INDIANAPOLIS -- In the end, the Colts were left to grapple with the disappointment of another close loss.
Kansas City's Matt Cassel hit Steve Breaston with an 11-yard scoring pass with 5:15 left in the game Sunday to boost the Chiefs to a 28-24 victory over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indy fell to 0-5 after losing its last three games by three, seven and four points.
For Colts Coach Jim Caldwell, the script is hauntingly familiar.
"That's kind of been our situation," Caldwell said. "We just haven't been able to finish games. (Kansas City) performed well. We didn't perform nearly as well as we need to."
The Colts took a 17-0 lead on the strength of superb first-half play by quarterback Curtis Painter. However, touchdowns by the Chiefs on their last two possessions before halftime signaled a change in momentum. The second half showed more of that shift.
The Chiefs scored 14 unanswered points after halftime. They had 17 first downs to the Colts' two in the second half. Kansas City's touchdown drives of 93 and 54 yards kept the ball away from Indy.
"We made some great plays in the first half. The second half, we didn't quite finish drives," said Painter, echoing his head coach.
"We did a good job of getting in a good rhythm early in the game," Painter added. "Any time you make plays and have success, it obviously gives you confidence. We just have to continue to get better, and (put) an emphasis on closing out the games."
Painter finished with 15-of-27 passing for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Pierre Garcon on both scores, and Garcon finished with five catches for 125 yards.
Painter, according to Caldwell, has earned the right to continue as the Colts' starting quarterback in the absence of injured Peyton Manning.
"Curtis is our starter right now," Caldwell said. "Look at that performance he had today; I'm not certain why there's a question at this point in time. He's our starter. He's performed well and he's getting better every week."
Donald Brown, in his first carries of the season, totaled 38 rushing yards on eight attempts to lead the Colts. However, the steady drumbeat of injury news also continued for the Colts, who lost starting running back Joseph Addai to a hamstring problem in the first quarter. He didn't return.
Cassell hit 21-of-29 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Jackie Battle rushed 19 times for 119 yards for the Chiefs. He totaled 81 yards in the second half as Kansas City controlled the ball for more than 21 minutes.
For Caldwell, it was painful to see his team lose the early 17-point lead and watch Kansas City control the ball after halftime.
"It's a matter of execution," the Colts' coach said. "We just have to do some things better. There were some stretches there where we certainly could have helped (the Colts' defense) out a bit by extending a few drives, which we didn't do. ... We just didn't perform well enough.
"It's frustrating. Obviously, it's very disappointing. We have to be able to finish and we haven't been able to do so thus far."
The third quarter was especially hurtful. Kansas City totaled 10 first downs to zero for Indy. The Chiefs scored the only touchdown of the quarter, marching 93 yards in 12 plays to cut the Colts' edge to 24-21.
"It was tough to get them slowed down," Caldwell said.
And in the fourth quarter, Kansas City took its first lead -- and the only one it needed. Cassel found Breaston open in the corner of the end zone for the 11-yard touchdown.
Chiefs Coach Todd Haley said the comeback showed his team's mettle.
"A lot of guys were saying the same thing: Just keep doing your job, keep sticking with your teammates, keep encouraging and don't have any doubt in the outcome. … We just started doing things better," Haley said.
FIRST QUARTER (7:36 remaining)
The Colts took the opening kickoff and marched down the field behind the steady hand of quarterback Curtis Painter. Painter completed 5-of-5 passes for 66 yards, including a six-yard scoring pass to Pierre Garcon. The drive went 80 yards in 12 plays. The key play was a 26-yard completion to Reggie Wayne down the sideline. Adam Vinatieri hit the extra point. Colts 7, Chiefs 0
SECOND QUARTER (12:23 remaining)
Two nice passes by Painter -- for 11 yards to Wayne and 37 to Garcon -- set up the Colts for a 53-yard field goal by Vinatieri. It was Vinatieri's longest field goal as a Colt. It also was his 38th in 39 attempts in regular-season games in Lucas Oil Stadium since the venue opened in 2008. Colts 10, Chiefs 0
SECOND QUARTER (11:13 remaining)
Painter retained the hot hand. After the Colts' defense stopped the Chiefs on a three-and-out possession, Painter needed only one play to find Garcon wide open for a 67-yard touchdown pass. Vinatieri hit the extra point. Colts 17, Chiefs 0
SECOND QUARTER (5:11 remaining)
The Chiefs got on the scoreboard when Matt Cassel passed 41 yards to Dwayne Bowe. The touchdown culminated a six-play, 70-yard drive. Ryan Succop added the extra point. Colts 17, Chiefs 7
SECOND QUARTER (1:09 remaining)
Painter engineered another Colts drive, this one for 80 yards in eight plays. He hit 3-of-3 passes for 51 yards. Donald Brown, making his first 2011 appearance as a runner, rushed for 22 yards on three carries. Delone Carter plunged for the touchdown, the first of his career, from the 3-yard line. Vinatieri hit the extra point. Colts 24, Chiefs 7
SECOND QUARTER (13 seconds remaining)
Cassel needed only 56 seconds to lead the Chiefs on a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. The Chiefs quarterback hit all four of his passes for 60 yards, including the 16-yard score to Steve Breaston. Succop added the extra point. Colts 24, Chiefs 14
THIRD QUARTER (40 seconds remaining)
The Chiefs turned in a methodical 93-yard drive to cut their deficit to three points. Kansas City made seven first downs on the 12-play march. Cassel passed five yards to Bowe for the touchdown. Succop added the extra point. Colts 24, Chiefs 21
FOURTH QUARTER (5:15 remaining)
The Chiefs took their first lead of the game as Cassel found Breaston open in the corner of the end zone for an 11-yard passing touchdown. The play ended a nine-play, 54-yard march. Succop connected on the extra point. Chiefs 28, Colts 24