INDIANAPOLIS – Something was said. Something consequential.
But nobody’s fessing up.
One of the pivotal plays in the Indianapolis Colts’ 20-17 come-from-behind win over Kansas City Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium occurred after the Chiefs sacked Matt Ryan for the fifth time as the Colts were driving for the go-ahead score.
After Nick Bolton got to Ryan for an 8-yard sack on 3rd-and-6 with 5 minutes remaining, Chiefs’ defensive end Chris Jones was on top of Ryan. They got to their feet and exchanged words.
As the Colts’ punt team was coming on the field, the officials flagged Jones for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“It was abusive language towards an opponent,” referee Shawn Smith said in a pool report.
He declined to elaborate.
“It was just abusive language, nothing more than that,” Smith said.
The principles also weren’t offering any clarity.
“I didn’t say anything vulgar or disrespectful, but I just can’t say anything within the heat of the moment,” Jones said. “I was frustrated that I got called. I don’t think it was anything horrendous, but the official called it and I can’t take it back.
“I thought we were having a conversation with one another, but you never know what the official has seen. He could have heard something that was loud, so I just have to do a better job of playing football.
“Listen, I’ve never been flagged for talking or having a conversation, but the game is evolving, man.”
Ryan was asked what Jones said to him.
“I don’t really know,” he said.
Did Jones say a secret word?
“He said something, yeah. He was saying something.”
It was mentioned Ryan knew what was said, but wasn’t going to share it with the media.
“Yeah, pretty much,” he said with a laugh.
Given a restart to the possession, Ryan drove the Colts to a 12-yard touchdown to rookie tight end Jelani Woods with 24 seconds remaining.
Big day for Woods
Jelani Woods grew up in Ellenwood, Ga., roughly 14 miles from Atlanta. He was a big fan of Matt Ryan, the long-time face of the Atlanta Falcons.
Sunday, they collaborated on a pair of touchdown passes: a 1-yarder that gave the Colts a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and a 12-yarder in the final minute that completed the dramatic comeback. They were the first catches of Woods’ NFL career. He’s the Colts’ first rookie tight end with two receiving TDs in a game since John Mackey in 1963.
“It means a lot,” the 3rd-round draft pick said of his two TDs from Ryan. ” know all my friends, all my family are going crazy right now. Growing up (near Atlanta), having that moment, winning a game catching a pass from him is a dream come true for me.
“It feels good to be able to contribute to the team as much as possible. Just when my number is called, I try to make a play.”
It was pointed out to Ryan that the winning TD was a 37-year-old QB hitting a 23-year-old tight end, and that Woods grew up following him.
“I’m quite comfortable with where I’m at,” Ryan said. “It’s cool, it really is. For him growing up in Atlanta, I mean, it’s weird for me because I never knew him.
“But that’s a lot of his experience of growing up and I’ve just tried to treat him like a teammate, like one of the guys. He’s been awesome. He’s a great kid. He works extremely hard, super confident. But it is cool to play with a guy that grew up being a fan of yours.”
Big day from Pierce
Woods wasn’t the only Colt rookie coming away with his first NFL catch.
Alec Pierce, a 2nd-rounder, finished with three catches for 61 yards on five targets. He had no catches on two targets in the opening tie at Houston and missed last week’s loss at Jacksonville with a concussion.
Pierce’s contributions included a stretching 14-yard reception with just over 1 minute remaining that gave the Colts a 1st-and-10 at the Kansas City 12.
After Pierce was unable to pull in a Ryan pass on the next play, Ryan hooked up with Woods with the game-winning TD.
“Yeah, big day for Alec,” Frank Reich said. “Good day for two rookie skill players.”
Big day for D
Gus Bradley’s defense came up big against Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs offense that came into the game ranked 5th in total yards and 3rd in scoring.
Mahomes passed for 262 yards and one TD, but frequently was harassed. Yannick Ngakoue came up with the Colts’ lone sack and was credited with another QB hit. DeForest Buckner had two QB hits.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone rush Mahomes that well,” Reich said. “Even though it might have only been one sack, but we had him on the run.”
The Chiefs were held to season lows in points and yards (315). The run defense limited them to 58 yards on 23 attempts with a long of 10.
Kansas City converted just 3-of-10 times on third down and was 1-of-2 on fourth down.
This and that
Michael Pittman Jr., who missed the loss at Jacksonville with a quadriceps injury, led the Colts with eight receptions and 72 yards. . . . Linebacker Zaire Franklin had a team-best 12 tackles, including eight solos.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.