Most will look at the ability of second-year quarterback Andrew Luck as the reason that the Indianapolis Colts came home victorious 21-17 over the Oakland Raiders today in the season opener for both teams.
As much as Luck did leading the Colts to three touchdowns on his own (two pass, one rush), it was the play of the secondary that gave Indianapolis a season-opening victory for the first time since 2009.
Yes, I know Raiders quarterback Terrell Pryor had a big day on the ground with 112 yards on 13 carries and did hit some open receivers, but the secondary had nothing to do with that. Pryor just had good enough awareness to elude pass rushers and keep plays alive. It’s hard for corners to stay on receivers for much more than five seconds these days.
But when push came to shove, it was the Colts’ secondary that came to the rescue, making two crucial interceptions.
The first came early on in the first quarter when the Raiders were driving on the opening possession. They made it deep into Colts’ territory and looked on the verge of scoring, but newly-acquired corner Greg Toler picked off Pryor in the end zone with an athletic play.
That’s something Colts fans are used to seeing.
Then, on the final drive for the Raiders in the fourth quarter, the Colts were looking again like they were going to give up another score to give Oakland the lead with one minute to go. Veteran Antoine Bethea made a game-saving interception on third down to seal the victory for the Colts.
Mix in safety LaRon Landry leading the team in tackles today with 15 and fellow safety Bethea second with 11, and it’s a very solid day for the Colts’ secondary. When was the last time we said that?
Eric Smith is the colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and recognized as an accredited member of the media by the team. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru