Broken Colts Curses, Crappy No-Calls, and Quarterback Controversies
It has been two years, nine months and 26 days since the Kansas City Chiefs held a third quarter lead of 38-10 against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the Wildcard Game of the 2013 playoffs. We all know what happened next on that January day. The Colts won that game 45-44 and most of us have never been the same. The Colts curse was very real on that day.
But that wasn’t the only time the Colts have sucked the life out of the Chiefs and their fans.
If you go back to January 11, 2004 the Colts broke the will of the red and gold faithful in the famous “no punt” game that featured more offense than most knew what to do with, but absolutely no defense whatsoever. In fact, even though the Colts aren’t a “rival” of the Chiefs, given their history, it almost feels like it sometimes.
These two teams have been involved in some doozies, and generally the Colts have come out on top. This is especially true within the confines of Lucas Oil Stadium. In fact, since the NFL merger in 1970–and before today–the Colts are 16-8 (including the playoffs) against the Chiefs and 6-1 when they play in the Hoosier State. For whatever reason, the blue and white ponies have consistently had the Chiefs’ number time and time again.
That all changed today.
As of today’s game, only 10 of the players who were active today were active on that day over two and a half years ago. If any of those players–including quarterback Alex Smith, linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, and safety Eric Berry–felt that monkey on their back, they didn’t show it. In fact, there was little-to-no resemblance to that wild wildcard game, aside from one thing. The injuries.
If you remember that playoff game–yeah, I know I’m bringing up painful memories again–running back Jamaal Charles went out in the opening minutes when his head bounced off the astroturf-covered floor of Lucas Oil. The same thing happened to Smith today on a play that should have probably been flagged. In fact, it happened twice. Here’s a look at the first time.
As you can see from the GIF, Smith’s head visibly bounces off the turf. When Smith stood up following the play, the look on his face said “I like cheese and I live on Mars.” However after being checked and run through the “concussion protocol”, he was cleared to resume play. Which he did.
I commented about the hit on Twitter, saying I felt the turf at Lucas Oil was prone to injuring players. I would love to post the tweet for you all to see, but I was pretty fired up and used some language that isn’t conducive to a family website, so I’ll spare you. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought that. Here is one tweet I can show you.
Eric Berry said the turf in Indy is fast and thinner than other fieldturf surfaces
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) October 30, 2016
Essentially the all-pro defensive back–who also kicked cancer’s ass–is saying the same thing I did via “The People’s Reporter” Terez Paylor. The turf is thinner. As in there isn’t as much padding. As in when players helmets bounce off the ground, concussions come at a bit of a higher rate. In fact, Smith wasn’t the only player to suffer from some scrambled eggs in his nugget yesterday. Chiefs’ starting running back Spencer Ware also left the game with a concussion as well as players from the home field Colts.
In addition to KC RB Spencer Ware, Colts CB Vontae Davis and OL Joe Reitz also suffered concussions. Chiefs said QB Alex Smith lacerated ear
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 31, 2016
That’s not okay. But to add insult to injury–pun definitely intended–after Smith came back out onto the field and threw a touchdown pass to Maclin, the Colts knew they had him on the ropes. They saw the birds flying around his noggin like Elmer Fudd when Bugs Bunny hits him with a sledgehammer. After already bouncing his head off the concrete floor once, the defense knew it wouldn’t take much to send him to the locker room again. Thus, I give you the knockout punch.
If the first “no-call” was questionable, this was downright deliberate. The defender, free safety Clayton Geathers, takes two hands and pushes Smith’s head into the concrete. But don’t take my word for it. The proof is right there. If that wasn’t a deliberately dirty play, I don’t know what is. He should have been ejected for this and should definitely be fined by the league. But further, that official stood there and watched the whole thing go down and didn’t bother to take his flag out of his pocket. What a joke.
Once Smith exited the game at this point, Nick Foles who signed with Chiefs as a free agent on August 4 because he liked playing for Reid entered the game for a second time. Foles had already led a field goal drive as well as hitting tight end Travis Kelce for a big touchdown pass. The lanky signal-caller added another touchdown to his score card–this time a long pass to an uncovered Tyreek Hill–as well as a couple of field goal drives.
Foles looked good in his Chiefs debut. He did exactly what a backup quarterback should do. He came in during a time of need, he scored some points and he allowed the playmakers on the offense to do what they do best. He was a steady hand and let the Chiefs break this curse and walk out of Indy with a much needed win–their their third in a row.
I said all that to say this:
There is absolutely, positively, 100 percent, no quarterback controversy in Kansas City.
If you think there is, you’re just not paying attention. Head coach Andy Reid has said time and time again that this team belongs to perennial starter Alex Smith. That should be the definitive answer, but leave it to the Kansas City “faithful” to take the opportunity of Smith’s concussion to come out of the woodwork and call for his replacement by backup Nick Foles.
I’m not going to bore, enrage, nor entertain with you tweets from “Twitter Analysts” who believe Foles is the future of the Chiefs’ franchise. Maybe he is, but as long as Smith is healthy in 2016, Foles will continue to carry the clipboard and assist Alex with his weekly preparation. What I am going to do is provide you with facts.
With Alex Smith as the starting quarterback, the Chiefs are 46-20 (including playoffs) since the beginning of 2013. They are 1-2 in the playoffs. They are 15-2 in regular season games since Week 7 of last year. They haven’t lost at Arrowhead since the Kansas City Royals were in the World Series.
I get it that football is a team sport and those stats are attributed to to every member of the 53-man roster in Kansas City. But the quarterback is the most important position on the field and I don’t care what anybody says, a quarterback’s win/loss record is a very real thing.
Andy Reid is not Jim Harbaugh. About the only thing they have in common is their ability to get decent production out of their signal-callers. Reid is not going to pull the guy who has won game in and game out for the Chiefs for a guy who is slightly younger and can throw the ball a little bit farther. He knows Alex Smith gives the Chiefs the best opportunity to win in January and February.
If Alex is healthy, he plays.
There is no quarterback controversy in Kansas City. But there is winning football. That starts and ends with Alex Smith.
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