The Oakland Raiders fell just 15 yards shy of a comeback victory against the Indianapolis Colts. And they should be proud.
What was expected to be a blowout victory for the Colts ended in a final score of 21-17 after a terrific performance from Raiders starting QB Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor rushed for 112 yards while going 19-for-29 in the air for 217 yards and one TD.
Pryor also threw two interceptions and will need to get better in order for the Raiders to approach .500 this season. Nonetheless, Pryor gave fans something to smile about. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck agreed:
“It’s not fun watching Terrelle Pryor run around and do his thing. I’m sure for everybody else watching, it’s pretty electric. Terrelle Pryor is a stud.”
The Raiders defense pressured Luck (18-for-23, 178 yards, 2 TD) constantly, but failed to contain him while he scrambled. Indy’s only rushing score came on a 19-yard scramble from the second year Luck to seal the Raiders’ fate.
Just after Luck’s touchdown, Pryor led the Raiders into the red zone — but then unraveled. Pryor was sacked and threw an interception after failing to realize bracket coverage. Head coach Dennis Allen said:
“Terrelle provides us with a spark. He competed extremely hard. There are no moral victories. “
Allen was asked whether this game should provide the team some confidence, the coach replied:
“I had that feeling anyway. I like this team, I said it from the beginning.”
The Raiders defense was far less vanilla on Sunday, a departure from the preseason’s basic play calls. Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter were able to cover a great trio of receivers while safeties Tyvon Branch and Charles Woodson provided a security blanket that was more than adequate.
Defense wins games, or so some people say. Between the play of the defense and the development of Pryor, one important fact emerged on Sunday: Oakland is on the rise.
Whether on offense or defense, the Raiders look to be improved from last year, even after cutting several key players to provide future cap space and speed up the rebuilding process.
Any Raiders turnaround won’t be considered complete until they actually make the postseason, but Sunday they showed they are better than many seem to think.