KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A raft of special-teams mistakes helped sink the Kansas City Chiefs in a 20-17 loss Sunday at Indianapolis.
Rookie Skyy Moore muffed the first punt after the defense forced a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive.
That led to a Colts touchdown, the only Colts touchdown in the first 59 1/2 minutes.
Moore was unable to catch Indianapolis’ second punt, which was downed at Kansas City’s 1-yard line and hamstrung the offense.
When the Chiefs’ defense sacked Matt Ryan on fourth down in Colts territory, it sparked the offense to find the zone, only to have Matt Ammendola miss the extra point.
Ammendola made his second extra-point try, which came midway through the third quarter, but only after Kansas City took a delay of game penalty before the 26-yard kick.
The Chiefs had so little confidence in Ammendola from beyond 40 yards that coach Andy Reid had the punter attempt a pass on fourth-and-11 rather than let Ammendola kick.
“I trust him because he made it last week, but at a certain spot," Reid said. “I wanted to make sure we didn’t put him in a bad position. He’s a young guy that’s just starting off here, so I tried to make sure we put him in the right position.”
Reid's decision looked much more understandable one drive later when Ammendola hooked a 34-yard field-goal try wide left, keeping the Colts within 17-13 and setting up Kansas City's stunning loss.
“In the NFL, the parity is crazy, so any mistakes get magnified,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s just how it goes, so we’ve got to clean that up. But we’ll clean it up and get it taken care of.”
Indianapolis also won the field-position battle with better kickoff returns and coverage.
The Colts averaged more than 28 yards per kickoff return, while Chiefs rookie kickoff returner Isiah Pacheco was tackled at the 15-yard line after a field goal had made it 10-6. He slipped and fumbled on a 13-yard return late in the third quarter and got stuffed at the 14-yard line after the late go-ahead touchdown, capping a forgettable afternoon.
The gaffes made life harder than necessary on Kansas City’s offense and defense throughout the game.
If there was a bright spot, punter Tommy Townsend had a terrific afternoon, averaging 56.7 yards per punt and pinning Indianapolis inside the 20-yard line twice in three tries.
But early in the fourth quarter, Kansas City lined up for a 42-yard attempt only to have Townsend pull the ball and try a bootleg fake to tight end Noah Gray.
“That’s one I probably shouldn’t have called," Reid said.
Not only did the Colts sniff out the play, but the Chiefs committed a penalty — illegal man downfield — to cap an uncharacteristically putrid performance on special teams.