Indianapolis, IN - There is no doubt that the Colts could have played much better offensive versus the Oakland Raiders in Week 1, but let’s take a look at the bright spots from their performance. There are a few things to take heart in for Colts fans who are discouraged about the small margin of victory.
Andrew Luck showed that he has worked on his decision making, and did not turn the ball over. The Raiders may not have a great defense, but then again, some of the opponents that were picking Luck off last season didn’t either. He showed great poise and patience, and was able to accumulate a passer rating of 127.9. If the Colts want to reach their full potential for this 2013-14 season, they’re going to need Luck to continue taking care of the football. They went 11-5 last year despite Luck throwing 18 interceptions, think about their record if he hadn’t turned the ball over at that clip.
There’s no doubt that the running game will be a necessity to help take some of the pressure off of Luck and the passing game. Vick Ballard showed that he’s capable of being an NFL starter right off the bat, while Colts fans got their first look at former New York Giant back Ahmad Bradshaw. Both of these guys bring different aspects to the game, and to be honest I can see Indianapolis going to a bit of a two-man rushing attack. Obviously, Bradshaw will take over the starting role at some point in the future, but Ballard is making a case for carries.
Reggie Wayne showed up and played to the superstar level that Colts fans have come to expect. There were some analysts and reporters who were predicting that Wayne would have a bit of a letdown season and that age would begin to catch up to him. 8 catches, 96 yards, and a touchdown later those critics appear to be retracting their statements for the most part. Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne have great chemistry between each other, and Luck has helped Wayne tie for 22nd for touchdown receptions in NFL history.
The Colts brought in a lot of help defensively and while the defense did allow Oakland to put up 17 points, they did make some plays as well. Both newcomer Greg Toler and long-time Colts safety Antoine Bethea picked young quarterback Terrelle Pryor off, and Robert Mathis chipped in with a clutch sack late in the game. There is some obvious work that needs to be done, but the newcomers having an impact early is certainly something to be encouraged about for Colts fans.
Overall the team does have work to do, but the great thing about having a lot of new and young players is that you can only get better. If the Colts continue to take care of the football and make plays defensively, there is no limit to how far they can go this season. Colts fans have reason to be excited about the future of the season, and Week 1, while not necessarily pretty, counts as a win and a 1-0 record.