Chiefs, Johnson set for wildcard game

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 3, 2014

Tomorrow afternoon, Andalusia native Nico Johnson will once again participate in the postseason.

The Kansas City Chiefs will travel to play Indianapolis in the AFC Wild Card game at Lucas Oil Stadium to start the NFL’s annual playoff season, which culminates at the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Johnson’s no stranger to playing in the postseason.

While at Alabama, he played in three BCS National Championships during his freshman, junior and senior seasons, along with playing in the Capital One Bowl as a sophomore.

“We look forward to the challenge of playing the Colts,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We’re in the playoffs now. It’s two good football teams playing each other.”

The last time the Chiefs were in the playoffs was in 2010. KC lost 30-7 to the Baltimore Ravens in the wildcard to bring its playoff record to 8-14.

Johnson, who has played sparingly on the field this season, showed that he is capable of playing well against good teams.

In Sunday’s 27-24 overtime loss to San Diego, Johnson racked up seven tackles — 5 solo, 2 assists — in a game where a lot of players who haven’t started much this season got their chance on the field.

The last time the Chiefs played the Colts was on Dec. 22. Kansas City lost big time 23-7.

Reid said in the loss, his team gave up too many “big plays,” along with turnovers.

“They’ll have their wrinkles for us (tomorrow afternoon), and we’ll have our wrinkles for them,” the coach said. “The basic fundamentals on both sides will remain the same.”

Even though Johnson is new to the NFL playoffs, the Chiefs have veterans who have recorded plenty of playing time in the postseason.

Reid said no matter what kind of experience a player has in the playoffs, all need to “prepare” the same way.

“I think it’s helpful if you’ve been there,” Reid said. “That doesn’t mean you can’t be functional if you haven’t been there. It comes down to how you prepare yourself. You go in and study the opponent, and the game plan and you get yourself ready, whether you’re a veteran or new to the playoffs.”

Kick off tomorrow afternoon is at 3:35 and the game will be broadcast on NBC.