KANSAS CITY- On a day dominated by offense, it took a defensive back to settle things.
Indianapolis star Peyton Manning had thrown five touchdown passes when he lofted the ball into Kansas City’s end zone with just under 2 minutes left Sunday. This time, the catch in the end zone belonged to Chiefs safety Greg Wesley, who returned the ball 65 yards to seal Kansas City’s 45-35 victory.
“We didn’t want it to have to happen that way,” Wesley said. “But they’ve got a powerful offense. We knew that coming in. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but the only thing that matters is that ‘W.’
Kansas City’s win broke a seven-game losing streak against the Colts (4-3), who didn’t even have to punt in their 38-31 AFC divisional playoff victory against the Chiefs last season. Before Sunday, Kansas City (3-4) hadn’t beaten Indianapolis since 1985 and had lost five straight to the Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City won back-to-back games for the first time this year, while Indianapolis lost its second straight.
“It’s disappointing, because I know we can play a lot better and we’re not doing it,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said.
The interception negated a huge day by Manning, who passed for 472 yards and kept the Chiefs from wasting spectacular performances by Trent Green and Priest Holmes.
Green threw for 389 yards and three scores, two to tight end Tony Gonzalez, and Priest Holmes overcame an early fumble to finish with 143 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
“It was just demoralizing, having them score all the time,” Colts cornerback Nick Harper said.
The Chiefs finished with 590 yards, the Colts with 505, the third-highest single-game total in NFL history.
“When you get 590 yards of offense I don’t know what you left out,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. “I’ve never been involved in 590 yards of offense. I don’t add that high.
Green’s 14 straight completions in the first half were one short of Len Dawson’s team record from 1967. His 5-for-5 performance on Kansas City’s last scoring drive was just as important.
Manning’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne, Wayne’s second touchdown catch of the day, pulled Indianapolis within 38-35 with a little less than 5 1/2 minutes left. The play came on fourth down.
Green’s 25-yard throw to Eddie Kennison got Kansas City to the Colts 19, though. Green hit Gonzalez for a 14-yard score and a 45-35 lead.
It was a free play for the Chiefs, because Indianapolis’ Raheem Brock jumped offside.
“Once you get a team offsides, you have a little bit of freedom to make a riskier throw,” Green said. “Tony’s one of those guys where you put it up high and he’s going to go get it.”
Manning, starting the ensuing drive at his 44, hit Brandon Stokley for 21 yards and Marcus Pollard for 10. On the next play, he threw into a sea of red jerseys.
“It was a bad decision on my part,” Manning said. “It was just a bad throw.”
Before then, Manning picked the Chiefs’ defense apart seemingly at will. Only overthrows of several open receivers kept him from ringing up more yardage and at least two more touchdowns.
The Colts trailed 31-14 at the half, but Manning was 6-for-6 for 162 yards in the third quarter and pulled them to 31-28 by the end of the period on touchdown passes of 22 yards to Marvin Harrison and 41 yards to Wayne.
Holmes scored from inches out with a little less than 13 minutes left in the game for a 38-31 lead.
The Chiefs stuffed a fake punt on Indianapolis’ opening possession, then Holmes fumbled at the Colts 5 and Idrees Bashir recovered.
Two pass interference penalties helped the Colts move to their 48, and Manning hit Harrison for a 52-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs answered with Green’s 21-yard scoring pass to Gonzalez later in the first quarterand his 7-yard touchdown throw to Johnnie Morton early in the second. It was Gonzalez’s 500th career reception,
Holmes ran 21 yards on a draw play for a 21-7 lead, but Manning’s 5-yard pass to Pollard made it 21-14 before the Chiefs closed the half with Holmes’ 11-yard run and Lawrence Tynes’ 32-yard field goal.