INDIANAPOLIS - The Kansas City Chiefs wanted to ride their workhorse, Larry Johnson, right through the playoffs. The NFL's worst run defense never gave him a chance.
Johnson, the league's second-leading rusher, carried 13 times for only 32 yards Saturday, his second-worst performance of the season, and predictably the Chiefs were sent home with a 23-8 loss at Indianapolis.
Most expected Johnson vs. the Colts to be a huge mismatch.
It was, but the Colts (13-4) were a surprising lopsided winner.
With Indianapolis stacking eight or nine defenders at the line of scrimmage from the start, Johnson found few cracks. On the rare occasions when there was a hole, the Colts used quick pursuit to track him down.
His longest run of the day went for six yards, and with Johnson stuck in neutral, the Chiefs' offense went nowhere. Kansas City (9-8) failed to get a first down in the first half, the first time that's happened in an NFL playoff game since 1960. The Chiefs went on to lose their sixth consecutive playoff game.
Johnson's ineffectiveness also made it rough for Trent Green, who completed only two of seven passes for two yards in the first half. He was sacked four times on the day, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.
This season, Johnson carried a league-record 416 times and broke his own franchise record with 1,789 yards.
But on Saturday he looked ordinary, hesitant and beleaguered against a defense that had allowed each of its first 16 opponents to rush for at least 100 yards.