The Kansas City Chiefs, despite being up by 28 points shortly after halftime, found a way to lose to the Indianapolis Colts in what can only be described as a war of attrition. The Chiefs suffered injuries to multiple key players, including their franchise running back, Jamaal Charles.
Charles, who produced nearly one-third of the Kansas City offense this season, went to the turf roughly after a seven-yard run only a handful of plays into the game. The referees were quick to call trainers to the field and keep Charles down on the ground; able to recognize the nature of the injury. Charles was completing a beautiful run, where he had evaded any hard hits despite running in traffic. On the way down, however, he was just hit by the shoulder pad of Jeris Pendleton as he was being tackled by Greg Toler. This sent Charles down with enough force for him to suffer concussion-like symptoms which were immediately recognizable. The play was legal, and didn’t even look like there was any serious contact, but the end result was ugly.
After undergoing concussion protocols on the sideline, Charles was escorted back to the Chiefs’ locker room for further evaluation. He was visibly upset as he was walked off of the field, and Chiefs fans held their breath as they watched their franchise player disappear from view. He never returned to the game.
The game resulted in a number of players leaving because of head injuries. This war of attrition continued on as the Kansas City Chiefs lost corner back Brandon Flowers. Flowers was knocked to the ground out-of-bounds just shy of the goal line trying to prevent the second consecutive touchdown by Colts running back Darius Butler. He was unable to prevent the touchdown, and unable to get up for several minutes after the play was over. Flowers was able to leave the field under his own power, albeit assisted by two members of the training staff, but he was unable to return to the game. Wide receiver , Donnie Avery, was also kept out of the game after suffering a concussion.
The Chiefs had only just gotten the services of Dwane Bowe back after he was taken out of the last meeting between these two teams with a concussion. Partly due to the fact that he had returned, the Chiefs were able to continue playing well and scoring for a while, holding the lead despite losing Charles so early. Andrew Luck and his Colts, despite a lackluster performance for nearly three-quarters of the game, wore the Kansas City team down. Alex Smith, even though he looked great and was able to run for needed yardage on a number of occasions, was not able to maintain the pace. The loss of his offensive weapons was too much.
In addition to the players lost to concussion, Knile Davis went out with just over nine minutes left in the game. Davis had come in to replace the injured Charles, so his departure was another step backwards down a slippery slope. When Smith’s final drive was stalled with less than two minutes to go, they hit the bottom. The Kansas City Chiefs looked better than the Indianapolis Colts for most of the game, but ended up losing the war of attrition in the end.
By Jim Malone