Avalanche of of­fense is pos­si­ble

Even in snow, Colts, Chiefs have dan­ger­ous weapons

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS WEEKEND - By Dave Skretta

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Ebron has seen the fore­cast for Sat­ur­day’s di­vi­sional play­off game be­tween the Colts and Chiefs, for which even the most op­ti­mistic of me­te­o­rol­o­gists are peg­ging the chances of rain or snow at about 50 per­cent.

It doesn’t bother him. The Colts tight end played in plenty of cold games in the NFC North.

“You get past it once you get out there,” said Ebron, who started his ca­reer with the Li­ons and re­mem­bers frigid games in Green Bay and Chicago. “The worst is the TV time­outs. Once that’s over you will warm back up, but other than that it should be fun . ... I love snow games.”

Even if the cold, wet weather puts a damper on two star-stud­ded of­fenses.

Most of the at­ten­tion this week has been on the quar­ter­back show­down be­tween the Chiefs’ Pa­trick Ma­homes and the Colts’ An­drew Luck, and right­fully so. Ma­homes shattered records by the dozen this year, throw­ing for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touch­downs, and Luck tossed 39 touch­down passes while tak­ing the Colts from a 1-5 start to the sec­ond week­end of the play­offs.

But nei­ther quar­ter­back would have posted such gaudy num­bers had he not had a plethora of weapons at his dis­posal.

Chiefs speed­ster Tyreek Hill set a fran­chise record with 1,479 re­ceiv­ing yards, pulled in 12 touch­down passes and had a league-lead­ing 22 catches of at least 25 yards. He had five plays of at least 50 yards, in­clud­ing a 91-yard punt-re­turn touch­down against the Charg­ers in Week 1.

Hill should have his top run­ning mate back. Sammy Watkins prac­ticed this week af­ter miss­ing a hand­ful of games with a foot in­jury.

Then there’s Travis Kelce, the All-Pro tight end whose value comes as both a blocker and a dan­ger­ous down­field tar­get. Kelce had 103 catches for 1,336 yards and has caught at least one pass in 79 con­sec­u­tive games.

“I have a big ad­van­tage here that I have a lot of great team­mates that can make a lot of plays. I don’t have to try to do too much,” Ma­homes said. “Just get the ball out of my hands. Get it to Tyreek, get it to Kelce, get it to all these guys who can make plays and let them do what they have been do­ing all sea­son long. That’s the big­gest thing, not try­ing to do too much.”

Es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing what they’ve done all sea­son has been good enough.

“I mean, just their weapons — they’ve got sev­eral All-Pro play­ers. They have a lot of good play­ers that didn’t get that recog­ni­tion,” Colts de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Eber­flus said. “There’s a lot of skill on that side of the ball . ... It’s go­ing to be a big chal­lenge.”

It’s not un­like the chal­lenge the Colts of­fense presents to the Chiefs, who have been fe­ro­cious at rush­ing the passer but have strug­gled in just about ev­ery other de­fen­sive as­pect.

T.Y. Hil­ton shred­ded the Chiefs with 13 catches for 224 yards and two touch­downs dur­ing their 2014 play­off game, in which the Colts ral­lied from a 38-10 sec­ond-half deficit. He had 76 catches for 1,270 yards and six touch­downs in an­other Pro Bowl­cal­iber sea­son. His run­ning mate, Don­trelle In­man, has scored in three con­sec­u­tive games.

And like the Chiefs, the Colts have one of the league’s most ver­sa­tile and dan­ger­ous tight ends in Ebron. He had 13 touch­down catches dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, trail­ing only the Steel­ers’ An­to­nio Brown for the league lead, and added an­other in the play­off win in Hous­ton.

“Based on the num­bers, it’s go­ing to be very chal­leng­ing,” Chiefs de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bob Sut­ton said. “It’s like any­thing, we will have our chances. We have to take ad­van­tage of it.”


Tight end Eric Ebron and the Colts are ready for what­ever the Chiefs and the weather bring in their play­off matchup.

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