See how Andrew Luck got his first NFL win

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See how Andrew Luck got his first NFL win

From Comcast SportsNetINDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck sure didn't play like a rookie Sunday afternoon.He looked like a new, younger version of Peyton Manning.The Colts rookie threw two touchdown passes, took advantage of several key Minnesota penalties and marched Indianapolis 45 yards in 23 seconds to set up Adam Vinatieri for a 53-yard field goal with 8 seconds left, which gave Indianapolis a 23-20 victory over Minnesota in Luck's home debut."It's just amazing that the guy's able to go out there and do the things he does as a rookie," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He certainly had to put the ball on them, and he did."Many of those wearing No. 18 jerseys in Sunday's crowd had probably forgotten it took Manning a little longer to win his first game. He started 0-4, including two home losses, before finally beating Ryan Leaf and the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 4, 1998.Luck's older teammates couldn't be happier to get this early win, either, especially after last season's 0-13 start spurred speculation about going winless for the regular season.The No. 1 draft pick made sure it didn't happen again. Indy's new quarterback finished 20 of 31 for 224 yards on a solid, not spectacular day.He played the entire second half without three starters on the offensive line, yet managed to move the Colts into field-goal position twice. Luck actually did his most impressive work eluding pass rushers and throwing on the run.Time after time, he managed to escape trouble including twice on Indy's winning drive, to complete passes. And when the Vikings made mistakes, he made them pay.He got a field goal out of a roughing the kicker penalty and a personal foul call, penalties that kept one second-half drive alive, and when the Vikings blew a coverage just before halftime, Luck hooked up with Reggie Wayne for a 30-yard score.The Vikings (1-1) were frustrated all afternoon."We were rushing him. He moved around a lot. It (stinks), missing sacks," Jared Allen said. "He did a good job. If the guy is not as mobile, we probably have six sacks.Sure, Luck made a few miscues -- such as taking the 17-yard sack on third-and-5 with 3:00 to play. Or spiking the ball when the clock was already stopped just before Vinatieri came onto the field for his field goal.But, like Manning, Luck didn't let the miscues bother him."I guess some people were under the impression that the clock was going to run, so I guess we looked a little foolish killing the clock when it was already stopped ," Luck said, laughing as he explained why he spiked the ball with 12 seconds to play. "Oh well."The Colts (1-1) have won three straight home games dating to last season and improved to 10-0 in home games against the Vikings.After settling for two field goals in the first 54 minutes, quarterback Christian Ponder rallied the Vikings late and got the big break he needed when defensive end Cory Redding batted his fourth-down pass up into the air. Kyle Rudolph got his hands on the ball, too, tipping it up again and toward teammate Stephen Burton, who hung onto the ball for a 7-yard TD. That made it 20-13 with 5:07 to play.Ponder was 27 of 35 for 245 yards with two TDs, but was sacked four times. Percy Harvin caught 12 passes for 104 yards."We had opportunities. We just didn't capitalize on them," Adrian Peterson said after running 16 times for 60 yards and catching three passes for 20 yards.The Vikings were just getting started, though.Following the big third-down sack on Luck and a poor punt, Minnesota took over at the Indy 47 with 2:29 to play. The Vikings finally tied the score when Rudolph hung on for a 6-yard TD reception to tie the score with 31 seconds left."You want to score and the defense has to go out there and hold in that situation," coach Leslie Frazier said. "That's our league. In that situation where we were, we needed to get the ball in the end zone and we got to go out and play defense."But 31 seconds was too much time for Luck.He started the last Colts' series by rolling to the left and hooking up Donnie Avery for 20 yards. Then he stepped up in the pocket and threw to the right, a 20-yard strike to Wayne. Then he got the Vikings to jump offside, moving the ball to the Minnesota 35, and after the spike, Vinatieri lived up to his nickname as the best clutch kicker in league history."The kid's got poise," Wayne said. "He's got some winning in the blood."Notes: Avery tied his career high with nine receptions. He also had 111 yards. ... Colts center Samson Satele left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed knee injury. Right tackle Winston Justice and left guard Joe Reitz (knee) were inactive. ... During one stretch Sunday, the Colts ran 31 plays, compared with four for the Vikings -- including a kneel down at the end of the first half. ... Colts have won all three home games (two in preseason) this year, but has lost all three on road. ... Blair Walsh has made all six of his field-goal attempts in his first two games including a 51-yarder to open Sunday's scoring.

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Twins double up Orioles Monday night after erasing Baltimore's early lead

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USA Today Sports

Twins double up Orioles Monday night after erasing Baltimore's early lead

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore.

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It was his 125th home run at Camden Yards, moving him out of a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for the most in the history of the 26-year-old ballpark.

That proved to be the highlight of an otherwise ugly night for the Orioles.

Jimenez frittered away a five-run lead and missed a chance to earn his first win since April 19. The right-hander allowed six runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, a performance that lifted his ERA to an unsightly 7.17.

Jimenez was replaced by Tyler Wilson (2-2), who gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Down 5-0, the Twins got an RBI groundout from Mauer in third before Kepler led off the fourth with a home run.

It was 6-2 before Minnesota bunched together five hits in the fifth. After Kepler chased Jimenez with a two-run double, Eduardo Escobar hit a sacrifice fly and Polanco tied it with an RBI single.

Highlights of the Twins' sixth inning included a tiebreaking double by Mauer, a two-run double by Escobar, an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop and a run-inducing balk when Stefan Crichton dropped the ball in the midst of his windup.

Recalled from Triple-A Rochester before the game, Gibson gave up six runs in five innings, but nevertheless earned his first victory in seven starts this season.

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Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

In 2016, Chris Thompson simply needed to prove to Jay Gruden that he could handle 16 NFL games.

Now, looking ahead to 2017, the fifth-year running back hopes to show his head coach he can shoulder 16 NFL games and a larger workload.

"I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year," Thompson said Monday at the Redskins Charitable Golf Foundation. "[Gruden] knows now that I'm healthy and I can stay healthy, which I think that was one of his biggest concerns. So now he sees that I can handle the load, I think that I'll get a lot more opportunities this year."

Last season was by far the best in the 26-year-old's career. He played a full slate of games after playing in just 19 over his first three seasons combined, and he set career highs in rushing attempts (68), yards (356), receptions (49), receiving yards (349) and total touchdowns (5).

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He also held up well in pass protection, a key duty for him as the team's third-down running back. And it's all of those qualities — being able to contribute on handoffs and with catches while also providing help in keeping Kirk Cousins upright — that make him an excellent fit for a popular NFL duty.

The most excellent in that duty, actually, if you ask Gruden. 

"I think Chris Thompson's role is big," he said. "When you're talking about third downs, that's the most important down in football. There's nobody better as a third-down back in my opinion than Chris. He's got a huge role on this football team." 

Gruden went on to indicate that an increase in Thompson's responsibilities is likely coming, though No. 25 will still do the majority of his work when the offense needs him most.

"Whether he does some more stuff on first- and second-down will be determined," he said. "I'm sure he will. But he's so valuable on third-down that I gotta keep him in that role for now."

A 2013 fifth-round pick who came into the league with a history of injuries, Thompson has now fully gained the trust of his coaches and teammates. The 5-foot-8 running back may be small in stature, but the Redskins know he's not small in importance.  

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