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Colts beat Chiefs 20-13 to clinch playoff berth

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Colts beat Chiefs 20-13 to clinch playoff berth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Andrew Luck couldn't help but smile thinking about the joyous celebration taking place just down the hall, through the big metal doors marking the entrance to the Colts' locker room.

Even interim coach Bruce Arians had been dancing.

``It's a fun locker room, a great locker room,'' Luck said after leading Indianapolis to a 20-13 victory over Kansas City. ``You know guys are going to play hard no matter what the score, no matter what the situation, and I am very proud to be a part of a team like that.''

A team that's headed back to the playoffs, too.

Luck threw for 205 yards on Sunday, breaking Cam Newton's single-season mark for yards by a first-year quarterback. He also engineered the go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter, hitting Reggie Wayne on third-and-goal from the Kansas City 7 with just over 4 minutes remaining.

The touchdown pass finished off Luck's seventh four-quarter comeback this season, and allowed the Colts (10-5) to join the Miami Dolphins of 2008 as the only teams in NFL history to win at least 10 games one year after losing 14 or more.

``Would we have done it without him?'' Arians asked. ``No.''

Luck broke Newton's record of 4,051 yards passing in the second quarter, and then became the fifth rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win at least 10 games in a season.

``Obviously it's nicer to be in the playoffs,'' Luck said, ``but it's nice to have a couple records - which I'm sure will be broken in the next year.''

Don't be quite so sure.

Luck still has next Sunday's game against Houston to pile up numbers, and then comes a trip to the playoffs, where the Colts became a mainstay under his predecessor, Peyton Manning.

``We didn't want to slide in the backdoor and put the extra stress on a man having to win the next game,'' Luck said. ``So we are very glad to be going to the postseason.''

Arians will also get a reprieve from shouldering so much of the burden. Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who has undergoing treatment for leukemia, plans to rejoin the team this week.

Jamaal Charles ran for 226 yards for the Chiefs, including an 84-yard scamper on the first play of the second half as his team rallied to forge a 13-all tie entering the fourth quarter.

It was Charles' second 200-yard game of the season, and the third of his career, and came one week after he managed 10 yards on nine carries against Oakland.

``It was fun today, competing out there and doing it while we were trying to come back,'' Charles said. ``It was fun going out there and putting out a performance like that.''

Charles joined the Titans' Chris Johnson and former Lions great Barry Sanders as the only players with three runs of 80 or more yards in a season.

Peyton Hillis added 101 yards on the ground for the Chiefs (2-13), who finished with 352 yards rushing in a losing effort. A big reason why was Brady Quinn, who was just 10 of 22 for 162 yards with two interceptions through the air.

``This game was without a doubt, 100 percent on my shoulders,'' Quinn said. ``You can't play the way I played today and win a football game.''

His trouble began with the Chiefs' fifth offensive play, when he threw woefully behind Dexter McCluster - who wasn't even looking for the ball. Darius Butler picked off the pass in stride, and took it untouched 32 yards to give the Colts a 7-0 lead.

Kansas City managed a field goal by Ryan Succop, but he missed his next try and the Colts went the other direction to set up the first of Adam Vinatieri's two field goals.

Charles fumbled in the red zone later in the second quarter, and the Colts moved into Vinatieri's range for a 36-yard field goal and a 13-3 halftime lead.

Charles electrified a sparse crowd on the first play of the second half. He angled to the left and then found room down the sideline, cutting back toward the middle of the field and winning a foot-race with the Indianapolis defense for an 86-yard touchdown run.

The Chiefs were in position to take the lead later in the third quarter, but Quinn was picked off by Vontae Davis in the end zone. The defense forced a three-and-out and Kansas City was driving again before settling for Succop's tying 47-yard field goal.

The Chiefs got the ball back again late in the fourth quarter, but Quinn was stuffed on a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches from the Indianapolis 27.

That turned the ball over to Luck, who completed an 11-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton to convert a third down before he and Wayne won it.

``At times it looked a little bleak,'' Arians said. ``Guys hung in there, made plays when they had to make them. Offensively we struggled, and then put together a drive, like we have all year.''

NOTES: Chiefs WR Terrance Copper (left knee) and DT Tyson Jackson (left foot) left with injuries. ... Wayne had five catches to become the fifth player in NFL history with four 100-catch seasons. He also became the 14th player to reach 13,000 yards receiving.

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With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

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With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

This was one of the most interesting weeks the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in a very long time.

Coming off three-straight losses and preparing to face division rivals with their season on the line, their starting quarterback was likely out with an injury, their backup spent an afternoon in the hospital with a stomach illness and job security was the buzz around town. 

But when the clock read one at M&T Bank Stadium and it was do-or-die, two rookies took their team and carried them to a win, literally and figuratively. 

In his NFL start, first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson was 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts.

All afternoon long we were in awe of his speed, and probably at times nervous, by just how confident the rookie was in taking the game into his own hands.

"I thought he played spectacular," head coach John Harbaugh said after the win. "I thought he played winning football. It's tough being a quarterback in this league."

"For a first-time-out rookie in an environment like that...All those operation things, I think, speak to his intelligence, his studiousness, and just his ability to run the show. And that's everything. The playmaking — that comes from God. He made use of that, too. Very proud of that."

Jackson hasn't been one to put his feelings into many words, and in the week leading up to his NFL start, the Heisman Trophy winner continuously remained humble.

When asked how it felt to lead the Ravens to a 24-21 win over the Bengals, Jackson said, "I don't know. Come out with a win. It was pretty good, I guess."

On the Ravens' opening drive, Jackson rushed five times for 46 yards while converting two third downs that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run from Alex Collins. The QB is so fast that according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Jackson reached 15+ mph on 14 rushing attempts. No other player has hit 15+ mph on more than nine rushing attempts this season. 

Plus, his 27 carries were the most by a quarterback in an NFL game since Pittsburgh Steelers' Joe Geri's in 1950. 

"I think he brings a different dynamic to the game. As you can tell, our offense looks totally different, obviously from when Joe [Flacco] is in. It's hard for defenses to game plan for Lamar. And I think that shows with Gus [Edwards] having 100 yards as well. It's good to see, and it's a great win."

That brings us to our next rookie speedster; Gus Edwards.

The undrafted free agent out of Rutgers put up 115 rushing yards on 17 attempts averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry and one touchdown.

"I've got a great coaching staff," Edwards said on getting his big chance and playing well. "I've got a great group of veteran running backs [that] told me to always be prepared, from day one when I came in here, they told me what it was going to be like. This game, a lot of things played into it, and you;you've always got to be ready."

The last time the Ravens had two 100+ rushers in a single game was December 23, 2012 against the New York Giants when Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce ran for 107 and 123 yards respectively. Sunday also marked the first time in NFL history that a team had a rookie quarterback and running back each surpass 100 rushing yards in a game, per Elias Sports Bureau.

For a team that had many daunting questions surrounding them just a week ago, two young bloods came out and managed to change the aura in the city of Baltimore, at least for now. 

"It's just a confidence builder to be honest," Willie Snead said on having a quarterback like Jackson. "When we were running the ball how we were, it just gives us so much momentum and a lot of flexibility to do what we want. It was awesome to see that today, and [we] look forward to keep doing it."

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What a rush: Lamar Jackson ran for 117 yards in win

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What a rush: Lamar Jackson ran for 117 yards in win

The opening drive set the tone.

Stepping on the field for the first time as a starting quarterback in the NFL, Lamar Jackson led the Ravens on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown to get the team out to an early 7-0 lead over the Bengals.

In that drive, the rookie from Louisville did not attempt one pass. His legs did the work as he rushed for 46 yard on five carries. 

That was the type of day it was for Jackson. While his passing numbers (13-19, 150 yards, 1 INT) were pedestrian, the 117 yards rushing are what left the Ravens fans and the Bengals defense with their heads on a swivel.

Showing the lighting quickness that help make a name for himself in college and made him such an intriguing prospect coming into this year’s draft, Jackson was the team’s leading rusher in the much-needed, come-from-behind 24-21 win over the Bengals.

It was clear head coach John Harbaugh and his staff came into the game with a run-first game plan. Jackson’s 117 yards, along with Gus Edwards’ 115 yards led the way for Baltimore’s 265 yards rushing on the day. 

Jackson got the start in place of Joe Flacco who was sidelined due to a hip injury.

While Jackson has seen time on the field in various offensive packages this season, his first start and win as an NFL quarterback came at a crucial time for the Ravens as the playoff race is heating up. 

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