The Kansas City Chiefs scored their fewest points in a game with Patrick Mahomes starting, by a lot. Entering Sunday night’s tilt K.C. had never scored fewer than 26 points under Mahomes. Against the Indianapolis Colts, they score half that, 13.
The Colts earned the 19-13 victory by playing keep-away on offense, and being physical with the Chiefs skill-position players on the outside. The Chiefs had the ball for 22 minutes, 45 seconds in this game, their lowest time of possession in a game under Patrick Mahomes (0-3 in games with Mahomes in which they had less than 25 minutes of possession).
The Indy D slowed K.C. after the first two drives of the game. First two drives: 10 points, 154 yards; Last eight drives: 3 points, 170 yards.
The Indy secondary deserves credit for overcoming injuries and sticking to K.C. wideouts, eschewing their normal zone-coverage heavy scheme for more man-to-man Sunday night. And the defensive front took advantage of an injured Chiefs o-line, to batter Mahomes in the second half after he tweaked his ankle.
The Colts defensive effort was particularly special to one veteran: Justin Houston, who played for K.C. for the first eight years of his career before moving to Indy this offseason. Apparently the 30-year-old is a big believer in the #RevengeGame.
“I’d be lying to say there wasn’t (extra motivation),” Houston said after the game, via the team’s official website. “That’s just like your old girlfriend — you get a new girlfriend, you wanna show off.”
Houston finished the win over his old teammates with a sack, four tackles, and two tackles for loss. His biggest play of the game came with just over five minutes left, and the Chiefs going for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 35-yard-line. Mahomes handed the ball to running back Damien Williams, and Houston knifed into the backfield to drag the RB down for a loss. The play allowed Indy to milk more time off the clock and stretch the lead to an insurmountable nine points.
“It was huge,” Reich said of Houston’s performance. “I mean, even before the game as we break and he was all fired up, he had the whole team goin’, gets the sack, great pressure all day, makes the fourth-down stop. I mean, those are massive plays. He is such a great player and such a good leader and such a good person — obviously I’m happy for all of us — I’m especially happy (for Justin). You love it when a guy does it the right way like Justin does it and then he gets rewarded with this win as a team and then he played great on top of it.”
Houston’s play Sunday night typified an entire Colts defense that played better than the sum of its parts, smothering the most exciting passing attack in the NFL.