Colts vs. Chiefs 2013 final score: Indianapolis asserts itself in 23-7 win

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have struggled in recent weeks, but came up when it counted to beat the Chiefs at home.

Indianapolis and Kansas City are both destined for the playoffs, but the mood in each city flipped following a dominant 23-7 win by the Colts on Sunday.

The Colts have struggled in recent weeks, barely looking like a playoff contender -- let alone the AFC South winner. A series of embarrassing losses were erased with a signature win against one of the toughest opponents they've faced in 2013.

Indianapolis did an excellent job on defense, particularly in stopping Jamaal Charles, who was held under 100 yards until late in the fourth quarter. His first-quarter touchdown was the Chiefs' only score on Sunday, otherwise failing to do anything of note on offense. The ground game struggles caused the Chiefs to lean heavily on Alex Smith, who was unable to answer with his arm -- totaling 153 passing yards and two interceptions.

Andrew Luck was steady. There wasn't an abundance of deep passes, but there didn't need to be. He methodically led the Colts offense down the field, supported by running back Donald Brown, who finished with 79 yards rushing and a touchdown on 10 carries.

A normally stout Chiefs' pass rush was ineffective. Tamba Hali was held in check, while a unit without Justin Houston managed one sack on the day. This is a huge problem that will need to be addressed, with an early-season strength suddenly letting the team down.

The Chiefs were hoping to make an unlikely push for control in the AFC West, but their disappointing performance raises questions about how well-prepared this team is for the playoffs. Kansas City does not have the quarterback play needed to mitigate a struggling pass rush or an ineffective Charles, which could serve as their death knell in a few weeks.

Fantasy studs and duds

Charles was held in check, but still finished with 144 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.

Did they cover?

The Kansas City Chiefs were 6.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark. Their outright loss means they failed to cover.

What's next?

12/29: Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

12/29: Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers

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