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Colts vs. Saints Final Score: Colts 17, Saints 23

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The Indianapolis Colts lost to the New Orleans Saints in the third preseason game, 23-17. It wasn't a great game for the Colts.

Andy Lyons

The Colts lost to the Saints tonight, 23-17 in the third preseason game, and it wasn't a very impressive showing.  Here are some notes from tonight's game:

  • Where to start?  Well, let's just start with Andrew Luck.  He did not have a very good night.  He summed it up pretty well when interviewed by the CBS sideline reporter.  She asked him how he would grade his performance that night and he replied, "not a good grade."  And that's accurate.  He was picked once on a real bad underthrow, then had another pass that should have been picked when he tried to force it to Reggie Wayne.  He also had another misfire when T.Y. Hilton was open along the sidelines on third down but Luck just threw it too far out of bounds.  Luck was not good tonight.  But he had one very impressive drive, and that was a two-minute drill at the end of the first half.  On that drive the protection was as bad as it's been all preseason, but Luck was at his best, buying time, moving around, throwing on the run, and gaining yards on the ground himself.  He made some nice throws and some nice runs, and while the drive ended in just a field goal, it was encouraging.  But yeah, overall, a bad night from Luck.
  • The offensive line wasn't nearly as good tonight as in the first two games.  Honestly, I can't pinpoint one particular person who was bad or anything like that, and I'll have to go back to see it, but Luck was under too much pressure, that much is for sure.
  • Trent Richardson actually had an encouraging game, I thought.  He made several very nice runs and it was good to see.  Again, we'll have more on this in the coming days too, but off of my initial viewing I was happy with Richardson tonight.
  • REGGIE WAYNE RETURNED!  The highlight of the night was probably when Reggie was announced as the final offensive starter and the crowd went nuts.  "REGGIE! REGGIE! REGGIE!"  He was a captain and received a great welcome after 307 days away.  He played two drives, and he made two catches - but neither one "officially" counted because of penalties.  Either way, Reggie made some catches, looked good, took some hits, got involved with the offense, and still got out after two drives.  All was normal in that aspect.
  • Also interesting, yet something we saw clearly in camp: Reggie was in the slot almost exclusively when the Colts ran a 3WR set.  That's no surprise, just something to note.
  • It was good to see Dwayne Allen get involved with a couple of catches, and I want the Colts to get more intentional about factoring him into the passing game.  Luck went to him when he was struggling a couple of times tonight.
  • I actually thought the secondary was very impressive.  Going up against Drew Brees, the quarterback had a couple of great passes that you just couldn't defend.  And sure, the secondary got beat at times.  But often, that was because of a lack of pass rush.  Greg Toler was especially impressive, I thought, making a couple of nice plays.  Darius Butler also had a great pass breakup.  The secondary, going up against Drew Brees, actually looked impressive I thought.
  • That pass rush, however... not so much.  It was nonexistent for much of the time the first team was in, and that's a problem.  Robert Mathis, come back soon...
  • D'Qwell Jackson had a terrible night.  He got burned in coverage a couple of times, including for a touchdown (but who's dumb idea was it to put him on Marques Colston, anyway?).  He missed a bunch of tackles, whiffing on them.  It was not a good night by any means for Jackson after two very impressive games to start his Colts preseason career.  Tonight, however, was bad.
  • Zach Kerr had a tremendous game.  He saw playing time with the first team defense, he later made a sack and a great stop for loss on a third down.  Kerr looked really good tonight, and last week too.  He's likely earned a roster spot.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw returned tonight, too, but he didn't see as much action.  He saw 3 carries, gaining 2 yards, and caught 1 pass for 11 yards.  Not much to say about Bradshaw tonight other than that he returned.
  • That touchdown pass by Chandler Harnish was a thing of beauty, to Josh Lenz. Perfect throw.
  • Speaking of Lenz, he wiped out all the positives of his touchdown by muffing and losing a punt.  With cuts coming, that wasn't great timing.
  • It was good to see the Colts be intentional about getting Donte Moncrief involved on a drive with the second team offense, getting him both catches and a run.  I'd like to see a bit more of that.
  • Is it just me, or did Mario Harvey's playing time decrease significantly?  I'm interested in seeing the snap counts.
  • Interesting that Zurlon Tipton got some work at kick returner tonight.
  • Tipton also made a nice run that was impressive tonight.
  • Oh, I mentioned that D'Qwell Jackson missed a lot of tackles, but there were A LOT of missed tackles tonight from the Colts, not just from Jackson.  It was really, really, really bad.  Maybe it's because they hardly did any hitting in camp?
  • Griff Whalen made a couple of big catches tonight.
  • Henoc Muamba made some nice plays tonight as well.
  • Dan Herron had a great game, rushing 8 times for 68 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry and breaking one for a gain of 43.  If it weren't for Pep's insistence on running Boom right into the offensive line at the goal line, the yards per carry would have been even higher.  Herron looked great.
  • Chuck Pagano needs to go for it on that fourth down at the goal line at the end of the first half.  The Colts settled for a 20-yard field goal, but Adam Vinatieri doesn't need work kicking a chip-shot - the Colts offense clearly needs work in goal-to-go situations, however, as they couldn't get it in from the 1.  In the regular season, that's a good move to kick the field goal there.  But in that situation in the preseason?  Yeah, go for it Chuck.
  • Pagano did go for it on fourth and goal later... but with the second team offense.  Yeah, that makes sense.
  • Speaking of that goal-to-go situation... I HATED that play calling from Pep Hamilton.  Yeah, I mean I HATED it.  Four straight runs up the middle, and all four of them were stuffed right near the goal line.  The Colts didn't even really try to disguise it - they just powered it up the middle, and it failed miserably.  That was some of the worst play calling you'll see from Pep.  It was really bad.
  • Oh, and the Colts clearly need work in goal-to-go situations.
  • Fitting end to the game.  Chandler Harnish was sacked on fourth down to end the game.