Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

September 8, 2013

NFL: Colts survive

Late-game rushing TD by Luck spurs Indy to win

INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck followed a familiar script Sunday.

He started fast, played efficiently and delivered the late-game victory. Just like he did as a rookie.

The only difference this time was that he won this game with his feet.

After throwing for 178 yards and two touchdowns, Indy’s second-year quarterback took off and scored on a 19-yard TD run with 5:20 to play to beat Oakland 21-17.

“I went through my reads. As you’re sort of stepping up you sort of realize, ‘Hey man, there’s no one here,’” Luck said after Indy won its first opening-day game since 2009.

“That decision is like ‘OK, I can make the first down.’ Then you start running and it’s ‘OK, let’s go for the end zone.’”

He made it work, of course, as he always seems to do.

But Luck and the Colts tried to change the formula during the offseason.

Indy brought in two new offensive linemen to protect Luck better and create running lanes, and it overhauled the defense to try and keep Luck and the offense on the field. They got mixed results Sunday.

While the Colts ran 26 times for 127 yards, Luck was sacked four times and hit a handful of others, and the Raiders still managed to convert 7 of 13 times on third down.

Luck completed 18 of 23 passes after starting the game with 11 consecutive completions. Reggie Wayne had eight catches for 96 yards and one score.

The Colts’ defense couldn’t get off the field in the second half, yet somehow managed to hold long enough to give Luck a chance to work his late-game magic, and then made the big play to seal the win.

It was enough to get the win — but not good enough to satisfy Chuck Pagano, who is 8-1 at home since taking over as the Colts coach last season.

“We didn’t go into a shell. It was either a penalty, negative play, a sack that took us out of (it),” he “We still drove the ball. We still got it to midfield. We were still on their side of the 50. But then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.”

The miscues allowed Oakland to stay close and even take the lead midway through the fourth quarter with a team that started the day with nine new defensive starters and no announced starting quarterback.

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