Final

Chiefs 8

(9-7, 3-5 away)

Colts 23

(12-4, 8-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

4:30 PM ET, January 6, 2007

 

1 2 3 4 T
KC 0 0 8 08
IND 6 3 7 723

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (IND) - 268 YDS, 1 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: J. Addai (IND) - 25 CAR, 122 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Clark (IND) - 9 REC, 103 YDS

Colts defense elevates game to down Chiefs; Ravens next test

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Peyton Manning knows all about falling apart in the playoffs. Though he struggled early Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts' stunningly stingy defense came to the rescue.

Manning and the Colts beat the inept Kansas City Chiefs 23-8 Saturday, and while the star quarterback's numbers were good -- 30-of-38 for 268 yards -- his performance was mediocre. At least it was for the most prolific passer of his generation.

Elias Says
Joseph Addai
Addai
Joseph Addai ran for 122 yards for the Colts, becoming the first rookie to gain 100 rushing yards in a postseason game since Jamal Lewis did so against the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV following the 2000 season. (Addai's rushing-yards total was the highest by an NFL rookie in a postseason game since Fred Taylor went for 162 yards vs. New England in the 1998 playoffs.)

• Read more Elias Says.

He threw three interceptions, didn't complete a deep pass and, ultimately, was bailed out by his defense.

"You have to keep playing," said Manning, who improved to 4-6 in the playoffs. "Every time you drop back to throw, your goal is to possess the ball on the next play. Three times, I was very poor on that. As soon as it gets you second-guessing, as soon as it gets you gun-shy, that's when you have problems."

The beleaguered Indianapolis defense was so good -- or perhaps more accurately, Kansas City's offense was so bad -- that Manning's miscues didn't stop the AFC South champions from advancing to the next round at Baltimore on Saturday.

"Our defense was awesome today," Manning said. "We made some mistakes and the defense made sure we didn't pay for it."

A defense that yielded 173 yards rushing per game this season allowed only 44 to Pro Bowl back Larry Johnson and the Chiefs.

Kansas City's initial first down came with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter. Indianapolis had four sacks, two by Dwight Freeney, and two interceptions. The Chiefs managed 126 total yards.

"We heard it all about having the worst defense," Freeney said. "Now we can hear this: We have the best run defense in the playoffs."

Meanwhile, Adam Vinatieri made three field goals and rookie Joseph Addai rushed for 122 yards and a TD for the Colts (13-4). Wisely, with Manning unable to throw deep, Indianapolis gave Kansas City (9-8) a steady dose of short passes that wore out the Chiefs.

That was most evident after Kansas City finally woke up and drove 60 yards to a 6-yard touchdown catch by Tony Gonzalez with 8 seconds remaining in the third period. Then the Colts went 71 yards on nine plays, mostly victimizing the Chiefs' linebackers underneath. Reggie Wayne caught a 5-yard TD pass to make it 23-8.

When Bob Sanders intercepted Green's desperate lob with just more than 6 minutes remaining, the Colts could start making travel plans for Baltimore -- the city they left 23 years ago.

"It's a big challenge," Manning said. "Playing Baltimore is tough enough, but to go there -- I think it's one of the tougher places to play. And they've been off a week and are fresh."

Until falling behind 16-0, the Chiefs looked like a team surprised to have made the playoffs, which they did last Sunday with a lot of help from other clubs. Johnson, who rushed for 1,789 yards and 17 TDs this season, was never a factor. He had only 32 yards on 13 carries.

"If we can't do what we do best, it amps them up," Johnson said. "And they certainly got amped up."

And while Manning's favorite receiver, Marvin Harrison, also had little impact, tight end Dallas Clark, in just his second game back from a knee injury, had nine catches for 103 yards.

"The way Kansas City's defense was, there were very few times we'd get a true single coverage outside on Marvin and Reggie," Manning said. "Play action to get the ball downfield was not there. But our running backs did such a great job of getting open and catching the ball and what we call 'going north.'

"Those checkdowns turned into 12-yard gains, and that's a real positive for the offense."

This game took a far different shape than the previous meeting between these clubs.

When Dustin Colquitt punted less than 1½ minutes into the game, it was one more punt than in a 38-31 Indianapolis win three years ago at Kansas City. His 37-yard effort gave the Colts good field position, and they wound up with Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal.

Vinatieri added a 19-yarder to make it 6-0 following a 42-yard hookup on third down between Manning and Harrison on another short pass.

Manning nearly handed Kansas City points when his throw behind Harrison from the Colts 49 went to nemesis Ty Law. He ran to the Indy 9, but again the Chiefs couldn't do anything. Even worse for them, Lawrence Tynes missed the chip-shot field goal, clanging it off the left upright.

Combined with four dropped passes, no first downs -- that's right, none -- and 16 total yards, it made for a futile first half for the Chiefs, who haven't won a postseason game in 13 years.

"We didn't get any rhythm offensively," Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said. "I thought our defense hung in there for the most part, but I think they got a little fatigued."

Law got his ninth career pick of Manning early in the third quarter, but KC went three-and-out again. Edwards, one of Colts coach Tony Dungy's best friends and a former assistant under Dungy, looked perplexed. That look never faded.

Game notes


Law has four more interceptions of Manning than anyone else. ... Dominic Rhodes added 68 yards rushing for the Colts. ... Vinatieri's 50-yard FG tied the club record by Mike Vanderjagt in 2000 ... Previously, the fewest net yards allowed in a playoff game by the Colts was 139 against Cincinnati in 1970, and the fewest yards rushing was when Cleveland had 56 in 1968. ... Chiefs WR Eddie Kennison, who had 53 receptions this season, was shut out.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
KC
IND
1st Downs728
Passing 1st downs
515
Rushing 1st downs
213
1st downs from penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
1-116-12
4th down efficiency
1-20-1
Total Plays4580
Total Yards126435
Yards per play2.85.4
Total Drives1113
Passing82247
Comp-Att
14-2431-39
Yards per pass
2.96.2
Interceptions thrown
23
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-251-5
Rushing44188
Rushing Attempts
1740
Yards per rush
2.64.7
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-22-4
Penalties2-133-40
Turnovers33
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
23
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession20:3739:23

Passing Leaders

KCC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Green14/241074.5124-25
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning30/382687.1131-5
Smith1/1-16-16.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

KCCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson13322.506
Hall2147.008
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Addai251224.9114
Rhodes13685.2025

Receiving Leaders

KCRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson5295.8013
Wilson22914.5024
INDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Clark910311.4021
Harrison24824.0042

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERKCIND
indFG8:46Adam Vinatieri 48 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 39 yds, 4:51
03
indFG2:13Adam Vinatieri 19 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 68 yds, 4:57
06
SECOND QUARTERKCIND
indFG0:02Adam Vinatieri 50 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 33 yds, 0:50
09
THIRD QUARTERKCIND
indTD4:18Joseph Addai, 6 yd run (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 89 yds, 6:56
016
kcTD0:14Tony Gonzalez, 6 yd pass from Trent Green
Drive info: 8 plays, 60 yds, 4:06
616
FOURTH QUARTERKCIND
indTD10:20Reggie Wayne, 5 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 71 yds, 4:52
823