Some game films, you’d really rather just not watch.

Even when you win.

“You watched the game. You were there. I got to relive it a couple times,” Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said Monday. “I watched it late last night, watched it again today with the rest of the coaches. He was as advertised and more. Just talk to our players. It’s a nightmare. It’s an absolute nightmare.”

The player Pagano referred to was, of course, Terrelle Pryor. The Oakland quarterback racked up 329 total yards, 112 on the ground, to deliver the Raiders to the doorstep of a major upset. But the Colts have a quarterback of their own that causes some misery for opposing coaches, and Andrew Luck’s 19-yard scramble delivered a 21-17 victory.

The problem for the Colts: this nightmare could recur.

In two weeks, they face Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. Two weeks after that comes Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

A defense that didn’t see it at all last season suddenly is challenged to become proficient against the read-option, if this team is to start the season well.

“We know what’s coming down the pike,” Pagano said. “Certainly, we’ll learn from this. It’ll be a great lesson for us. Great thing to study from for future ball games.”

robert mathis colts terrelle pryor

Robert Mathis tries to chase down Terrelle Pryor, the first of three read-option QBs the Colts will face in the first five games. (Photo: Icon SMI)

Pryor does not present nearly the passing threat of Kaepernick or Wilson, as evidenced by his two game-changing interceptions – one in the end zone to kill the Raiders’ first drive, one just short of the goal line on their last. But he was otherwise exceptional, much more so with his feet than his arm.

Without knowing the Raiders’ play calls, it appeared Pryor ran straight read-options five times for 33 yards. He scrambled seven times for 53 yards. His biggest gain, a 26-yard sprint, was a naked bootleg.

Again and again, Colts linebackers failed to set the edge, which is to say they did not establish proper position to force Pryor inside. Their pass-rushers seemed caught in-between, not sure whether to commit all-out to the chase, or try to maintain gap discipline.

“You get to the point where you want to come after him, you want to pressure him, and you come off the edge and you’re not high enough and he gives you a little wiggle and you lose contain,” Pagano said. “Then the guys start trying to mirror and they don’t go as hard.

“There’s a fine line there. They’re scared to death to not let him outside the pocket, not get too high up over the top of the rush, things like that. It’s a nightmare.”

There’s that word again.

See? It recurred already.


>> Pagano said Allen the MRI on Allen’s hip came back negative and he hoped the young tight end would be able to practice Wednesday.

>> LaRon Landry’s debut with the Colts was a smashing success, quite literally. The veteran safety racked up a team-high 15 tackles, paying immediate dividends on his acquisition via free agency. “You get a guy like that on the field, it just raises everybody’s level of play with his energy,” Pagano said. “He’s a force to be reckoned with.” Landry was a bit disappointed; he said he entered the game with a goal of 20 tackles.

>> In addition to running hard, Ballard showed his progress as a protector. Pagano said he went 6-for-6 in blitz pickups and “was outstanding.”

>> Though Luck ran six times for 38 yards in the opener, and 62 times for 255 yards last season, both the QB and the coach said there are no designed runs for him in the playbook. “Say no right now,” Luck said, “but not never, I guess.”

>> Inside linebacker Pat Angerer, who missed the game with a concussion, is day-to-day this week as he works through the NFL’s recovery protocol.


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