INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis allowed one postseason-clinching chance to slip away at Houston.
It doesn't intend to let the same thing happen again at Kansas City.
It's the playoffs. This is the playoffs, interim coach Bruce Arians said before Wednesday's practice began.
For the Colts (9-5), this is a rare second chance in a league where players and teams risk being left behind any time they miss an opportunity.
Just ask the Chicago Bears, 7-1 at midseason and now fighting just to make the playoffs. Or the Baltimore Ravens, who were in contention to earn the AFC's top seed three weeks ago. Or quarterback Alex Smith, who led San Francisco to last year's NFC championship game and a 6-2-1 record this season before losing his starting job to Colin Kaepernick.
It's a simple scenario for the Colts.
Indy makes it in with a win over the Chiefs or in the season-finale against Houston (12-2) or if the Steelers (7-7) lose one of their two remaining games — Sunday at Cincinnati (8-6) or the final week against Cleveland (5-9).
The Colts are not looking back after making a historic turnaround.
They didn't complain when team owner Jim Irsay and new general manager Ryan Grigson started over in March by cutting team captains Peyton Manning and Gary Brackett, letting Jeff Saturday and Pierre Garcon walk away in free agency and opting to rebuild through the draft and with a handful of players who needed another chance to prove they belonged in the NFL.
They ignored the critics who pegged them as the league's worst team in training camp and projected three wins at best. They didn't despair after returning from a bye week and were told coach Chuck Pagano was taking an indefinite leave after being diagnosed with leukemia.
So they're sure not going to let the 29-17 loss at Houston linger.
Instead, they're focused on their next task — beating the reeling Chiefs (2-12), who have barely averaged 10 points per game and were shut out in Oakland last weekend.
There's a playoff spot at stake, so it's win or go home, outside linebacker Robert Mathis said. We can't go out and lay an egg like we did last week.
1 p.m. Sunday