Winless Colts come up short against Chiefs 28-24
INDIANAPOLIS—Curtis Painter had Peyton Manning in his ear all day.
He didn't mind one bit.
With Manning watching from the Colts' sideline for the first time since August, Painter delivered the best performance of his three-year NFL career but still came up short as Matt Cassel threw four TD passes to rally Kansas City for a 28-24 victory.
"Having him (Manning) around with his experience and especially with this offense helps out a ton," Painter said. "I think it is great for me, being somewhat of a younger quarterback, being able to come to the sideline and talk to a guy like that."
Indy's offense got plenty of advice throughout the game from Manning, who stayed a safe distance away from plays in his street clothes.
Painter's impersonation of his mentor worked. He threw deep, ran the no-huddle offense and even had the fans on their feet after leading the Colts into the end zone three times in 30 minutes. He was 12 of 17 for 237 yards with two TDs and a near-perfect 152.2 rating in the half-- numbers that would have made Manning proud.
But a series of second-half drops and a defensive collapse cost the Colts. Again.
Indy is 0-5 for the first time since 1997, has its first five-game losing streak in a decade and is one of three winless teams left in the NFL.
And this one wasn't Painter's fault.
"The offense was doing a great job in the first half, and we just kind of let down," Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. "We blew this."
Cassel rallied the Chiefs from a 17-point first-half deficit by throwing two touchdowns to Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston, who exposed mismatches in the Colts' secondary.
Cassel was an efficient 21 of 29 for 257 yards with a rating of 138.9.
Bowe caught seven passes for 128 yards and simply outmuscled the much smaller Jacob Lacey for many of them. Breaston caught four passes for 50 yards, but made a spectacular effort to get into the end zone at the end of the first half and a terrific move against a backup cornerback to give the Chiefs their only lead with 5:15 left in the game.
Jackie Battle also ran 19 times for 119 yards, enough to give the Chiefs their first win at Indy.
The comeback, the largest since Todd Haley took over as coach in 2009, rekindled images of how the Chiefs (2-3) won the AFC West.
"He is a guy I trust with all my heart -- and the ball," Cassel said of Bowe. "Then you get Steve Breaston, who continues to make so many plays. They compliment each other very well. If you're going to double one, you can't double the other."
Bowe did most of the damage.
He burned Lacey on a slant for a 41-yard touchdown in the first half, a play that seemed to spark Kansas City's moribund offense. He repeatedly broke tackles for first downs. And when Cassel needed a play on first-and-goal from the Indy 5, of course he went to Bowe, who caught the TD pass despite Lacey's deflection and pass interference penalty. That made the score 24-21.
Two series later, with Bowe as the set-up guy, Cassel went the other direction and found Breaston matched up against rookie cornerback Chris Rucker. It was no contest -- an 11-yard TD reception for the go-ahead score.
Yes, Indy dominated early.
Painter threw a 6-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon on the opening series and after a 53-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri, hooked up with Garcon on a 67-yard TD pass to make it 17-0 less than 20 minutes into the game. Garcon finished with five catches for 125 yards.
Then, after Bowe's long TD catch, Painter led the Colts down the field again, setting up Delone Carter for a 3-yard TD run that made it 24-7 with 1:09 left in the half.
That was too much time for Cassel and Breaston, who made a nifty stop just before stepping out of bounds and dived across the goal line for a 16-yard score to make it 24-14 at the half.
Painter had one chance to rally the Colts late, but his fourth-down pass was knocked away by Jon McGraw and the Chiefs held on for their second straight win.
"This is a big win, a step in the right direction," Cassel said. "We kept our focus, and you could see the end result was very positive for us."
Notes: Pat McAfee hit the crossbar on his second kickoff of the game. ... Joseph Addai left with a right hamstring injury in the first quarter and did not return. ... Chiefs RB Le'Ron McClain injured his neck late in the first half. ... Carter's TD was the first of his career. ... Cassel has had three straight games with quarterback ratings over 100.