By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — COLTS 21, RAIDERS 17
Player of the Game
Colts QB Andrew Luck
The second-year signal-caller led two crisp touchdown drives to start the game and scrambled 19 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Overall, he completed 18 of 23 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and rushed three times for 38 yards and one score. His quarterback rating was a glistening 127.9. In 17 career starts, Luck has led eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime and has five come-from-behind wins.
Luck was brilliant, Reggie Wayne was Reggie Wayne and the rushing offense averaged 4.9 yards per carry — very near the 5.0 threshold head coach Chuck Pagano is looking for. But the offense line kept Luck on the run far too much, and he was sacked four times. Penalties and other assorted negative plays killed the rhythm after a fast start, and the offense basically went into slumber until late in the fourth quarter. If this team is going to take the step it needs toward the NFL's elite this season, the offense will need to do better than 21 points and 274 total yards.
The only thing that saves this unit are the red-zone interceptions by Greg Toler on the Raiders' first drive and Antoine Bethea on Oakland's final possession. Without those two turnovers, Indianapolis is likely looking at an 0-1 start. Terrelle Pryor gouged the defense for 112 rushing yards on 13 attempts and completed 19 of 29 passes for 217 yards and one score. Discipline broke down, with players getting out of their gaps and chasing Pryor too deep in the backfield. The result was nearly a disastrous upset.
Special teams: C
Pat McAfee was not his usual boomstick-wielding self, averaging just 37.3 net yards on three punts. T.Y. Hilton gained a nifty 23 yards on his lone punt return, and Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent all four of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. The Colts' own kickoff coverage was solid, allowing nothing more than a 27-yard return on two chances.
Next week: The Colts host 1-0 Miami at Lucas Oil Stadium.