KC-IND grades: O-line, Kelce elevate play in Chiefs win
Kansas City Chiefs 30, Indianapolis Colts 14
These are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs’ win over the Colts.
Quarterback grade: Nick Foles, 74.3
With Alex Smith knocked out of the game twice by hits to the head on plays where he slid, Nick Foles saw his first extended playing time as a Kansas City Chief and held the fort admirably for the Chiefs’ injured starter. Kept clean by his offensive line, Foles spread his throws around to every area of the field, testing every region of the Colts’ defense with five or more passes aimed behind the line-of-scrimmage, short, at the intermediate level and deep. The efficiency of the short passing game didn’t match Alex Smith at his best but Foles hit on the play down the field that kept the Chiefs out of the home team’s reach.
Top offensive grades
TE Travis Kelce 90.0
LT Eric Fisher 83.6
WR Tyreek Hill 80.2
LG Zach Fulton 74.9
C Mitch Morse 73.2
Chiefs raise their game for their backup quarterback
The Chiefs elevated their play when their backup was forced into action with both the offensive line and skill position players doing their bit to see Kansas City to victory. Though the offensive line allowed three sacks to the Colts, that accounted for nearly 50 percent of the dropbacks that they allowed either quarterback to be pressured on. With ball in hand Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill were electric, with Hill impressing further on punt returns averaging just shy of 20 yards per return as well as coming up just shy of 20 yards per reception. Hill racked up his 183 all-purpose yards on only 21 offensive snaps and four special teams returns.
Top defensive grades
S/LB Daniel Sorensen 83.7
OLB Dee Ford 78.9
CB Phillip Gaines 78.5
S Ron Parker 77.1
NT Dontari Poe 75.7
Ford takes the spotlight but Sorensen continues to shine
By racking up four sacks and doubling his season total entering the game there’s no doubt that Dee Ford will take most of the headlines from this Kansas City defense and he fully deserves his share. Presented with a favorable matchup, Ford didn’t pass up the opportunity, adding five hurries to his four sacks. However equally deserving of credit was the Chiefs very own linebacker/safety hybrid Daniel Sorensen. Playing at the league’s latest in-vogue position Sorensen added two defensive stops to his season total including a forced fumble on Phillip Dorsett. Those skills in coverage saw Sorensen allow just three yards on four targets as a sub-package linebacker; Sorensen has only allowed one play of 20 yards or more this season in coverage.
Quarterback grade: Andrew Luck, 47.7
It was a return to rougher days for Andrew luck this week, who was pressured on 20 or more dropbacks for the fifth time this season and on more than 50 percent of his dropbacks (25/48) for the second time this season. Luck was sacked or scrambled as many times as he completed a pass under a pressure, though one of his six completions under pressure did go for a touchdown to boost his passer rating under pressure. Luck was strong on intermediate throws but struggled deep (going zero of four courtesy of a nullified touchdown late in the fourth quarter) and short where he completed only 13 of 20 passes aimed within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs pass rush got to Luck and the Colts offense didn’t have an appropriate response.
Top offensive grades
WR Donte Moncrief 73.6
TE Jack Doyle 72.7
WR T.Y. Hilton 71.6
C Ryan Kelly 69.2
HB Frank Gore 68.9
O-line torn asunder by Chiefs pass rush
The Colts’ issues in pass protection have been well documented and getting down with the deep pass drops that characterize the Indianapolis offense was never likely to be a recipe for success. Every member of the Colts’ offensive line that played allowed multiple pressures, including Jonotthan Harrison who only played 17 snaps, and C Ryan Kelly was the only lineman not to allow a sack or a hit. Allowing the run game to set the game up and take a little pressure off the pass protection might have given the Colts more of a chance. Robert Turbin converted two third-and-short plays and Frank Gore was solid, but on only nine carries. The Colts placed all the pressure on their line to pass protect rather than get after the Chiefs’ front on the ground.
Top defensive grades
ILB D’Qwell Jackson 83.1
NT T.Y. McGill 80.9
OLB Akeem Ayers 79.5
NT David Parry 79.1
CB Rashaan Melvin 78.6
Big plays undermine some solid performances
The big story on the day that pushed the Chiefs to victory was the big play differential which was very lopsided in the favor of the Kansas City offense. Six different Colts defenders allowed receptions of 20 yards or more into their coverage and rookie safety Matthias Farley was in the game for only four snaps, but in that time surrendered a touchdown and was fortunate not to give one up on the play before when Jeremy Maclin attempted to bring a pass in with one hand rather than two. Nose tackles David Parry and T.Y. McGill put in solid performances while Robert Mathis had his best game of the season as a pass-rusher, but ultimately this Colts defense came up short.
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PFF Game-Ball winner: Tyreek Hill