The Oakland Raiders headed into Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season without high expectations as the team attempts to pick up the pieces and rebuild the storied franchise.
The Raiders headed on the road to face-off against the up-and-coming Indianapolis Colts with promising young quarterback Andrew Luck in their crosshairs. Although most anticipated a team struggling on both sides of the football on Sunday, Terrelle Pryor and company far exceeded expectations.
Leading up to kickoff in Indianapolis, the team decided to keep the announcement of the starting quarterback a secret. Matt Flynn had been dealing with elbow tendinitis and was clearly out played by Pryor during the preseason, but uncertainty loomed. Although Pryor had the clear advantage in the quarterback competition, head coach Dennis Allen was reluctant to name him the starter against the Colts.
Fortunately for Pryor, the Ohio State product was given the nod regardless and didn’t disappoint once given the opportunity to put his skills on display against a potential playoff team. Pryor came out hot from the start with the Colts’ defense having no answer for the second-year man. Not only was Pryor playing well in terms of passing the football, but he was near unstoppable in the ground game rushing for a franchise record with 112 yards.
Along with the record-breaking 112 yards rushing, Pryor made an impact with his arm passing for 217 yards on 19 completions. Although Pryor threw for a touchdown, connecting with Denarius Moore on a five-yard strike in fourth quarter, the inexperienced gunslinger threw two costly interceptions.
Pryor did a great of moving the chains consistently and spreading the ball around, but is clearly rough around the edges and will need more time on the field to polish his skills. Both interceptions came on passes in the red zone and would’ve completely changed the outcome if Pryor was able to connect.
The second, and final pick that sealed the deal for Indianapolis, came in the final seconds of the game. With the Raiders threatening to defeat the Colts on their home field, corner Antoine Bethea jumped on a touchdown pass that was intended for Rod Streater.
The running game for the Raiders was dominated by Pryor, but running back Darren McFadden was able to do something that he didn’t do much last season by reaching the end zone. McFadden scored the first touchdown of the day for the Raiders with a one-yard run in the second quarter. Despite the touchdown, McFadden failed to make much of an impact with only 48 yards on 17 carries.
The receiving corps on the other hand played well with Streater and Moore leading the way. Streater emerged as the number one target for Pryor finishing with five receptions for 70 yards while Moore caught a touchdown pass and racked up 43 yards.
As for the Colts, Andrew Luck was as advertised as usual with 178 passing yards and three total touchdowns. Former Raider, Darrius Heyward-Bey, made his debut with the Colts and played well. Heyward-Bey caught three passes for 33 yards, but it was veteran wideout Reggie Wayne that stole the show. Wayne racked up 98 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions helping lead the Colts over the Raiders, 21-17.