News

Chiefs look to extend Cinderella season

Chiefs look to extend Cinderella season

PLAYOFFS: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass during the first half of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium. Photo: Reuters/Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Two teams that know the peaks and valleys of the National Football League all too well clash on Saturday when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Indianapolis Colts for a wild-card showdown.

The Chiefs, one year removed from a two-win campaign, are the Cinderella story of this NFL season after opening with nine straight victories and clinching their first playoff spot in four years.

A season ago it was the Colts who reached the playoffs one year after going a dismal 2-14.

But the clock will strike midnight for one team on Saturday in Indianapolis where the AFC South champion Colts (11-5) will host the wild card Chiefs (11-5).

“Any time you can be a part of the turnaround, it’s a special feeling,” said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. “These guys have worked hard and deserve a ton of credit.

“It’s special to be a part of this.”

The Chiefs, seeking their first playoff win in 20 years, can attribute their revival to head coach Andy Reid, who arrived after being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, and hard luck quarterback Smith.

Smith, the top pick in the 2005 draft, was never able to silence critics during seven turbulent years with San Francisco before finally losing his starting job to backup Colin Kaepernick midway through last season.

More steady than spectacular, Smith has never thrown for more than 3,313 yards in a season but finds ways to win, posting a sparkling 30-9-1 record over the last three years.

The Colts are also led by a top draft pick in quarterback Andrew Luck, who has had big shoes to fill after taking over for future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

In two seasons, Luck has guided Indianapolis to 22 wins and passed for 8,196 yards, the most ever by a player in his first two campaigns.

But while Luck has exceeded expectations the second year quarterback must still prove he can deliver when it counts most and win a playoff game.

“We know the postseason’s a whole different ball game and it’s one-and-done,” said Luck. “We’re excited about that.”

Luck, who tossed 23 touchdowns and just nine interceptions, will be wary of an opportunistic Chiefs defense that struggled late in the season but still finished with the second most takeaways (36).

The Chiefs offensive line will have to be on the lookout for Colts linebacker Robert Mathis who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks.

After a mid-season swoon that saw Indianapolis drop three-of-five contests, the Colts have found their stride and head into the playoffs riding a three-game win streak, including a 23-7 thrashing of Chiefs two weeks ago.

In contrast, following their spectacular 9-0 start the Chiefs sputtered down the home stretch losing five-of-seven including their last two.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Portland Weather

condition Condition: Overcast
Temperature: 43°
High: 46° - Low: 29°

Latest Headlines

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘It Follows’ is the best American horror film in a decade

Fresh
In this image released by Brigade Marketing, actress Maika Monroe appears in a scene of It Follows, directed by David Robert Mitchell. “It Follows,” has been arguably the buzziest American film at Cannes next to Bennett Miller’s wrestling drama “Foxcatcher,” which boasts a far more famous cast and a major premiere at the Palais des Festival.

"It Follows" is a horror movie worthy of classic comparisons.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Billy Zane mistakenly thanks One Direction fans for support

Billy Zane arrives at the Global Green USA's 12th Annual Pre-Oscar Party at the Avalon Hollywood on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Actor Billy Zane pokes fun at the fact he shares a similar name to former One Direction member Zayn Malik in a new video.

in Entertainment

Craig T. Nelson bringing ‘Coach’ back to TV

Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, left, and actor Craig T. Nelson share a moment with Quincy the dog on the set of the television show "Coach", Feb. 10, 1995, in Universal City, Calif. Johnson will appear as himself in an episode in which Quincy ends up swallowing Johnson's Super Bowl ring.

Craig T. Nelson has signed on to revive his hit TV sitcom "Coach" for a new sequel series on NBC.