The Colts (finally) open up the pre-season on Sunday in Philadelphia. Obviously, I'm immensely excited for Colts football to back. I'm also a little excited to see what the Eagles roll out this week, especially with all of their personnel changes this off-season.
But this isn't an article about the game.
In honor of the pre-season starting, I wanted to throwback to a time known as 2008.
In Week 3 of the pre-season, the Colts were a very characteristic 1-2 (they had played in the Hall of Fame Game) and Peyton Manning would not be starting the game, or playing in the entire pre-season, due to surgery to remove his bursa sac in his knee.
There was still something special about this game, though. It would be the first time the Colts would be playing a game in Lucas Oil Stadium.
It doesn't seem like seven years have passed since the stadium opened, and I think we, as fans, definitely take the venue for granted. I was at this pre-season game in 2008, and the experience of a new stadium was definitely exciting and different. Quite the change from the RCA Dome. All fans who were at the game got a fancy certificate saying they attended the first game in the stadium. I have mine...somewhere.
Anyway. With Manning out it looked like HoF clipboard holder Jim Sorgi was going to get the start for the Colts. However, Sorgi was held out with what was called a "gimpy" knee. This meant that the first Colts quarterback to start a game in Lucas Oil would be Jared Lorenzen.
There's a bit of trivia for you.
It was a very rough game for the Colts, as the pre-season matchups normally are. Lorenzen showed absolutely nothing flashy, getting to play the entire first half. Lorzenzen was 7-11 passing with 52 yards, that's all.
The Bills had a few nice drives from starter J.P. Losman in the first half to net them a 17-0 lead going into the break. Part of that lead was due to a fumble by the Colts, returned 68 yards for a score by Buffalo corner Terrence McGee.
In the second half, Quinn Gray was plugged in as the Colts quarterback. Despite Lorenzen's woefully low numbers, Gray made Lorenzen look like Manning.
Gray was a mere 8-16 for 156 yards and four interceptions. He did hit a touchdown on a 94 yard bomb to one of my all-time favorite backup receivers, Devin Aromashodu. Take away that touchdown, and Gray finishes 7-15 with 62 yards and those interceptions.
At the time, both Gray and Lorenzen were competing to be the team's third quarterback behind Manning and Sorgi. I remember thinking after the game that if Sorgi's job was in jeopardy as the primary back-up, he had just solidified his role by letting Gray and Lorzenzen play terrible in that game.
The Bills would win 20-7. And just to make you all a bit more sad about the Colts performance that day, the team had nine first downs. NINE.
But it's the pre-season, so the game itself doesn't matter. The opening of the stadium is what really counted on that day. I've been to a handful of Colts pre-season games, and this one was probably the second most excited and filled I have seen the stadium.
For the record, the most energy I've ever seen at Lucas Oil in a pre-season game was Andrew Luck's first game against the Rams.
I'll always have a special place in my heart for the RCA Dome and all of its great memories. But I'm glad Lucas Oil is here to stay.