Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 18, 2013

Colts defense faces big challenge against Chiefs

INDIANAPOLIS — Robert Mathis describes 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 now 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 currently the No. 4 seed, while 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 last 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.

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