CHIEFS

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Sports -

a 24-7 lead into the break.

If there was any ques­tion whether this would be Kansas City’s day, it was an­swered when Colts kicker Adam Vi­natieri missed a 23-yard field-goal try off the up­right just be­fore half­time. It was the first time in 22 post­sea­son at­tempts that he’d missed from that close.

Not that the Chiefs thought they had it wrapped up. They’ve had big­ger play­off melt­downs against the Colts.

There was the 10-7 loss in which Lin El­liott missed three field goals when the Chiefs were the No. 1 seed, and the loss at Ar­row­head Sta­dium in 2003 in which no­body punted.

Five years ago, they blew a 38-10 sec­ond-half lead against Luck and the Colts to spoil Andy Reid’s first sea­son.

Not this time.

Not with this Kansas City quar­ter­back.

Af­ter shat­ter­ing nearly ev­ery fran­chise pass­ing record, Ma­homes picked up right where he left off in his reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale. He led the Chiefs on touch­down drives of 90 and 70 yards to open the game, quickly iden­ti­fied a fa­vorite tar­get in Travis Kelce, and shook off a banged-up knee to scram­ble for a touch­down late in the first half to give his team a big cush­ion.

Of course, the Chiefs didn’t need it the way their de­fense was play­ing.

The Colts went three-and-out on their first four pos­ses­sions, were out­gained 185-12 in the first quar­ter, and Luck didn’t com­plete a pass un­til he found T.Y. Hil­ton early in the sec­ond.

Their lone bright spot came when for­mer Old Do­min­ion re­ceiver Zach Pas­cal re­cov­ered a blocked punt for a touch­down.

Even when the Colts caught a break and Sammy Watkins fum­bled the ball to them late in the third quar­ter, they were quick to give it back. Dee Ford stripped Luck and fel­low line­backer Justin Hous­ton plopped on the ball, ru­in­ing an­other red-zone op­por­tu­nity.

The Colts fi­nally scored an of­fen­sive touch­down with 5:31 left in the game. But in the per­fect sum­ma­tion of their lousy af­ter­noon, their erst­while star kicker missed the ex­tra point.

By that point, the party in the stands al­ready had be­gun.

The Chiefs had lost six straight home play­off games, in­clud­ing heart­break­ers to Pitts­burgh and Ten­nessee the past two years. But a proud fran­chise that won its only Su­per Bowl ti­tle with Len Daw­son in Jan­uary 1970, and last played for a spot be­hind Joe Mon­tana, is one more one step away.

Snow­ball fight

Chiefs coach Andy Reid was sum­moned to the corner of the sta­dium dur­ing the two-minute warn­ing in the first half to im­plore fans to stop throw­ing snow­balls on the field. Ear­lier in the half, one al­most hit Colts punter Rigob­erto Sanchez while he was kick­ing.

In­juries

Colts: Cen­ter Ryan Kelly (knee) left late in the fourth quar­ter. Free safety Ma­lik Hooker (foot) and de­fen­sive end Tyquan Lewis (knee) were in­ac­tive, while strong safety Mike Mitchell (calf ) was placed on in­jured re­serve ear­lier this week. That left the Colts de­fense with­out some key pieces.

Chiefs: Safety Eric Berry (heel) and run­ning back Spencer Ware (ham­string) were in­ac­tive, though Berry — the team’s emo­tional leader — broke down the pregame hud­dle in the north end zone.

PETER AIKEN/GETTY IM­AGES

Frank Zombo of the Kansas City Chiefs holds his hand up in the air af­ter Adam Vi­natieri of the In­di­anapo­lis Colts misses a field goal at the end of the first half dur­ing the AFC di­vi­sional play­off game.

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