INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — 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.
But after allowing touchdowns on Indy’s first two series, the Raiders frustrated Luck and the Colts the rest of the day.
The most frustrating part for the Colts was Terrelle Pryor. In just his second career start, the Raiders new starting quarterback went 19 of 29 for 217 yards with one touchdown and set a franchise record for yards rushing by a quarterback.
Pryor, the former Ohio State star, carried 13 times for 112 yards, breaking the mark (85 yards) former league MVP Rich Gannon established Oct. 8, 2000.
But Pryor made more mistakes than Luck.
Pryor threw two interceptions, both in the red zone, and took a 16-yard sack with 68 seconds to go after Oakland reached the Indy 8-yard line.
Two plays later, he was picked off by Antoine Bethea at the Colts 4.
“I’m disappointed in myself. Taking sacks in unacceptable,” Pryor said. “This loss is on me. At the end of the day, I threw the ball away. I did awful, I thought.”
Luck opened the scoring with a looping 12-yard TD pass to Wayne on the first drive and stood in against Oakland’s pressure to connect with Dwayne Allen on a 20-yard score to make it 14-0.
Pryor answered with two long runs to Darren McFadden for a 1-yard TD run that cut the lead to 14-7. And with the score 14-10, Pryor gave Oakland the lead when he hooked up with Denarius Moore on a 5-yard TD pass with 11:09 to go.
That’s when Luck responded. On third-and-4 from the Raiders 19, the middle of the field opened up and Luck took off. Oakland couldn’t catch him.
“Sometimes when it just opens up like that, you can’t help but go,” Luck said. “I knew I wanted the first down if I took off. Then Darius (Heyward-Bey) did a great job of coming out of his route and just pinning the guy, blocking his man in. A nice lane into the end zone.”
Notes: Two fans were injured following the game when a railing gave way and they fell into the walkway leading through one of the tunnels. … Wayne passed Steve Largent for No. 13 on the NFL’s career list for yards receiving. Wayne has (13,159). Largent had 13,089. … McFadden’s TD run was the first by an Oakland running back since Oct. 14, 2012. He finished with 17 carries for 48 yards. … Kevin and Kaelin Burnett became the first brother tandem to play in the same game for the Raiders. … Allen left the game with a hip injury in the second half.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org