INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts opened with consecutive three-and-out possessions at Kansas City before snapping 22 plays and gaining 111 net yards on their next two drives.
After one made and missed field goal, Indianapolis was trailing, 7-3, when it forced a fumble from the Chiefs' Knile Davis.
With second-and-10 from the Kansas City 33, the Colts had thrown on seven straight plays in the quarter and had pass calls on 20-of-27 plays to that point.
Even with a mobile Andrew Luck, this looked like a sure passing play from the shotgun, and Donald Brown released late in the play.
Luck went through progressions before dumping the ball off to Brown, and the fifth-year back virtually had a clear path to the end zone.
Here is a look why the play worked.
Andrew Luck is in the shotgun with Da'Rick Rogers (#16) split wide left, T.Y. Hilton (#13) in the left slot and Griff Whalen (#17) wide right. Donald Brown (#31) was to Luck's right, and it was a standard offensive line set with tight end Coby Fleener (#80) lined up on the right.
Kansas City had end Tyson Jackson (#94) over right guard Mike McGlynn (#75), with tackle Dontari Poe (#92) over center Samson Satele (#64). Linebacker Frank Zombo (#51) was split outside tight end Fleener, while linebacker Tamba Hali (#91) was outside left tackle Anthony Castonzo (#74).
Derrick Johnson (#56) was the third LB in the set and played four yards off the line in the gap between Castonzo and left guard Xavier Nixon.
With six defensive backs deployed, corner Brandon Flowers (#24) was on Whalen, Dunta Robinson (#21) was on Hilton and Sean Smith (#27) was on Rogers. Quentin Demps (#35) and Eric Berry (#29) were on the left side of the Kansas City formation off the scrimmage line, while Kendrick Lewis (#23) had deepest coverage 16 yards off the scrimmage line between the hashmarks (the ball was on the right hash).
PRIOR TO THE SNAP
Luck motioned and Whalen moved toward the set by about five steps. Flowers stepped off direct coverage of Whalen. Berry moved up toward the line to cover Fleener, meaning Zombo likely would blitz. Satele and McGlynn appeared to change the protection on the line.
AT THE SNAP
Rogers ran 20 yards straight ahead toward the goal-line, while Hilton cut toward the left sideline after 13 yards. Their respective defenders played man coverage.
Fleener released immediately and ran a 12-yard curl-in, while Whalen dragged to the left across the formation about three yards beyond the scrimmage line.
Flowers followed Whalen loosely and in the direction of Johnson.
Hali and Zombo both rushed, but were picked up cleanly by Castonzo and Cherilus.
Berry stayed on Fleener, while Demps looked responsible for containment on Luck and moved to his right to get in the line of a possible throw.
Brown released from the formation at the same time as Fleener's and Hilton's cuts and was left uncovered. A pump fake left by Luck an eyelash prior to Brown's release cleared the right side of the field.
Brown caught the ball at the 33 with his back to the defense and outside the right hashmark by a few yards. When he turned to run, only Lewis and Berry had any chance to catch him, and they both were between the hashes.
Brown slightly paused near the 23 to allow Fleener to set up a block. Fleener shielded Berry outside the 10-yard line and moved Lewis out of the play at the eight.
Brown had enough elusiveness to break a late lunging arm tackle attempt by Berry.