KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After a haphazard performance filled with penalties and turnovers, the Kansas City Chiefs had every reason to feel glum about a potential playoff rematch with the Indianapolis Colts.
Veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson was taking a decidedly different approach.
"They've got the upper hand on us right now because in their minds, they think they can beat us," he said after the Chiefs' 23-7 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday. "If we go down there, it will be a different story. But we've got to fight our way back."
Jamaal Charles ran for 106 yards and the game's first score, but the Chiefs (11-4) didn't do much the rest of the way. Instead, Andrew Luck threw for 241 yards, and Donald Brown had TDs on the ground and through the air as the Colts (10-5) scored the game's final 23 points.
Alex Smith threw for 153 yards, but he fumbled once and was picked off twice after throwing just six interceptions his first 14 games. Knile Davis also fumbled the ball away for Kansas City.
"I think it was a team effort in not a very good way," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "You can't pull your foot off the accelerator when you go out that quick. You have to keep going."
The Chiefs vowed to do that if the teams meet again in two weeks.
Kansas City is assured of the No. 5 seed in the playoffs after Denver beat Houston earlier Sunday to wrap up the AFC West and the No. 1 seed. That means the Chiefs would head to Lucas Oil Stadium for a wild-card game if the Colts end up as the No. 4 seed.
"I know we'll have some motivation. Definitely," Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said. "They might think we're one team, but we'll be back in a couple of weeks."
Early on, the Chiefs appeared as if they were going to pick up right where they left off last week, when they hung 56 points on the Raiders. They marched downfield on the opening drive, and Charles took a carry around the right side 31 yards for a touchdown.
The Colts defense stiffened after that, though, and the closest Kansas City came to scoring again in the first half came when Ryan Succop yanked a 47-yard field goal wide left.
"Anytime you can play the type of game we played today, against a playoff team in a hostile environment, it speaks to the character of our football team," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "They stick to the process and stay focused on the process."