5 Things We Learned From Indianapolis Colts’ Week 1 Win
5 Things We Learned About the Colts in their Week 1 Win
For Luck, Sunday’s game was the 10th victory in his short NFL career in games decided by seven points of less.
It appeared the Colts were going to walk away with the game after Luck hit Reggie Wayne for the opening touchdown and then tight end Dwayne Allen caught a 20-yard pass for another touchdown to go up 14-0.
But the Colts' defense couldn’t keep it together and allowed Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor to put on a show.
Despite Pryor totaling 329 yards, the Colts walked away with a victory thanks to Luck’s 19-yard scramble and Antoine Bethea’s game-ending interception.
For Colts fans, it had to be tough watching Pryor pick apart the defense on each possession. Unfortunately, the Colts still look to be in transition mode on the defensive side. They made the switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense last season, and it appears they are still working out the kinks.
The game felt very reminiscent of the Colts' 2012 season. Last year, the Colts went 9-1 in games decided by seven points or less and won only two games by more than seven points. The defense struggled, the running game struggled, and Luck did everything he could to get the Colts a win. Deja vu, anyone?
Regardless, the Colts got their first opening day victory since 2009, and can carry that momentum into next week’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
But before we jump into next week, let’s take a peek at the five things I think we learned from the Colts' Week 1 win.
5. Andrew Luck is Better Than Last Year
It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Andrew Luck would be better in 2013 than in 2012. After a Pro Bowl rookie season, Luck began the 2013 season by going 18-of-23 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and he ran six times for 38 yards, including a 19-yard scramble for the go-ahead touchdown. He improved to 10-1 in games decided by seven points or less. Colts fans saw the same quarterback from last season, but one that looked a lot more comfortable in the pocket and passed like it.
4. Reggie Wayne Still Isn't Slowing Down
It should not shock anyone that Reggie Wayne is still Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver, but at age 34, it's amazing to watch Wayne beat even the best cornerbacks. Wayne finished a perfect 8-for-8 on receptions/targets, which amounted to 96 yards and a touchdown. With the defense struggling once again, Wayne and Luck will need to continue to carry the Colts to victory.
3. The Colts' Defense is a Huge Liability
The Colts' defense has always been their biggest weakness. On Sunday, the Colts defense gave up 372 total yards, including 329 to Terrelle Pryor alone. New faces and a somewhat new scheme is likely the culprit behind the lackluster performance, but if the Colts have any aspirations of playing in Super Bowl XLVIII, then they better figure out a way for the defense to get the job done.
2. The Colts' Running Game is Still Weak
No one expected the Colts to run the ball down the Raiders' throats, but they still put up a pretty weak performance. Vick Ballard had 13 rushes for 68 yards and newcomer Ahmad Bradshaw ran seven times for 26 yards. 20 carries for the running backs is pretty conservative, especially when the Colts should have been trying to run out the clock and give the defense some time off the field. Just like the defense, the Colts' running game has been a weak spot for quite some time, and it needs to turn the corner if they want to get past the first round of the playoffs.
1. Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry are a Scary Safety Duo
While the defense put on a lackluster performance, there was still a couple bright spots; LaRon Landry and Antoine Bethea. The two safeties put on a clinic as they combined for 26 total tackles, two deflected passes and an interception. It’s only one game, but if these two keep this up, the Colts' secondary could evolve into a force to be reckoned with.