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Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 20-17 Loss to the Colts

Here are four takeaways from the Chiefs' third game of the 2022 regular season.

Throughout the week, many expected the Kansas City Chiefs to come out firing against the Indianapolis Colts and jump out to an early lead. In dramatic fashion, however, things got off to a rocky start and didn't recover all the way.  

Special teams errors and a lack of sharp execution on offense (more on that later) limited Kansas City early in the game, and things never truly seemed to click in the first half. Nothing was going in half No. 2, either, and Andy Reid's team didn't do enough in the end to buckle down and secure a victory on the road. Despite a strong defensive performance, the Chiefs ended up losing by a final score of 20-17. 

Here are four takeaways from Sunday's game.

1. Special teams: not so special

In the first quarter alone, the Chiefs made five mistakes that cost them field position, points and everything in between. Whether it was Skyy Moore's muffed punt and uncertain second showing, Isiah Pacheco's lackluster decision-making on his first kickoff return, Chris Lammons overplaying a punt or Matt Ammendola missing an extra point attempt, Dave Toub's unit had arguably its worst act in years. 

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Aside from Tommy Townsend, Kansas City made things way more difficult than needed and not much improved throughout the game. A botched fake field goal attempt and a missed Ammendola field goal down the stretch also proved to be costly. That was far and away the biggest note from the game, and the Chiefs can rest assured knowing that they'll be placing plenty of focus on special teams this upcoming week.

2. No Willie, no (big) problem

Without linebacker Willie Gay Jr. (suspension), discussions about how much the Chiefs' linebacker room would struggle this week ran wild. On the contrary, though, the duo of Darius Harris and Nick Bolton played genuinely solid football on Sunday. Bolton made two splash plays in the second half and was reliable as usual, and Harris flew around the field while making his presence felt as a sure tackler. Things aren't going to get easier for Kansas City's defense moving forward but in a game with plenty of bright spots, Harris' No. 47 jersey jumped off the screen in a good way multiple times and his running mate kept up his consistent level of play. Thus far, the loss of Gay isn't proving to be detrimental. Unlike the rest of the team, the entire Chiefs defense put up an admirable effort in Indianapolis. 

3. It was a bad day for Chiefs running backs 

Pacheco's aforementioned special teams struggles were obvious, but he also failed to make much of an impact on offense. The same can be said about backup Jerick McKinnon, who was apparently even yelling at his teammates at times during the game. Aside from a couple of nice plays, Clyde Edwards-Helaire couldn't get out of his own way and failed to make the impact Kansas City had seen earlier in the season. The main postgame takeaway surrounding the Chiefs' running backs after Weeks 1 and 2 was about how dynamic the group can be this season, but it was anything but that against the Colts. 

4. Little mistakes add up over time

A lot of this applies primarily to special teams, but the Chiefs had shortcomings in other areas that also cost them the game. Chris Jones had a pivotal penalty on the Colts' final touchdown drive that led to Kansas City facing a deficit again, Andy Reid's late-game clock management with timeouts was poor, Travis Kelce dropped a fourth-quarter touchdown and Eric Bieniemy's contributions on play-calling duties were lackluster. When that's combined with a mediocre Patrick Mahomes game and even more mistakes elsewhere, the Chiefs will end up losing more often than not. They deserved to get beat by the Colts, and better opponents wouldn't have made it that close of a game in the end.