s been going on the whole year.”
The Chiefs (2-13) certainly haven’t had many reasons to celebrate this season.
Their offense has been historically inept, they’ve encountered off-the-field tragedy unlike anything the NFL has ever experienced, and they finished 1-7 at Arrowhead Stadium to match the worst home record in the history of the once-proud franchise.
“You don’t win if you do the things that cause you to lose,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said, “and we do things that cause us to lose.”
His fumble aside, Charles nearly did enough to help the Chiefs win.
He had his second 200-yard game of the season, and the third of his career, one week after gaining 10 yards on nine carries against Oakland. And he joined Chris Johnson and Barry Sanders as the only players with three runs of 80-plus in a season.
“Jamaal is the best player on our team,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “He’s very, very explosive. You can stop him for negative-2 and then the next play he can go for 80.”
Peyton Hillis added 101 yards rushing for the Chiefs, who totaled 352 yards on the ground — and became the first team in NFL history to lose while rushing for 350 or more.
Brady Quinn was a big reason why, going 10-of-22 for 162 yards with two interceptions.
“I fully take responsibility and blame for this game,” he said before even taking a question in his postgame news conference. “Without a doubt, this is on me, 100 percent.”
Just like the Colts’ victory was on Luck’s shoulders. He finished with 205 yards passing to break Cam Newton’s year-old rookie record of 4,051 yards in a season, and extended his own rookie record for fourth-quarter comebacks to seven.
The Colts’ defense stuffed Quinn on fourth-and-inches at the Kansas City 27, and Luck calmly led them downfield in the closing minutes. He completed a key third-down pass to T.Y. Hilton and a couple of long throws to Wayne before his go-ahead TD pass.
“We’re very glad to know that we’ll be in the postseason,” Luck said with a smile.
Darius Butler returned an interception 32 yards for the Colts’ other touchdown, helping them to join the Miami Dolphins of 2008 as the only teams in NFL history to win at least 10 games after losing 14 or more the previous season.
Most of those wins have come under interim coach Bruce Arians, who has filled in admirably while Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for leukemia. Pagano could rejoin the Colts today and coach for the first time since September in their regular-season finale against Houston.
“Mission accomplished. That’s all I can say. It’s a fantastic feeling,” Arians said.
Things looked good for the Colts right from the start.
On the Chiefs’ fifth offensive play, Quinn threw woefully behind Dexter McCluster and Butler picked off the pass in stride, taking it untouched to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Kansas City managed to get a field goal out of Ryan Succop, but he missed his next try and the Colts went the other direction to set up the first of Adam Vinatieri’s two field goals.
Charles fumbled in the red zone later in the second quarter, and that gave the Colts enough time to get to Vinatieri’s range for a 36-yard field goal and a 13-3 halftime lead.
Charles electrified a sparse crowd on the first play of the second half, when he angled to the left and then found room down the sideline, cutting back toward the middle of the field and then winning a footrace with the Indianapolis defense for an 86-yard touchdown run.
The Chiefs were in position to take the lead later in the quarter, but Quinn was picked off by Vontae Davis in the end zone. The defense forced a three-and-out and Kansas City was moving again before getting Succop’s tying 47-yard field goal.
The Chiefs got the ball back again late in the fourth quarter, but Quinn was stuffed on a quarterback sneak, and that gave Luck and the Colts time to decide the game.
“Whenever teams go for it on fourth down, the defense takes it personal,” the Colts’ Dwight Freeney said. “It was surprising that they went for the sneak.”
Notes: Chiefs WR Terrance Copper (left knee) and DT Tyson Jackson (left foot) left with injuries. ... The last time the Chiefs had two running backs go for more than 100 yards rushing in the same game was Oct. 7, 1991, when Christian Okoye and Harvey Williams did it against Buffalo.
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