Kansas City, MO – What a difference a year makes.
This time last season, the Indianapolis Colts were on their way to a 2-14 campaign. The team parted ways with Peyton Manning in the offseason, then selected Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
By going with Luck, the Colts have made it back to the playoffs.
Luck's 7-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne with 4:08 remaining lifted Indianapolis over the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-13, and the Colts locked up the AFC's fifth seed.
Luck completed 17-of-35 passes for 205 yards for the Colts (10-5), who have won four of five. The Stanford product broke Cam Newton's single-season rookie passing record late in the second quarter with a 23-yard pass to fellow rookie T.Y. Hilton. Luck has thrown for 4,183 yards this season.
Wayne caught five passes for 81 yards for Indianapolis, which could get head coach Chuck Pagano back for its regular-season finale against Houston next week. Bruce Arians has been filling in for Pagano, who underwent treatment for leukemia.
"Mission accomplished. That's all I can say," Arians said about extending the season for Pagano. "It's a fantastic feeling. Without getting emotional again, knowing that he's going to be back Monday, and the work week shouldn't be as stressful."
Brady Quinn connected on 10-of-22 passes for 162 yards and two interceptions for the Chiefs (2-13), who play at Denver next week.
"The guys made a good effort today but we came up short," said Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.
Jamaal Charles carried the ball 22 times for 226 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City, which racked up 507 yards of total offense. Peyton Hillis rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries.
With the scored tied at 13, the Colts took over at their own 27 with 10:13 to play. Hilton caught an 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-4 to keep the drive alive. Wayne hauled in a screen pass and sprinted 18 yards to the Kansas City 39. He caught a 12-yard pass a few plays later to put the ball in the red zone. Faced with a 3rd-and-goal from the 7, Luck found Wayne in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
The Chiefs went three-and-out and decided to punt. Vick Ballard sealed the Colts' 10th playoff appearance in 11 seasons with a 13-yard run on 3rd-and-10.
Indianapolis' defense came up with a big play early in the first quarter. Darius Butler picked off Quinn and raced 32 yards the other way for a touchdown.
Jon Baldwin's 57-yard catch-and-run helped set up a 47-yard Ryan Succop field goal on the ensuing Kansas City possession.
The Chiefs moved the ball to the Indianapolis 25-yard line on their next drive. However, Succop missed a 43-yard field goal.
The Colts got a field goal early in the second stanza to extend their margin back to seven. Donnie Avery caught a 28-yard pass on 3rd-and-4, but Indianapolis failed to convert its next third down. Adam Vinatieri made a 48- yard field goal to make it 10-3 with 13:27 left until half.
Kansas City was moving the ball down the field later in the frame. Jamar Newsome caught a 28-yard pass along the right sideline to put the ball at the 16 of the Colts. On the next play, Charles fumbled the football.
Luck led the Colts' offense on the field and set the single-season rookie passing record with a 23-yard pass to Hilton. Mewelde Moore followed with a 32-yard catch to move the ball to the Kansas City 23. Vinatieri made a 36- yard field goal to make it 13-3 with seven seconds left.
Charles ripped off an 86-yard TD run on the first play of the second half, getting Kansas City within three.
On the next possession for the home team, Charles broke off a 33-yard run. The drive was brought to a sudden halt when Vontae Davis picked off Quinn in the end zone.
After Indianapolis went three-and-out, Davis almost had another interception. This time around, he was called for defensive pass interference. The penalty moved the ball to the 30 of the Colts. Kansas City settled for a 47-yard Succop field goal to make it 13-13 with six minutes remaining in the third.
The Chiefs moved the ball to the Indianapolis 27 early in the fourth quarter. Kansas City went for it on 4th-and-inches and Quinn was stuffed on a QB sneak.
The Colts lead the all-time series, 11-8, and have won eight of the last 10 games ... Indianapolis went 4-4 on the road this season, while Kansas City ended with a 1-7 mark at home ... Arians tied an NFL record with nine wins as an interim head coach. Arians tied the marks set by Hamp Pool of the Rams in 1952 and Wally Lemm of Houston in 1961 ... Ballard carried the ball 20 times for 69 yards ... Kansas City had 352 yards on the ground.