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Indy Take Five Rewind

Posted Oct 10, 2011

Rewinding five pre-game focus points

The 21-year losing streak in Indianapolis has come to an end! Okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but the Chiefs had never won in Indianapolis prior to Sunday’s 28-24 comeback victory over the Colts.

Kansas City is now 1-5 all-time at Indy.

Let’s rewind our five pre-game focus points. As always, pre-game text is in italics with post-game reaction in bold.

Indy Take Five Rewind

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Chiefs have never won in Indianapolis. It’s a five-game losing streak that spans three decades. The latest installment was a 19-9 loss last season in Kansas City’s first visit to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Chiefs All-Time In Indy (0-5)

10/10/10 – L, 19-9 (Three Succop FGs; McGraw INT)

11/18/07 – L, 13-10 (Missed FG fest)

1/6/07 – L, 23-8 (Playoff Game; Indy 435 total yards, KC 126)

11/9/99 – L, 25-17 (Colts score final 12 points)

10/7/90 – L, 23-19 (Colts score 13 fourth quarter points)

Does the winless streak end this Sunday? Let’s Take Five…

Indy Take Five

1)      Peyton Painter

Peyton Manning is out and Curtis Painter is in. The second-year pro will make his second career start on Sunday against the Chiefs. He’s 0-1 as a starter, completing 13-of-30 passes for 281 yards with two touchdowns in a 24-17 loss to the Buccaneers last Monday night in Tampa Bay.

Whether it’s Peyton or Painter doesn’t particularly matter. The end game is the same.

The Chiefs must disguise coverage and apply pressure to keep the quarterback from gaining confidence in a very difficult environment for road teams to play. Painter has already gotten the first-start nerves out of his system and will operate in a much friendlier atmosphere this weekend.

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has a history of frustrating Manning with unique defensive looks and he’ll need something up his sleeve to help rattle an inexperienced Colts quarterback.

If it weren’t for the long blond hair flowing out the back of Painter’s helmet, it might have been difficult to decipher the second-year quarterback from the 11-time Pro Bowl selection.

Painter was every bit as good as Manning in the first half, completing 12-of-17 passes for 237 yards and two TDs. Carrying a 152.2 quarterback rating into intermission, Painter delivered effective passes all over the field as the Chiefs failed to apply any type of pressure.

In the second half, Painter’s effectiveness came to a grinding halt. Credit the Chiefs offense for possessing the football all but three minutes of the third quarter to help cool off Painter. He only attempted two third quarter passes, throwing both incomplete on the final two plays of the quarter.

The Chiefs never sacked Painter, but applied enough pressure in the fourth quarter to keep the inexperienced quarterback uncomfortable. Painter was just 3-of-10 for 40 yards in the second half.

2)      Tamba’s Sidekick

Who’s going to help Tamba Hali apply pressure Sunday afternoon?

The Chiefs have gotten pass rush pressure in spurts – Tyson Jackson aided a sack last week, Javier Arenas has had several nice blitzes from cornerback and Wallace Gilberry has generated some heat in sub-package sets - but Hali has been the only consistent pass rusher for Kansas City this season.

With a young quarterback still feeling his way as an NFL starter, this would be an optimal week to gain heat from the opposite edge. Thus far, Hali is the only outside linebacker to record even one quarterback pressure.

We saw a shakeup at outside linebacker Sunday afternoon. After playing just one defensive snap over the past two games combined, Andy Studebaker drew the starting assignment opposite Hali in base personnel. Justin Houston was part of nickel personnel and Cameron Sheffield was the odd man out.

The Chiefs likely made this move in hopes of making Houston more effective in pass-rush situations. With less snaps to play, the rookie could focus his efforts on rekindling the explosiveness off the edge we saw during preseason play.

Houston saved his first quarterback hurry of the season for an optimal time, rushing Painter into a third-down incompletion with 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. The pressure forced a punt and the Chiefs took their first lead on the ensuing offensive possession.

3)      Two-Game Improvement

Which direction do the Chiefs go to start the second quarter of the season? The team was a split personality in the first quarter.

Games three and four looked nothing like games one and two. Over the last two weeks, the Chiefs have improved in nearly every statistical category. Points scored, total yards, passing yards, first downs, giveaways, yards allowed, first downs allowed, sacks…you name it and the Chiefs have likely improved the numbers from the first two games to the last two games.

What is game five going to look like? Games one and two, or games three and four?

Half and half? Quarters one and two looked a lot like games one and two, while quarters three and four looked a lot like games three and four. Whatever works…the Chiefs showed a lot of resolve for the second straight week and are now in a position to get back to .500.

4)      Field Position Football

The Chiefs did a much better job of putting the defense in manageable situations last week against the Vikings. Minnesota’s average starting position was its own 24-yard line and only one offensive position began inside Kansas City territory.

This was a stark contrast to previous weeks where, at one time, more than a third of opponents’ drives were beginning in Chiefs territory.

Indianapolis has an average starting position at its own 25.5-yard line (28th in the NFL) and allows its opponents to start at the 32.7-yard line (31st in the NFL). At Lucas Oil Stadium, opponents are starting their drives at the 33.7-yard line on average.

These are trends the Chiefs must take advantage of.

It’s amazing what taking care of the football can do for the Kansas City Chiefs.

For the second straight week the Chiefs didn’t turn the football over and, for the second straight week, they walked away victorious. If it weren’t for a late-game interception in San Diego, the Chiefs would be on a three-game run of mistake-free football.

No turnovers certainly played a factor in winning the field position battle, especially with a punter like Dustin Colquitt.

Indianapolis’ average starting field position was its own 20-yard line and the Colts never began an offensive set in Chiefs territory. Indy’s best starting field position of the game was its own 33-yard line.

5)      Indy Run-Run?

Curtis Painter went to the air like Peyton Manning last week, but this may not be the typical Indy offensive game plan we’ve all grown to know over the past decade. Todd Haley believes Joseph Addai is one of the more underrated backs in the NFL and I happen to share that opinion as well.

The Colts still have plenty of explosive options in the passing game with Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if Indy relied on the steady legs of Addai with a young quarterback under center.

Kansas City’s defense rallied last week to corral All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson. A similar performance against Addai would make the Colts one-dimensional and likely keep them winless.

Losing Addai in the first quarter to a right hamstring injury was a big blow for the Colts offense, especially once Indianapolis was trying to protect a lead.

Backup running back Delone Carter averaged just 1.8 yards per carry. Third-stringer Donald Brown fared a little better, but the Colts finished with just 78 rushing yards on 27 attempts.

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