Raiders use fast start, interception return to beat Colts
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By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr turned things around in a hurry Sunday.
He hooked up with open receivers, watched the running game establish itself and enjoyed seeing Oakland transform itself from a struggling offense to the kind coach Jon Gruden envisioned.
Carr led the Raiders to touchdowns on three of their first four drives, and safety Eric Harris returned a late interception 30 yards for a touchdown to secure a 31-24 victory at Indianapolis.
"We finished our drives, we converted on third downs, we were efficient running the football. Everyone did their job," Carr said. "When everyone does their job we can score points."
The Raiders (2-2) entered Sunday desperately hoping to change course. They had produced just two scoring drives in their previous 18 possessions, and lost two straight by 18 or more points. With a trip to London looming, a bye week and two more road games on the schedule before returning home, Oakland knew what it needed to do.
Carr delivered on a day he was 21 of 31 with 189 yards and two TDs.
He threw an 18-yard TD pass to Foster Moreau on the game's opening drive. On the Raiders' next offensive play, receiver Trevor Davis scooted around the left side and sprinted 60 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 less than seven minutes into the game.
After the Colts (2-2) converted a botched handoff into a 5-yard touchdown pass, Carr went back to work and connected with Tyrell Williams on a 19-yard TD pass for a 21-7 lead.
But what coach Jon Gruden liked most was Oakland's second-half start - a 16-play drive that consumed 9:12 and ended with a short field goal to give the Raiders a 24-10 lead.
"It was as good a drive as I've been a part of to start the second half," Gruden said. "I'm as proud of this win as any I've had before."
The defense made sure it held up as the Raiders won their first game in Indy since 2001.
Indy (2-2), meanwhile, looked lethargic with starting receivers T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess out with injuries. The Colts gained 346 yards, more than half in the fourth quarter when they were scrambling to get back in the game.
And the inability to sustain drives took a toll on Indy's defense.
"We couldn't have gotten off to a worse start than we did today," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "We were three-and-out and they were scoring touchdowns."
Still, the Colts had chances. Brissett's a 4-yard TD pass to Chester Rogers with 5:27 to go got the Colts within 24-17. Even after Harris' interception , Brissett again made it a one-score game with a 48-yard TD pass to Eric Ebron with 1:10 remaining.
Brissett was 24 of 46 with 265 yards, three TDs and one interception.
"We had a lot of long drives, a lot of sustained drives," Carr said. "It happens when everyone is doing their assignment and on the same page."
Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was ejected early in the second quarter after being called for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet collision with tight end Jack Doyle. Even before referee Scott Novak announced to the crowd what a replay review determined, Burfict was jogging into the locker room.
It's not the first time Burfict has run afoul of league rules. He had 11 fines and suspensions in seven seasons with Cincinnati before joining the Raiders.
Raiders: Harris' interception was the team's first this season. ... Williams has caught a touchdown pass in all four games. ... Josh Jacobs had 17 carries for 79 yards on a day the Raiders had 188 yards rushing. ... Oakland won its second road game since Gruden returned to the team last season.
Colts: Indy rushed 23 times for 81 yards. ... Zach Pascal had four receptions for 72 yards. ... Adam Vinatieri made three extra points and a 26-yard field goal, but missed a 57-yard field goal attempt that slid wide left late in the first half of his 197th game with the Colts. ... Indy's seven-game home winning streak ended.
Colts: Running back Marlon Mack did not return after hurting his ankle in the second half. The Colts also played without All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard (concussion) and safety Malik Hooker (torn meniscus).
Raiders: Khalil Mack plays his former team, the Raiders, as the star linebacker and the Bears play Oakland in London - a home game for the Raiders.
Colts: visit Kansas City on Sunday night in a rematch of last year's playoff game.
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Updated September 29, 2019