Sunday belonged to Saturday.
Jeff Saturday made his debut as interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, helping the team to a 25-20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. After the win, Saturday gave a postgame speech in the locker room before he was presented with a game ball by Colts owner Jim Irsay.
"It's been a tough week, but we believe we know who you are, Jeff," Irsay said.
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"In truth, I felt very at peace," Saturday told reporters after the game. "I felt like we had a very 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 could do exceptionally well, they all stepped up."
"It's an incredible day," he added. "It's one win but, heck, they're hard to get in this NFL."
Head coaching jobs are also hard to get in the NFL. But Saturday, a center for the Colts from 1999 to 2011, was put on a fast track to the position during an eventful week in which the Colts fired head coach Frank Reich after a 3-5-1 start. The team gave the job to Saturday, a television analyst whose only prior coaching experience was at a Georgia high school.
Saturday quickly exercised his new-found authority by reinserting Matt Ryan as starting quarterback, replacing Sam Ehlinger, who started the previous two games. The veteran then made the rookie coach look wise.
First, with the Colts facing third-and-3 in the fourth quarter, Ryan rushed for 39 yards.
Ryan later connected with Parris Campbell for a 35-yard touchdown with 5:07 remaining to put the Raiders in front at 25-20.
Ryan completed 21 of 28 passes for 222 yards. Jonathan Taylor had 22 rushes for 147 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
The victory over Las Vegas came just two weeks after Saturday tweeted, while still an analyst, that the "Raiders look horrible."
Saturday being offered the Colts coaching job despite having no coaching experience at the professional or collegiate level drew some criticism, particularly from CBS analyst and former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
"It's a disgrace to the coaching profession," Cowher said Sunday. "Regardless of how this plays out, what happened in Indianapolis is a travesty."
Experience and qualifications were far from the minds of those in the Colts' locker room after the team snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday.
"Just an incredible win," Saturday said. "I told the guys, just in all three phases was just an incredible team effort. These guys have been through it. I told the staff, the coaches, the players, just the fortitude they presented and the way they played today, they laid it all out there today. And I could not be more appreciative of those guys and the way they played."