Tar Heels in NFL: Colts hold off Raiders in Saturday’s NFL coaching debut; Hurst hurt

By R.L. Bynum

There were many doubters when the Indianapolis Colts named Jeff Saturday their interim coach, but there was no doubt that his debut went well.

The Colts held on to win 25–20 on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders to snap a three-game losing streak in their first game under Saturday, who is the first NFL head coach since 1961 with no college or pro coaching experience. His only previous coaching experience was as the head coach for Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula, Ga., going 20–16 over three seasons.

Indianapolis won the game on a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to Parris Campbell with 5:07 left. The Raiders drove the Colts 16, but the Colts’ Stephon Gilmore knocked away a fourth-down pass intended for Davonte Adams with 52 seconds left.

“It’s been a helluva week,” Saturday told his players after the game. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every one of you. … Who goes hardest, the longest, man, that’s how this game is decided. The most physical team won today.”

The Colts hired the six-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-ACC center as their interim coach last week after team owner Jim Irsay fired Coach Frank Reich. Saturday played 14 NFL seasons, including 13 with the Colts, winning Super Bowl XLI with Indianapolis.

“It was magical, in all honesty,” Saturday said. “In truth, I felt very at peace. I felt like we had a really good plan in place. I felt like all the men who I had talked about empowering and giving them the ability to do what they can do exceptionally well, they all stepped up.

“I knew what my role was,” he said. “And I was going to execute my role to the best of my ability, and I was gonna allow all of those men to do the same. And they stepped up, man, and it was an incredible day.”

After the game, Irsay gave Saturday the game ball and the two embraced.

“Again, it’s one win, but heck, man, they’re hard to get in this NFL,” Saturday said.

The Colts (4–5–1), in second place in the AFC South behind the 6–3 Tennessee Titans, are host to the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The former ESPN analyst had a weekly segment on the Tar Heel Sports Network pregame broadcast up until this week, but he was too busy preparing for his coaching debut to do that before the Tar Heels’ win at Wake Forest.

Saturday played for Coach Mack Brown at Carolina from 1994 to 1997, and was the team’s captain his last two seasons.

One of Saturday’s first moves was to start the veteran Ryan at quarterback. Ryan separated his shoulder in Week 8 and returned to practice last week.

Saturday said at his introductory press conference that he would keep Sam Ehlinger as his starting quarterback, but changed his mind. Ehlinger was 15 of 29 for 103 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in the 26–3 Colts loss last week at New England and threw no touchdown passes in his two weeks as a starter.

Ryan was 21 of 29 for 222 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Raiders. He threw for 2,008 yards and nine touchdowns in the Colts’ first seven games but also threw nine interceptions.

Saturday gave play-calling duties to Parks Frazier, who is in his fifth season as the Colts’ pass-game specialist, after Reich previously handled those duties.

A Saturday tweet from last month calling the Raiders horrible got a lot of attention, but he had the last laugh.

Saturday is the second former UNC player with a head-coaching job in the NFL. Arthur Smith is in his second season as the Atlanta Falcons coach. The offensive guard for UNC from 2001 to 2005, Smith has an 11–16 record, including 4–6 this season.

For the Raiders, Mack Hollins caught only two of the six passes targeted to him for 18 yards and had one rush for no yards.


In Atlanta’s 25–15 Thursday loss at Carolina, defensive tackle Jalen Dalton had a tackle and an assist in his third career NFL game.


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On Wednesday, the New York Giants signed defensive tackle Aaron Crawford to their practice squad. Crawford last was with the Baltimore Ravens, playing one game in 2020. The Ravens released him in camp before the season. He was an All-ACC honorable mention pick in 2019 with UNC.

In the Giants’ 24–16 home victory over Houston, Joshua Ezeudu started at left guard for New York and played all 69 offensive snaps, and Tomon Fox had one assist in 32 total snaps. For Houston, offensive lineman Charlie Heck played four special-teams snaps and safety M.J. Stewart Jr. played 36 total snaps off the bench.


In Pittsburgh’s 20–10 victory over New Orleans, James Hurst started at left tackle for the Saints and played 29 total snaps before leaving in the third quarter with a concussion. It was the first time all season he’s missed any offensive snaps.

For the third consecutive game, Mitchell Trubisky didn’t play for the Steelers. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett was 18 of 30 for 199 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions and a 79.7 passer rating.


Michael Carter’s New York Jets had an open date.


In Washington’s 32–21 Monday night victory at Philadelphia for the Eagles’ first loss, Dyami Brown caught the only pass targeted to him for 15 yards in 17 total snaps. His fourth reception of the season, a sprawling grab he barely saved from hitting the turf, gave the Commanders a first down late in the first half on their way to a field goal.

Linebacker Cole Holcomb missed his third consecutive game with a foot injury and quarterback Sam Howell didn’t play.

For the third time in three games since the Chicago Bears traded him to the Eagles, Robert Quinn didn’t start. He had two tackles in 27 snaps.


Linebacker Andre Smith, who the Buffalo Bills released after he served a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancement substance policy, has reportedly signed with the Tennessee Titans.

Dyami Brown, Washington Commanders wide receiver
Age 23 | 6–0, 195 | second NFL season | UNC 2018–20

32–21 Monday win at Philadelphia 1 catch on 1 target, 15 yards; 16 offensive snaps (19%), 1 special-teams snap (4%)
Season statistics — 7 games, 4 catches on 11 targets for 126 yards (31.5 average, 75 longest), 2 TDs; 1 special-teams assist
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Houston, Fox
———————————————

Michael Carter, New York Jets running back
Age 23 | 5–8, 201 | second NFL season | UNC 2017–20

The Jets have an open date this weekend
Season statistics — 9 games, 7 starts; 104 carries, 330 yards (25 longest, 3.1 average), 3 TDs; 25 catches on 31 targets, 190 yards (37 longest, 7.6 average)
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at New England, CBS
———————————————

Jalen Dalton, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle
Age 25 | 6–6, 300 | third NFL season | UNC 2015–18

25–15 Thursday loss at Carolina 1 tackle, 1 assist; 12 defensive snaps (18%), 7 special-teams snaps (24%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 3 tackles, 3 assists
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Chicago, Fox
———————————————

Joshua Ezeudu, New York Giants offensive lineman
Age 23 | 6–4, 308 | rookie NFL season | UNC 2018–21

24–16 win vs. Houston — Started at left guard; 69 snaps (100%)
Season statistics — 9 games, 2 starts; 245 offensive snaps, 136 special-teams snaps
Up next —
1 p.m. Sunday vs. Detroit, Fox
———————————————

Tomon Fox, New York Giants linebacker
Age 24 | 6–3, 260 | rookie NFL season | UNC 2016–21

24–16 win vs. Houston 1 assist; 13 defensive snaps (20%), 19 special-teams snaps (63%)
Season statistics — 6 games; 4 tackles, 4 assists, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Detroit, Fox
———————————————

Charlie Heck, Houston Texans left tackle
Age 25 | 6–8, 311 | third NFL season | UNC 2015–19

24–16 loss at New York Giants Played 4 special-teams snaps (13%) off the bench
Season statistics — 9 games, 1 start; 16 offensive snaps, 28 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Washington, Fox
———————————————

Cole Holcomb, Washington Commanders middle linebacker
Age 26 | 6–1, 240 | fourth NFL season| UNC 2015–18

32–21 Monday win at Philadelphia Missed third consecutive game with a foot injury
Season statistics — 7 games, 7 starts; 37 tackles, 32 assists
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Houston, Fox
———————————————

Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver
Age 29 | 6–4, 221 | sixth NFL season | UNC 2013–16

25–20 loss vs. Indianapolis — Started; 1 rush, 0 yards; 2 catches on 6 targets, 18 yards (12 longest); 67 offensive snaps (96%), 3 special-teams snaps (13%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 6 starts; 1 of 1 passing, 4 yards; 1 rush, 0 yards, 27 catches on 41 targets, 383 yards (14.1 average, 60 longest), 2 TDs
Up next — 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Denver, Fox
———————————————

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders quarterback
Age 22 | 6–1, 220 | rookie NFL season |UNC 2019–21

32–21 Monday win at Philadelphia Didn’t play
Season statistics — Hasn’t played
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Houston, Fox
——————————————

James Hurst, New Orleans Saints tackle
Age 30 | 6–5, 310 | ninth NFL season | UNC 2010–13

20–10 loss at Pittsburgh Started at left guard; 27 offensive snaps (57%), 2 special-teams snaps
Season statistics — 10 games; 10 starts, 1 fumble recovery, 1 tackle on an interception return; 621 offensive snaps, 26 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Los Angeles Rams, Fox
———————————————

Robert Quinn, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end
Age 32 | 6–4, 245 | 12th NFL season | UNC 2008–09

32–21 Monday loss vs. Washington Didn’t start; 2 tackles; 22 defensive snaps (27%)
Season statistics — 10 games, 7 starts; 8 tackles (1 for a loss), 2 assists, 1 sack
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Indianapolis, CBS
———————————————

M.J. Stewart Jr., Houston Texans safety
Age 27 | 5–11, 200 | fifth NFL season | UNC 2014–17

24–16 loss at New York Giants Played 10 defensive snaps (14%) and 26 special-teams snaps (87%) off the bench
Season statistics —
7 games; 4 tackles, 1 assist, 5 special-teams tackles, 3 special-teams assists
Up next —
1 p.m. Sunday vs. Washington, Fox
———————————————

Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback
Age 28 | 6–2, 220 | sixth NFL season | UNC 2014–16

20–10 win vs. New Orleans — Didn’t play
Season statistics — 5 games, 4 starts; 78 of 138, 797 yards (36 longest), 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 5 sacks; 13 rushes, 29 yards
Up next — 4:25 p.m. Sunday vs. Cincinnati, CBS
———————————————

Out for the season

Running back Javonte Williams, Denver (torn ACL in right knee); 4 games, 4 starts; 47 carries, 204 yards (4.3 average, 17 longest); 16 catches on 22 targets, 76 yards (4.8 average, 13 longest)

On injured reserve

Running back Giovani Bernard, ankle injury, Tampa Bay (hasn’t played in regular season)
Running back Ty Chandler, Minnesota, broken thumb (2 games, 1 special-team assist)

On practice squads

Defensive tackle Aaron Crawford, New York Giants (signed Nov. 9; Ravens released him during training cap)
Cornerback Kyler McMichael, Buffalo
Linebacker Chazz Surratt, New York Jets (released by Minnesota)

Signed to practice squad, then released

Wide receiver Dazz Newsome, Kansas City (released earlier in camp by Chicago)

Released during camp and unsigned

Fullback Jake Bargas, Chicago (earlier by Minnesota)
Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, Denver (earlier by San Francisco)
Wide receiver Austin Proehl, New York Giants
Offensive tackle Jordan Tucker, Pittsburgh
Released from injured reserve with settlements
Tight end Bug Howard, Tampa Bay

Released after Week 3

Running back Antonio Williams, New York Giants

Released after Week 5

Linebacker Andre Smith, Buffalo Bills (hasn’t played; served a suspension for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy)

Released after Week 6

Defensive back Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings (3 games, 1 assist)

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