Colts defense faces big challenge against Chiefs

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 19, 2013 at 2:08 am •  Published: December 19, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Robert Mathis described Jamaal Charles in many ways.

Explosive. Problem. Mismatch. Someone to track on every play.

He's seen it most of this week when dissecting all the scary film of the Chiefs, and the Colts linebacker and NFL sacks leader must come up with a way to stop the AFC's top runner.

Good luck.

"He can make you pay running the ball, passing the ball, whatever the case may be. He can make you pay," Mathis said.

Contending with Charles is only part of the problem Indianapolis (9-5) faces Sunday in what could be a playoff preview.

The AFC South champs are the No. 4 seed going into Sunday's games.

The Chiefs, still in contention for the AFC West crown, would be the No. 5 seed. If the standings are unchanged when the season ends, Kansas City will visit Indy for wild-card weekend.

With Charles in charge, the Chiefs (11-3) have been rolling. They've scored 101 points over the past two weeks against Washington and Oakland, defenses ranked 20th and 18th. The Colts are No. 19.

And after an inconsistent stretch in which the Colts went 3-3 and were outscored 114-24 in the first halves of those six games, they finally appeared to get back on track with Sunday's 25-3 win over reeling Houston, the front-runner for the No. 1 draft pick.

Now, people are waiting to see if the Colts can do it all over again against a playoff-bound foe with one of the league's premiere weapons.

"He's everything. He drives the bus. Quarterback is the guy, but everything goes through him. As he goes, they go," coach Chuck Pagano said of Charles. "The guy is first and foremost public enemy No. 1."

Injuries could make the challenge even more imposing.

Starting linebacker Pat Angerer went on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday. Angerer was third on the team with 87 tackles despite playing most of this season with a troublesome knee.

Kavell Conner, who was inactive for three consecutive games before Sunday, is expected to replace Angerer.

Two other starters, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot) and cornerback Greg Toler (groin), have not returned from their injuries.

Indy's makeshift offensive line is a mess, too. Starting center Samson Satele (elbow) and starting right guard Jeff Linkenbach (quad) did not practice Wednesday. Joe Reitz, who replaced the injured Linkenbach against the Texans, also didn't practice because he was diagnosed with a concussion.



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