Chiefs aim to re­write their play­off history against neme­sis Colts

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY DAVE SKRETTA As­so­ci­ated Press

Given the post­sea­son history in­volv­ing In­di­anapo­lis and Kansas City over the years, An­drew Luck and the Colts have ev­ery rea­son to feel con­fi­dent head­ing to Ar­row­head Sta­dium on Saturday.

The Chiefs have ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve they’re due.

Four times the teams have met in the play­offs, twice in the wild-card round and twice with a spot in the AFC ti­tle game on the line. Each time the Colts emerged vic­to­ri­ous. All but one were down-tothe-wire nail-biters, one a record-set­ting shootout and an­other a de­fen­sive slugfest, and each left Colts fans feel­ing eu­phoric and Chiefs fans feel­ing cursed.

Asked whether he un­der­stood the mag­ni­tude of the next in­stall­ment in the one-sided se­ries, Chiefs cor­ner­back Ken­dall Fuller replied quite sim­ply: “Oh yeah.”

“Es­pe­cially what they’ve been go­ing through over the years and things like that,” he said. “We def­i­nitely see how fans feel, what they’re ex­pect­ing and stuff like that.”

There was the 1996 wild-card matchup in which Chiefs kicker Lin El­liott missed three field goals and the Colts won 10-7. The di­vi­sional showdown in 2003, when the Colts won 38-31 in a game fea­tur­ing no punts. The 23-8 white­wash­ing three years later and, most re­cently, the 45-44 shootout in which Luck led the Colts from a 38-10 se­cond-half hole to beat Andy Reid’s first Chiefs team in 2013.

There are still more than a dozen play­ers around who were in­volved in that game five years ago, yet each ac­knowl­edged this week that history has no bear­ing on what will tran­spire Saturday .

“Ob­vi­ously they are a great team,” said Colts kicker Adam Vi­natieri, who has played in the past two play­off games against Kansas City. “They’ve won a lot of games. They’ve got a very ex­plo­sive of­fense. They’ve got prob­a­bly the best re­turner in the Na­tional Foot­ball League with (Tyreek) Hill.

“We are go­ing to have to play our best game,” Vi­natieri said, “to try to keep up with them.”

The Chiefs hap­pen to be­lieve the same thing.

Yes, they earned the No. 1 seed with their third con­sec­u­tive AFC West ti­tle, and have ar­guably the game’s best young quar­ter­back in Patrick Ma­homes. Hill joins Travis Kelce, a healthy Sammy Watkins and run­ning backs Spencer Ware and Damien Wil­liams in giv­ing him plenty of weapons , while a de­fense that’s been sta­tis­ti­cally poor also has more sacks than any other team.

Yet the Colts, the sixth and last seed in the play­offs, may be the hottest team play­ing . They re­bounded from a 1- 5 start to win nine of their last 10 games to reach the post­sea­son, then dom­i­nated the Hous­ton Tex­ans last week with a blud­geon­ing ground game and stingy de­fense.

“The way this locker room has pre­pared,” Luck said, “it’s all about just get­ting bet­ter, get­ting bet­ter. … It takes no he­roes. You don’t need a hero, whether it’s a play­off game or a reg­u­lar-sea­son game.”

AP file photo

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