Despite a productive day by their marquee quarterback, running back and wide receiver, the Colts didn't wrap up a 27-14 victory over Kansas City until Jeff Burris took an interception back 27 yards for a fourth-quarter TD.
"It was a huge interception," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "It was nice to finally get them put away."
A blitzing Cornelius Bennett was about to grab Elvis Grbac's arm when the Chiefs quarterback threw hurriedly and off his back foot, right into the arms of Burris.
Almost untouched, Burris ran 27 yards for the score that gave the Colts a 24-14 lead with 13:37 to play in the season opener.
Grbac, booed at the end of the game, admitted it was one play he would like to take back.
"Cornelius got my arm and it was just one of those plays I wish I could have gotten the ball off a little quicker," he said. "They came with what we call a dime blitz and it was probably the first time they did that in the game."
Until then, the defending AFC East champions led only 17-14 following Mike Vanderjagt's 23-yard field goal with 14:13 to play.
The Indianapolis Colts looked impressive in their season-opening win over the Kansas City Chiefs. (CBS SportsLine)
Starting right where they left off from last year's 13-3 regular-season campaign, the Colts got 124 yards and two scores from running back Edgerrin James and 115 receiving yards from Marvin Harrison.
But back-to-back turnovers wasted early scoring opportunities and allowed the Chiefs, who were winless in the preseason for the first time in franchise history and had not lost a home opener in 12 years, to stay in the game.
"It was going back and forth and then the turnovers," Chiefs linebacker Lew Bush said. "Unfortunately, that happened. The one good thing that we can look at is those are things we can correct."
Manning completed 22 of 32 passes for 273 yards and one TD, while James had 28 carries. Harrison, mercilessly picking on first-year starter Eric Warfield at left cornerback, had nine catches.
On the Colts' opening drive, Manning hit Harrison for gains of 14 and 31 yards, moving to the 3. But on first-and-goal, Marvcus Patton knocked the ball out of James' hands and James Hasty recovered for Kansas City on the 10.
After a quick Kansas City punt, Manning again had the Colts on the move until Donnie Edwards stepped in front of Harrison and intercepted on the Chiefs 34.
"I threw it right to the guy," Manning said. "It was like, `Here, Donnie, take it."'
At the end of the first quarter, the Colts had 136 net yards to 20 for the Chiefs. But the two turnovers kept the score 0-0 until Indianapolis managed an 11-play, 92-yard drive, capped by James' 1-yard TD dive early in the second quarter.
Tony Richardson's 7-yard touchdown catch brought the Chiefs even with 5:23 left in the half. A 24-yard pass interference penalty on Tyrone Poole gave the Chiefs a first down on the 14, then Richardson beat Peterson for the score.
Midway through the third, Manning hooked up with James on a screen pass that went 27 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Colts lead.
"One of the disappointing things was the screen pass," Cunningham said. "It's like a nightmare coming back."
The Chiefs, who have lost seven games in a row going back to last season and counting the four preseason losses, tied the score at 14 when Grbac found Derrick Alexander with a 21-yard TD pass late in the third.
Vanderjagt added a 40-yard field goal with 4:01 to play and ran his string to 28 in a row, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.
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