Adam Vinatieri certainly heard the boo birds at the RCA Dome. With an announced crowd of 57,294, how could he not?

After missing two field goal attempts in the first half of Sunday’s 13-10 win over Kansas City, Vinatieri — who was mired in the worst slump of his NFL career with four consecutive misfires — battled back to knock down two kicks, including the 24-yard game winner with three seconds remaining in the game.

Thought to be the league’s best clutch kicker, the 12-year league veteran — who had not missed four consecutive field goal attempts since his rookie year in 1996 — could understand the anger of the fans. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t too pleased himself after two pretty tough weeks.

“Well, you know, you go out there and perform every single time you step on the field and hopefully there are cheers at the end,” Vinatieri said in a crowded Colts’ locker room after the game. He didn’t attempt to use any excuses for missing the kicks against the Chiefs, trying to discount postgame reports of a sore left leg.

“Ten weeks into the season, there’s probably a lot of guys who are dinged up a little bit. We try to do everything we can to get back on the field and try to be productive. That’s really all I have to say about that,” he said. “I’m fine. The misses are because I missed, not because I’ve got anything that’s keeping me off the field. I’m going to be out there doing the best I can to help the team win.”

After a further review of both misses, it appeared as if his first attempt — from 49 yards away in the first quarter — was tipped. Vinatieri’s second kick was just a misfire on his part.

“The first one got tipped and the second one I just missed,” he said, adding that he may have tried to overcompensate for missing the first game of the game. “You start thinking about going faster and let your mind screw with you a little bit. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help any time. You have to put those behind you and move on and hopefully get another opportunity later on.”

n Defense liked the game — There wasn’t much scoring in Sunday’s win over the Chiefs. But that’s all right with several members of an Indianapolis defensive unit that continues to play well.

“This was a defensive game,” defensive end Robert Mathis said afterward. “The crowd probably didn’t like it. And you [media] guys probably didn’t like it. But these are the kind of games that you really like to play in.”

Mathis had one of the Colts’ two sacks on the day, forcing a fumble by Kansas City quarterback Brodie Croyle in the process. Defensive tackle Raheem Brock, who saw some work back at his old defensive end position, had the other sack.

With three-time Pro Bowl performer Dwight Freeney missing from his normal defensive end spot due to a season-ending foot injury, backup Josh Thomas got the start. But Brock and recently signed defensive end Simeon Rice also took turns there in the defensive line rotation.

“I thought Simeon did okay. He’s still getting his feet wet,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “This really wasn’t his type of game. But I thought that he did a pretty good job for the most part.”

Rice agreed.

“I’m getting comfortable,” he said. “It’s similar to what I’m accustomed to. It’s just playing and getting in the play patterns. Things are coming along real well for me.”

• Injuries are not an excuse — The Colts played without two offensive starters — wide receiver Marvin Harrison (knee) and offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (neck) — at the beginning of the game and lost two more (offensive tackle Ryan Diem and wide receiver Aaron Moorehead) during the course of the day.

Diem re-tweaked his sore ankle while Moorehead was hit hard in the back after he attempted to catch a pass. Neither injury was considered to be serious. Moorehead has had a problem with back spasms in the past. Offensive tackle Daniel Federkeil (concussion) also missed the game.

Defensively, Indianapolis was without Freeney (foot), strongside linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (neck) and cornerbacks Dante Hughes (shoulder) and Tim Jennings (upper leg).

“[Injuries] are one thing that we don’t use as an excuse. We have the old quote, ‘It is what it is’ and there is really no surprises as to who isn’t going to play on Sunday,” quarterback Peyton Manning said after the game.

“We kind of know all week who is not going to play, so you have to practice and get some guys ready and you’ve got to find a way to make it work with whoever is out there. That is something that we don’t point to, obviously. Every week you hope you get a lot of your players back just for the sake of getting them on the field. You would like everybody to have a chance to play. We still need to make it work with the guys that are out there.”

n Quick turnaround — Indianapolis must now prepare for Thursday evening’s nationally televised road game — the Thanksgiving night special — against the Atlanta Falcons. The Colts will have only a day and a half to prepare for the Falcons, leaving on Wednesday after a short workout. They are expected to be off today.

“You get one day off, rest a little bit and enjoy the victory,” middle linebacker Gary Brackett said. “Then you come back to work Tuesday and get ready for Atlanta.”

Safety Bob Sanders knows that it won’t be easy.

“We’re going to enjoy this [win] and move on and start preparing. It’s going to be a short week. Everybody knows it and we got to make sure we’re ready.

“Coming into this week, we know that we had to get back and get a streak started on every side of the ball. We wanted to play well,” Sanders said.

The Atlanta game will only be televised on the NFL Network and in both team’s home markets on over-the-air stations. Channel 13, WTHR, will carry the game live from the Georgia Dome for Indianapolis fans. Those outside the area will not be able to see the game unless they have NFL Network or go someplace that does.

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