Ravens

Quick Links

Colts beat Chiefs 20-13 to clinch playoff berth

201212231231450694086-p2.jpeg

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.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

If Steelers fans are allowed into Heinz Field this season, they'll have to wear a mask

If Steelers fans are allowed into Heinz Field this season, they'll have to wear a mask

If fans are permitted to attend Pittsburgh Steelers home games this fall, there's one item they can't forget: a mask.

Steelers' director of communication, Burt Lauten, explained the decision to require fans to wear a mask in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to still have fans at Heinz Field this year with the understanding that social distancing, as well as all fans being required to wear masks, will play a role in the capacity to ensure a safe atmosphere," Lauten said, via ESPN. "We will continue to work with the NFL and public health officials to finalize plans for fans to attend our home games."

Pittsburgh was one of the first franchises to alter its ticketing plans this season, as they decided in May to trim half of their individual game ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news comes just hours after their AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens, announced that M&T Bank Stadium will be capped at less than 14,000 fans this fall, should fans be allowed to attend games.

RELATED: NFL PROPOSED PAY CUT FOR PLAYERS

In June, The Athletic reported that the NFL will not place a limit on capacity at games, allowing each individual team to make the decision themselves.

"Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing," an anonymous NFL source told The Athletic. "It will not be a one size fits all."

Additionally, the NFL has said that the first 6-8 rows of lower bowl sections, including field-level suites, will be blocked off this fall to help slow the spread of the virus. Those sections will be covered with tarps, which teams can use to sell advertising, similarly to what the Premier League in England has done.

With training camp still a few weeks away, there are a lot of virus-related questions the NFL must answer beforehand.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO SPORTS UNCOVERED

Stay connected to the Ravens with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Stephen A. Smith and ESPN poll leave Lamar Jackson out of top four quarterbacks

Stephen A. Smith and ESPN poll leave Lamar Jackson out of top four quarterbacks

Despite his 2019 MVP season, many NFL experts still aren’t convinced that Lamar Jackson is the league’s best.

In a debate with Domonique Foxworth on ESPN’s First Take on Monday, Stephen A. Smith shared his top-five quarterbacks in the NFL, slotting the reigning MVP fifth overall. 

Two days later, ESPN released a poll conducted with 50 NFL personnel to rank the top 10 quarterbacks in the league this season. Jackson was ranked sixth behind Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Drew Brees.

But after the record-breaking season the Ravens quarterback had –– a performance that earned him the league’s top individual honor –– how can so many still doubt his ability to succeed?

Smith cited two faults of Jackson’s game to justify his claim –– passing inability and playoff performance.

“There was a guy that ran the football very, very effectively, matter of fact as a quarterback led the team to have one if not the top-rated run attacks in football,” Smith said. “That would happen to be Tim Tebow when he was with the Denver Broncos. But what did I repeatedly say about my friend? He couldn’t throw the football at the NFL level. I never believed it, and that was a problem.”

Smith referenced Tebow’s rise and fall in the NFL and credited his inability to find longevity as a starting quarterback to his inconsistent and inaccurate arm –– something Jackson similarly struggles with.

RELATED: CHRIS SIMMS RANKS LAMAR JACKSON FIFTH

The Ravens led the league in rushing offense and ranked second in total offense but earned just the 27th spot in passing offense. Jackson ranked eighth in completion percentage among all quarterbacks but first in rushing yards and sixth in rushing yards among all players. For Smith, this discrepancy does not warrant Jackson a top-two quarterback spot.

“No one can run the football like Lamar Jackson. Nobody,” Smith said. “Not at the quarterback position in the NFL. We know that. That’s just on another level. But in terms of throwing the football, even though he’s had his moments, and he definitely improved in accuracy in terms of completing 66 percent of his passes last season, I don’t think he can throw the football like Deshaun Watson.”

Smith referenced Watson and a number of other quarterbacks higher on his list like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees and praised their accuracy, leadership and veteran play, which earned them the spots ahead of Jackson.

In addition to the issues with Jackson’s arm, Smith also believed his playoff performance holds him back. Jackson posted an 0-2 record in his first two playoff performances, falling to the Chargers in 2018 and the Titans in 2019. 

Overall in his career, he completes 63.7% of his passes and posts a 4.66 TD/INT ratio. On the other hand, during the playoffs, he completed 51.1% of his passes and posted a 1.0 TD/INT ratio.

As Smith noted while he did improve from a 48% completion rate to 52% in the playoffs this year, he will not reach an elite level of play until he can perform in the postseason.

While Smith was certainly skeptical of Jackson’s ability to succeed in the league long-term, he still understood the hype.

“I’ll tell you this though, he is top-two box office. He might even be number one.”

MORE RAVENS NEWS: