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(Sunday, September 8th)
Final Score: Indianapolis 21, Oakland 17
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Andrew Luck tossed two touchdown passes and ran for the go-ahead score, as the Indianapolis Colts survived with a 21-17 opening day win over the Oakland Raiders.
Trailing 17-14 midway through the final period, Luck scampered 19 yards to the end zone to give the Colts a lead, which they held thanks to a timely interception by Antoine Bethea with 31 seconds remaining.
"A win's a win's a win," said Luck. "We know it's tough to get wins in the National Football League. I think something this team has is some fortitude, some backbone. We managed to eke it out again I guess."
Luck finished 18-of-23 with 178 yards for the Colts (1-0), who surprised many by grabbing a wild card spot last season with an 11-5 record. Reggie Wayne caught eight passes for 96 yards and a score and Vick Ballard gained 63 yards on the ground.
Terrelle Pryor, making his second career start for Oakland (0-1), completed 19-of-29 passes for 217 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 112 yards, setting a Raiders record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
"You can see that he (Pryor) provides a spark and has some things he can do and create with his feet," said Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. "Make no mistake about it, there are no moral victories in the National Football League, alright, we competed, but at the end of the day we didn't get the thing done."
Darren McFadden added 48 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Raiders, while Rod Streater reeled in five passes for 70 yards.
Pryor got off to a good start, hitting his first four passes before his bomb to the end zone was intercepted by Greg Toler, ending a promising drive.
Luck took the field and led a 10-play, 89-yard scoring drive following the interception. The Colts' signal caller found Wayne three times for 40 yards on the drive and capped it by floating a ball to the back left corner of the end zone, hitting his veteran receiver in stride.
The Colts took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter when Luck found his tight end Dwayne Allen for a 20-yard score. Facing pressure, Luck held onto the ball as long as he could before unleashing a strike over the middle to Allen, who broke a tackle before barreling into the end zone.
Pryor's legs led to Oakland's first points of the campaign midway through the second quarter when the young quarterback rushed twice for 29 and 13 yards, setting up McFadden's 2-yard touchdown plunge off tackle to the left side.
The Raiders' final possession before halftime ended with a Sebastian Janikowski 48-yard field goal try. Janikowski, who hit all 25 of his attempts from less than 50 yards a season ago, had enough distance but missed wide left and Oakland trailed 14-7 at intermission.
Janikowski redeemed himself midway through the third with a 38-yard field goal.
Momentum shifted late in the third when the Colts gambled on 4th-and-1 from near midfield. Luck faked a handoff to Ahmad Bradshaw and rolled out to his right, but Jason Hunter chased him down and recorded the sack, setting up Oakland with its best field position of the game.
Pryor broke the 100-yard mark on the ground two plays later, scrambling to his right and juking a defender to pick up the first down. On the final play of the period, Pryor looked deep for McFadden, who tip-toed near the right pylon for what appeared to be the go-ahead score. But a replay review confirmed McFadden's left foot came down out of bounds, negating the touchdown.
Pryor did not let the call impact his play. Later in the series, he scrambled and avoided multiple defenders before throwing across his body to an open Streater, setting up 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line. On third down, Pryor looked right for Denarius Moore, who went to the ground for the touchdown reception, which gave Oakland 17 straight points to take a 17-14 edge.
On the ensuing Colts' drive, Luck looked deep into triple coverage for T.Y. Hilton, who appeared to have a beat on the ball but got bumped at the last second by Tyvon Branch. Both officials nearby opted not to throw a flag, much to the dismay of the Indianapolis fans.
Later in the drive on 3rd-and-4 from the Oakland 19, Luck dropped back and noticed a hole in the middle of the field. He took off and aided by terrific downfield blocking, found the end zone to put Indianapolis back on top.
"Great block from Darrius (Heyward-Bey)," praised Luck. "I knew I wanted a first down if I took off. Then Darrius did a great job of sort of coming out of his route and just pinning a guy, blocking his man in and led a nice lane into the end zone."
Facing third down with four minutes left in the contest, Pryor found Jeron Mastrud wide open down the field after a blown defensive assignment for 41 yards. On the ensuing fourth down, Pryor and Moore hooked up on a slant for a 21-yard pickup down to the eight of the Colts. However on the very next play, Pryor was sacked for a loss of 16 and with 30 seconds left, forced a throw in traffic and was picked off by Bethea to secure the game for Indianapolis.
The Colts have now won four straight against Oakland ... The Raiders racked up 372 yards of total offense while the Colts managed just 274 ... Newly acquired LaRon Landry led Indianapolis with 15 tackles while veteran Robert Mathis recorded the lone Colts' sack ... Wayne has recorded a touchdown catch in six of his last seven regular season openers ... The Colts remain home to face Miami next week and Oakland will host Jacksonville on Sept. 15.
09/08 20:04:51 ET