Colts beat Chiefs 20-13 to clinch playoff berth

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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