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Colts Can’t Hold a 17-Point Lead in 28-24 Loss to Chiefs

Curtis Painter had the help of Peyton Manning all day Sunday, but even that wasn’t enough to deliver a much needed win for the now 0-5 Colts. Sunday at home, Manning watched from the Colts’ sideline for the first time since August, but the Chiefs were able to rally anyway as the Colts fell 28-24.

Painter delivered the best performance of his three-year NFL career but still it was just short, as the defense allowed the Chiefs to mount a comeback.

“Having him (Manning) around with his experience and especially with this offense helps out a ton,” Painter said. “I think it is great for me, being somewhat of a younger quarterback, being able to come to the sideline and talk to a guy like that.”

Indy’s offense got plenty of advice throughout the game from Manning, who stayed a safe distance away from plays in his street clothes.

Painter’s impersonation of his mentor worked. He threw deep, ran the no-huddle offense and even had the fans on their feet after leading the Colts into the end zone three times in 30 minutes. He was 12 of 17 for 237 yards with two TDs and a near-perfect 152.2 rating in the half— numbers that would have made Manning proud.

But a series of second-half drops and a defensive collapse cost the Colts. Again.

Indy is 0-5 for the first time since 1997, has its first five-game losing streak in a decade and is one of three winless teams left in the NFL.

And this one wasn’t Painter’s fault.

“The offense was doing a great job in the first half, and we just kind of let down,” Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. “We blew this.”

Pierre Garcon had five catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

“Everything seemed to go right in the first half but we had about five plays in the third quarter and they had 10 first downs in that stretch,” said Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. “That really hurt us.”

Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe had seven receptions for a game-high 128 yards, none of them more spectacular than his five-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter to pull the Chiefs within 24-21.

With cornerback Jacob Lacey draped all over him, Bowe bobbled the ball but corralled it one-handed as he lost his balance in the right side of the end zone.

Breaston’s go-ahead touchdown, with 5:15 remaining, marked the first time the Chiefs led in the game. It came at the end of a nine-play, 54-yard drive, with Breaston easily catching a soft throw from Cassel while defender Chris Rucker had his back turned to the pass.

“They key with us is to stick with it and avoid a desire to hit the panic button,” said Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. “Sometimes that’s human nature and you think you need to do a little more than you actually do.”

Earlier, Painter did his best Manning impression while leading the Colts on three scoring drives in the first 18-plus minutes of the game for a 17-0 lead.

On an 80-yard drive to open the game, Painter connected with Reggie Wayne on passes of 19 and 26 yards before hitting Garcon for a six-yard touchdown.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a 53-yard field goal early in the second quarter and Painter hit a wide-open Garcon in stride on the right side of the field for a 67-yard touchdown on the first play of the Colts’ next possession, quickly making it 17-0.

“We did a good job of getting into a rhythm and made some plays in the first half. That gave us a lot of confidence,” said Painter. “Now we have to carry it over into the second half.”

The Chiefs also had a quick strike in them, pulling within 17-7 when QB Matt Cassel and Bowe hooked up for a 41-yard touchdown on the sixth play of a drive later in the second quarter.

The Colts replied, taking a 24-7 lead on Delone Carter’s three-yard touchdown run. The 80-yard drive was highlighted by Painter’s 23-yard pass to Austin Collie down to the Kansas City two-yard line.

Bowe’s 29-yard catch and Jackie Battle’s 15-yard run helped set up a Chiefs touchdown before halftime. Breaston scored on a 16-yard catch, diving to stretch the ball inside the left pylon to get KC within 24-14.

Battle rushed 19 times for 119 yards, while Breaston caught four passes for 50 yards.

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