The Colts narrowly escaped the upset of the week by beating the Raiders at home, 21-17. The Colts, who had never faced a read option quarterback were getting shredded on defense as Terrelle Pryor had his way with the Colts running and at times throwing all over them. Despite this, the Colts managed to win thanks to the heroics of, who else, Andrew Luck who led his 8th fourth quarter game winning drive victory in his short career in the NFL. There were several highlights as well as some major low-lights throughout the game that will be delved into.
Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) scores a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts won 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
- Andrew Luck went 18 for 23 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 6 times for 38 yards including the game winning 19 yard touchdown run. Andrew Luck in the first half was lights out making plays when he had to. Whether it be escaping a sack to scamper for a 1st down or making a TD pass to Dwayne Allen while getting hit, Luck is simply a joy to watch.
- Reggie Wayne was typical Reggie Wayne and amassed 96 yards and a touchdown on 8 receptions. The Raiders had no answer for Wayne as he sliced and diced the Raiders secondary and made the catches when they counted.
- The Colts ran for 128 yards on 26 carries which is exceptional but also could be a detriment. Although Vick Ballard ran well, we will get to why it could be a costly decision to run more than pass. He also picked up blitz packages very well.
- Newly signed LaRon Landry played exceptionally well in his Colts debut garnering 15 tackles, 10 solo. He also made big hits that reminded me of #21 Bob Sanders from way back when.
- Greg Toler and Antoine Bethea both had interceptions with the former in the first drive of the game and Bethea in the last drive of the game as the Raiders were looking to win the game.
- Although the Colts allowed 171 yards on the ground, 112 came from quarterback Terrelle Pryor. They held the rest of the running back core to 59 yards which is impressive against the tandem of Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese. McFadden had 2.8 YPC.
Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) is chased by Indianapolis Colts safety LaRon Landry (30) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Oakland 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
- Terrelle Pryor was playing sandlot football, no doubt about it. He had the Colts front seven running around chasing him and had fun doing it. Although the Colts had never faced a read option quarterback, they did not prepare accordingly to deal with him. The Colts fell into the same hole many teams last year did against read option quarterbacks. Respect the run? Pryor finds a wide open receiver on 3rd and 10. Respect the pass? Pryor runs for 20 yards. With the way the Colts played, I dread for the eventual clashes with San Francisco and Seattle looming.
- Remember Week 2 last year when the Colts were up on the Vikings 20-6 entering the fourth quarter? Offensive play-calling in playing not to lose prevented from putting away the Vikings right away which cause the Vikings to score 14 unanswered which led to Luck leading a game winning drive with a little over 30 seconds remaining in the game.
- Remember Week 3 last year when the Colts took a 14-3 against the Jaguars? The Colts would only muster a field goal due to playing not to lose in the 2nd half. That would’ve been enough to win except for that monster play from Gabbert to Cecil Shorts for the go ahead touchdown.
- The offensive playcalling after the Colts took a 14-0 lead was frustrating. Chuck Pagano has had a history of doing this as mentioned above. The Colts who are more than capable of putting their opponents away like they did against Houston in Week 17 last year, shouldn’t always have to resort to Andrew Luck bailing them out. This is a team that knows hows to win close games but isn’t a team that knows how to win emphatically.
- Andrew Luck was getting different blitz packages after the Colts built the 14-0 lead which led to four sacks. The offensive line crumbled here and there which caused Luck to run for his life.
- Half of these sacks though were all on Luck as he held onto the ball for too long. He needs to learn to throw it away and not try to make a play out of everything. Luck reminds me of a younger Tony Romo in that respect.
Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw (44) runs the ball and is stopped by Oakland Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins (21) Oakland Raiders strong safety Charles Woodson (24) and Oakland Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch (33) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
- Where was T.Y Hilton in the offense? He was becoming the optimal playmaker for the Colts but had a quiet day catching 3 balls for 20 yards. Luck did try to go deep twice to T.Y but was unsuccessful as he was doubled, sometimes triple teamed.
- I expected more from Ahmad Bradshaw from a coaching standpoint. I wanted him to be used in the Colts offense more than he was Sunday. He had 7 rushed for 26 yards.
- I’m not one for complaining about bad calls but the Colts had several that should’ve gone there way. A couple times Andrew Luck went deep to T.Y Hilton, there was blatant pass interference that was a no call. There was also a facemask that was also blatant that was a no call.
- As of right now, 3:45 Central Time, Terrelle Pryor is the leading rusher in the NFL.
All in all, the Colts won in dramatic fashion as they did last year. I may have my criticisms but a win is a win and I won’t let that bring down that this was the Colts first Week 1 win since 2009, their Super Bowl appearance year.