INDIANAPOLIS — The boxscore will show a defensive stand and subsequent blocked punt by Najee Goode recovered by teammate Zach Pascal in the end zone at the 6:04 mark of the second quarter.
But let’s take a closer look at the Indianapolis Colts’ 2018 Divisional Round Drive of the Game, presented by Hays + Sons:
It was the kind of start the Indianapolis Colts knew they couldn’t afford in Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup against the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs.
Already playing on the road in front of one of the more raucous home crowds in the NFL, the Colts couldn’t get anything going on offense to start the game, while the Chiefs and their No. 1-ranked offense had their way against Indy’s defense their first three drives, jumping out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter after a 39-yard field goal from Harrison Butker.
At some point, something has to go the Colts’ way, right?
Well, the Indy offense, once again, couldn’t get anything going on its next drive after the Chiefs’ field goal, and had to punt, setting up Kansas City with a 1st and 10 at its own 18-yard line.
Three plays later, the Colts’ defense finally looked like it was going to corral the Chiefs’ offense, however, as Kansas City faced a 3rd and 4. But those hopes were ruined, albeit temporarily, when defensive end Jabaal Sheard was called for a neutral zone infraction. The five-yard penalty gave the Chiefs a first down.
But then the tide started to turn a bit.
False start, Chiefs. 1st and 15.
Holding, Chiefs. 2nd and 24.
3rd and 20? Incomplete pass attempt from Patrick Mahomes towards tight end Travis Kelce.
Finally, for the first time all game, the Chiefs sent out Dustin Colquitt and the punt unit.
Time to make a play.
Linebacker Najee Goode, lined up in the interior of the line, busts his way past running back Darrel Williams, and goes unnoticed by protector Charcandrick West, whose attention is drawn elsewhere. That gives Goode a straight line towards Colquitt, and the seventh-year veteran executed a picture-perfect block, extending both of his hands out to directly affect the kick — while also staying out of the punter’s way.
Goode nearly did it all on this play, but the ball squirted out of his hands inside the five-yard line.
Fortunately for the Colts, fellow special teamer Zach Pascal and his trusty hands were there to fall on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.
Finally, Indianapolis was on the board, cutting Kansas City’s lead to 17-7 with 6:04 left in the first half.
The play was the first blocked punt in Colts postseason history since at least 1960. The last time the Colts blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown, meanwhile, was Dec. 12, 2010, vs. Dallas.
The rest of the game would follow more of a similar path to what occurred prior to this special teams play by the Colts, however, and Kansas City would advance to play host to next week’s AFC Championship Game with its 31-13 victory.