INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts spent the first 19 minutes Sunday showing how good they could be this season. The final 41 minutes proved there still is plenty of room for improvement.
Antoine Bethea’s interception at his own 6-yard line with 25 seconds remaining in the game allowed the Colts to escape with a 21-17 season- opening victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. But the roar from a crowd of 65,412 was filled with more relief than genuine celebration.
“Hats off to the Raiders,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. “We knew that they had a good football team, a talented football team. We knew the quarterback [Terrelle Pryor] was a talented, talented guy and how important it was going to be to contain him. Obviously, they did a great job and had a great plan. But congratulations to everybody in that locker room — our players, our coaches — they did a phenomenal job. Our players did an unbelievable job of just hanging tough.”
In just his second career start, Oakland’s Pryor set a franchise record for his position with 112 rushing yards on 13 attempts. He also went 19-for-29 passing for 217 yards with one touchdown and two costly interceptions.
The Colts only caught up to Pryor once for a sack, but it was a huge one.
The Raiders had first-and-goal at the Indianapolis 8-yard line with 1:13 remaining when Pryor was flushed from the pocket and chased down by outside linebacker Robert Mathis for an 18-yard loss. His next pass was incomplete to tight end Mychal Rivera on the left side, and his third-down attempt was picked off by Bethea.
That ended a march that began at Oakland’s 20-yard line and ate nearly five minutes off the clock.
“That guy is fast,” Mathis said of the Raiders’ third-year signal-caller. “He definitely showed up to play [Sunday]. We just had to make one more play.”