For this week's Throwback Thursday, I was planning on going back to a recent playoff success, the 2006 game against Kansas City to be more specifics. Why? To try and forget the sadness that is this season.
Before I started, though, I wanted to at least see if there was a playoff game that occurred on January 7, since that's today after all.
Yes, this week we'll be going back to the 1995 season (and therefore January 7, 1996) for the divisional round game against the Chiefs.
I think you're all well familiar with the regular season story of the 1995 Colts, and I've written about it plenty, so I won't get into it too much.
The Colts had reached the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but would be traveling on the road to face the defending AFC Champion Chargers on New Year's Eve.
The Chargers entered the playoffs as the 4th seed, so also a Wild Card team, but as the best non-division winner, the Charger would host a first round game. They were 9-7 as well, in case you were wondering.
At one point, the Chargers were 4-7, and almost for sure not going to reach the playoffs. A five game win streak (including a win in Indianapolis) secured a playoff berth and a home game for the Chargers.
They would meet Indianapolis, whom San Diego had beaten on the road two weeks prior. The Chargers were 5.5 point favorites to win.
The Colts, though, beat down the Chargers to the tune of a 35-20 victory, and they were on to Kansas City to face the top seeded 13-3 Chiefs.
The Chiefs were not only the top team in the AFC, but were the top team, record-wise, in the NFL as well.
Kansas City was two years removed from reaching the AFC Title game, and had reached the Wild Card round a year before, both times they were quarterbacked by Joe Montana.
In 1995, it was Steve Bono (also acquired from San Francisco) who was handed the starting role. In Bono's only full season as an NFL starter, he threw for 21 scores, 10 interceptions, and added another five touchdowns on the ground.
Also worth noting, in 1995 the Chiefs coaching staff included Marty Schottenheimer, Al Saunders, Paul Hackett, Mike McCarthy, Art Shell, and Gunther Cunningham.
Heading into the game, the Chiefs were an 8 point favorite over the Colts, and weren't expected to have much trouble with Indianapolis.
On a cold night (the air temperature was right around 0 degrees) points would be at a premium. The Chiefs scored first in the final minute of the first quarter when Bono found Lake Dawson for a 20 yard score to put the Chiefs up by 7.
The Colts responded with a long 18 play, 78 yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes off of the clock. The drive ended with quarterback Jim Harbaugh finding Floyd Turner for a touchdown to knot the game at 7.
Before the half, the Colts had another chance to score, but Cary Blanchard missed a 47 yard attempt to keep the game tied.
The teams traded interceptions to start the third quarter before Blanchard put a kick through the uprights from 30 yards, giving the Colts a 10-7 lead in Kansas City.
In the fourth, after another Bono interception, Blanchard has a chance to extend the Colts' lead. However, he missed another field goal, this time from 49 yards, to keep the Colts lead at only 3.
After his third interception, Bono was replaced by Rich Gannon (I can't recall if Bono was injured or if he was pulled). Gannon proceeded to lead the Chiefs on a clock-killing drive, leading them into field goal range with time expiring.
Then Chiefs kicker Lin Elliot missed a 42 yard kick, preserving the Colts victory, and sending the Chiefs home. It was the first of four times the Colts would knock the Chiefs out of the playoffs in the last 20 years (1995, 2004, 2006, and 2013).