See how Andrew Luck fared in his second NFL start

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See how Andrew Luck fared in his second NFL start

From Comcast SportsNet
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Unlike his electric preseason debut, Andrew Luck's first pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't result in a touchdown. His eighth one did. Just not for the Indianapolis Colts. Standing on the sideline moments after Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor cut in front of an underthrown pass and raced 50 yards for a score, Luck fumed. But only for a second. Showing the mental toughness the Colts wanted when they tasked him with helping rebuild a franchise on the fly, the rookie rebounded to help Indianapolis take the halftime lead before falling 26-24 on Sunday night. Pittsburgh rookie kicker Danny Hrapmann kicked four second-half field goals, including the 22-yard winner with 23 seconds remaining. By then the top overall pick was in a baseball cap after completing 16 of 25 passes for 175 yards. He added a 1-yard touchdown run and the Colts (1-1) held their own against a perennial Super Bowl contender. "You never want to throw any interceptions, even if they are tipped, bobbled, whatever," Luck said. "I've got to cut down on those, but I think showing we can bounce back from those mistakes and kind of climb out of that hole was a good sign." Luck certainly won over the Steelers (1-1), who let Luck lead the Colts on three second-quarter scoring drives to turn a 14-0 deficit into a 17-14 lead. "He's a tough kid," Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He's a good quarterback. I think he's going to play a long time. (Colts offensive coordinator) Bruce (Arians) is, I'm sure, a happy man." Even if Luck wasn't particularly thrilled after Taylor sprinted into the end zone to put the Steelers up two touchdowns. Luck didn't expect things to go as easily against the Steelers (No. 7 in the AP Pro32) as they did in a romp over St. Louis last week. He didn't expect to throw a pair of interceptions either. "I knew after last week everything wasn't going to be smooth-sailing, you know?" Luck said. "But I think you can learn a lot from mistakes and hopefully not repeating mistakes." He didn't during a sublime quarter in which he refused to get rattled against the defense that finished No. 1 in the league last fall. Using his mobility to step away from pressure and his vision to find open receivers, Luck didn't look like a guy who won't start his first NFL regular- season game for another three weeks. "(Luck) was able to come back and put it behind him just like he always has," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. "We saw the same thing in college. He's able to bring his team back from behind so it was nothing surprising to us to see him come back and put those kind of drives together." The Steelers aren't undergoing the kind of drastic makeover the Colts (No. 32) are enduring. Still, they have issues of their own, namely getting used to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's complex scheme. The results so far are mixed. Ben Roethlisberger completed 7 of 8 passes during his one drive of work in the opener against Philadelphia last week, all of them quick hitters. His first pass Sunday night ended up in the hands of Indianapolis' Antoine Bethea. Antonio Brown and Roethlisberger atoned the next time the Steelers had the ball, with Brown doing most of the work. He hauled in an 18-yard pass from Roethlisberger on third-and-11 to extend the drive then put together a highlight-reel 57 yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. The play was all Brown. He took a screen pass from Roethlisberger, cut to the middle and used some great downfield blocking by running back Baron Batch to get to the end zone. Brown -- who has become Roethlisberger's favorite target with Mike Wallace in the midst of a holdout -- added some style points by doing a flip as he crossed the goal line. "It'd give it an 8.5," Brown said about the somersault. "I didn't stick the landing." And the Steelers didn't stick with it. The play accounted for more than half of the 112 yards of offense Pittsburgh generated when Roethlisberger was in the huddle. Roethlisberger completed 5 of 9 passes for 81 yards and the touchdown to Brown. "We're making a little bit of progress," Roethlisberger said. "I still think we're leaving a lot out there. We're not playing as good as we could or should, but we're making progress." So are the Colts. On the verge of getting blown out, the Colts responded behind their new leader. Luck led a 10-play, 80-yard drive after Taylor's pick and Donald Brown got Indianapolis on the board with a 1-yard plunge. Luck had it going on Indianapolis' next possession before being undone by a little bad, well, luck. He found rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton in stride down the middle only to have the wide-open Hilton throw the ball up in the air. Pittsburgh's Cortez Allen ran underneath it to thwart the drive, but it hardly slowed the Colts. Indianapolis tied it at 14 when Luck deftly slid into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1, ending a drive in which Luck completed all five of his passes. Luck got one more chance just before the half, and he made it count. Working exclusively out of the shotgun, Luck led the Colts 31 yards in five plays, giving Adam Vinatieri just enough time -- and room -- to sneak a kick between the uprights at the halftime gun. NOTES: Colts DE Robert Mathis left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder strain and did not return. Indianapolis WR Austin Collie underwent a concussion test after taking a blow to the head from Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote. ... The Steelers travel to Buffalo on Saturday night while the Colts visit Washington. ... Harrison, Hampton, running backs Isaac Redman and Rashard Mendenhall and linebacker Jason Worilds did not dress for the Steelers. ... Indianapolis backup QB Drew Stanton completed 4 of 13 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.

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Prediction and preview for Raiders at Ravens

Prediction and preview for Raiders at Ravens

What: Raiders (2-1) vs. Ravens (3-0)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: M & T Bank Stadium

Injuries:

Ravens – RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), CB Sheldon Price (thigh), and LT Ronnie Stanley (foot) are doubtful; WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), OLB Elvis Dumervil (foot), WR Devin Hester (thigh), LG Alex Lewis (concussion), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), G John Urschel (shoulder) are questionable.

Raiders – S Nate Allen (quad), OT Austin Howard (ankle), OT Menelik Watson (calf) are out; C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), OT Matt McCants (knee) are questionable.

Five questions to ask:

1. How badly will Stanley’s injury hurt the Ravens’ offense?

The guess is that Stanley won’t play, and even if he does, he won’t be 100 percent. Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack is one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. If James Hurst starts at left tackle, the Ravens will have to give him help to deal with Mack.

2. Will Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele punish his former teammates?

Osemele is one of the league’s best and most physical linemen, and he talked about pancaking some of the Ravens this week. He also says the Ravens didn’t try hard to keep him during free agency, and Osemele has a long memory. There could be some thunderous collisions between Osemele and Ravens’ defenders. If Osemele loses his composure, it will hurt the Raiders, who lead the NFL in penalties.

3. Will Ravens’ corners Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright give up the homerun ball to the Raiders?

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr loves to throw deep, and he torched the Ravens for 351 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper beat Smith during a 37-33 Raiders’ victory. Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree has superb hands, and both he and Cooper topped 100 yards against the Ravens last year. The Ravens’ secondary has improved, with Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb taking over as the starting safeties. But the Raiders will try to isolate Smith and Wright, looking for a big play or two that could make the difference.

4. With OLB Elvis Dumervil returning to action, will the Ravens’ pass rush be dominant?

The Ravens have gotten good pressure on quarterbacks without Dumervil, led by Terrell Suggs and Timmy Jernigan with three sacks each. Now Dumervil is ready for his 2016 debut, after missing the first three games recovering from foot surgery. Carr could face a lot more pressure in the pocket than he did against the Ravens last year.

5. Can the Ravens finally have a breakout game offensively?

The Raiders rank dead last in the NFL on defense, yielding 436 yards per game. The Ravens only have four touchdowns all season. It’s time for quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense to put four quarters together.

Prediction:

Ravens 30, Raiders 20 – Being at home, and getting a consistent pass rush on Carr, should allow the Ravens to remain unbeaten.

RELATED: Stanley misses 3rd straight practice, question mark for Sunday

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More talk of Redskins OC Sean McVay as head coach - but this time on college level

More talk of Redskins OC Sean McVay as head coach - but this time on college level

When LSU fired head coach Les Miles, a lot of big-time names were suggested for the job. But what about Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay?

Albert Breer of the MMQB listed McVay as a potential candidate, along with a host of other NFL names to go with obvious college options like Tom Herman or Lane Kiffin. From Breer on McVay:

His star has risen so quickly that the 30-year-old may be an NFL head coach before colleges even get the chance to call, but he’d make a lot of sense for a program looking for energy and buzz.

Watching McVay work it's obvious he has the passion and ability to connect with young players - as he currently runs the Redskins offense that includes some players older than him. But it's worth keeping in mind the Redskins coordinator was raised around the pro game, not the college one, and with his background and offensive acumen the guess here is that McVay will stay in the professional ranks. 

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Even while scoring is down for Washington through three games, the Redskins offense is moving the ball well. QB Kirk Cousins is second in the league in passing yards, and the team finished 2015 with the 10th highest scoring offense.

"I’m sure he’ll be a head coach a lot sooner than people think," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said of McVay in an early August MMQB article.

It's clear McVay will get a chance as a head coach, the only question is where. Apparently that list could now include Baton Rouge. 

NOTE: Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan also landed on Breer's list of LSU possibilities. From Breer, "Would Shanahan go? He’s 37 and he’s been an OC for nine years, so it’s possible he’d want to get his feet wet as a head coach. Remember, [Texans coach Bill] O’Brien went to Penn State after knocking on the door for NFL jobs, so it’s not hard to see another rising young guy doing it. Shanahan played at Texas and coached at UCLA, which means he’s not foreign to big college programs."