INDIANAPOLIS— In closing out the regular season this December, the Colts were hoping to build momentum for a potential playoff run.
Sunday's performance was a gargantuan step in that direction.
Thanks to a ball-control attack and an opportune defense, the Colts (10-5) dominated the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) with a 23-7 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.
A pair of stats the Chiefs had controlled all season long were nowhere to be found on Sunday.
The Chiefs came into Sunday fifth in the NFL in time of possession but it was the Colts holding the ball for nearly 17 minutes longer than Kansas City.
The Chiefs came into Sunday leading the NFL in committing just 14 turnovers but it was the Colts forcing four game-changing plays and thwarting numerous Kansas City drives.
After an opening drive touchdown for the Chiefs, the Colts clamped down on the defensive side of the ball.
On the next 10 drives, the Chiefs punted five times, committed four turnovers and missed a field goal at the end of the first half.
Jerrell Freeman continued his stellar season with three turnovers (two interceptions and one forced fumble). Freeman deservedly earned a game ball from Chuck Pagano after the 23-7 win.
The other game ball given out found the hands of Donald Brown.
Battling a stinger injury all week, Brown ripped off touchdowns via a 51-yard run and a 33-yard catch on the afternoon.
Andrew Luck orchestrated the ball-control offense with an efficient afternoon. Luck was 26-of-37 for 241 yards and one touchdown.
Luck found nine different receivers on Sunday with Griff Whalen (seven catches for 80 yards) pacing the group.
A beat up Colts offensive line (the fourth different starting unit in the last four weeks), gave Luck ample time to throw against one of the best defensive fronts.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri was three-for-four on field goals in frigid conditions. Vinatieri has now set a new single-season career-high with 32 made field goals.
Indianapolis closes out the 2013 regular season with a home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The Colts have now beaten four teams with double-digit wins on the year including multiple possession road victories in San Francisco and Kansas City.
FIRST QUARTER (11:05 remaining)
After the Colts went three-and-out to start the game, Jamaal Charles struck with a 31-yard touchdown run. The Chiefs touchdown was set up by a 25-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster. Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop hit the extra point. Chiefs 7, Colts 0
SECOND QUARTER (11:40 remaining)
Thanks to some chunk plays from Griff Whalen, the Colts got on the board with a 46-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri. For the game Whalen and rookie receiver Da'Rick Rogers have combined for 6 catches and 85 receiving yards. Chiefs 7, Colts 3
SECOND QUARTER (9:23 remaining)
The Colts first touchdown of the day was set up by Cory Redding pouncing on a Knile Davis fumble. With ideal field position, the Colts offense struck. Andrew Luck found his check down in Donald Brown and the veteran running back went 33 yards for the touchdown. Vinatieri made the extra point. Colts 10, Chiefs 7
SECOND QUARTER (1:54 remaining)
Kicking into a stiff wind, Vinatieri booted yet another long field goal. His 45-yarder has tied a single-season career-high of 31 made field goals for the 18-year veteran. The field goal came thanks to a 31-yard reception by T.Y. Hilton and Trent Richardson's six-yard rush on a fourth-and one. Colts 13, Chiefs 7
THIRD QUARTER (12:55 remaining)
Add another play to the Robert Mathis Defensive Player of the Year resume. Mathis hit Alex Smith as he was throwing and Jerrell Freeman came down with the interception. From there, it was Donald Brown breaking free again. Brown tip toed down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown run. Vinatieri converted the extra point. Colts 20, Chiefs 7
THIRD QUARTER (2:47 remaining)
Vinatieri kicked his third field goal of the day, this one from 30 yards out to keep the momentum. It was a 15-play drive that ate up 7:50 off the third quarter clock thanks to a pair of Chiefs penalties on third-down. Colts 23, Chiefs 7