No matter how little the final score matters in the preseason, it’s nice to see a win. The Colts first unit looked shaky for a minute, and then bolted out to a 17-3 lead, bookended by Andrew Luck touchdown passes, one a dangerous near-interception, saved by some amazing concentration on the part of Reggie Wayne, and the other a beautiful throw to the corner of the end zone to T.Y. Hilton.
Luck, playing most of the first half, finished 9/13 for 107 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a 133.7 quarterback rating. Darrius Heyward-Bey led all Colts receivers with 4 catches for 42 yards and looked downright legitimate in the process.
Reggie Wayne had 3 receptions for 37 yards including his touchdown. On the play, Luck threw the ball as he was going down, badly underthrowing Wayne. The pass bounced off a New York Defender’s hands near the goal line and right to Wayne, who batted the ball into the air momentarily, only to catch it in the end zone for the odd-looking, highlight reel touchdown. (more after the jump)
Luck made up for the broken play in the second quarter with a beautiful 18-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton, who finished with 2 catches for 36 yards and continues to look very, very good in practices and in preseason games. Hilton is by all accounts an exceptionally hard worker, constantly seeking out ways to be a better player, and his efforts are showing every time he takes the field.
Areas/Players that Demanded Attention
On defense, the Colts finished the game with 6 sacks, definitely a better showing in the pass rush department. On the first unit, free agent signee Erik Walden added a second quarter sack of Eli Manning during the 2nd quarter that helped turn the New York drive into a three and out that set up Luck’s second scoring drive.
Starting CB Greg Toler added an interception of Eli Manning in the first quarter on a play where both he and ILB Kelvin Sheppard had very good coverage.
With the backups on the field, DT Drake Nevis (2 tackles, 2 sacks), and OLB Caesar Rayford (3 tackles, 2 sacks) had stand out performances for the defense. Nevis was a 3rd round pick in 2011 who showed some noticeable promise before being hampered by injuries. Staying healthy will be the key for him moving forward.
As for Rayford, the former AFL star will either have to beat out Lawrence Sidbury for a roster spot, or hope the Colts keep a fifth player at outside linebacker. Rayford is 6-7, 267 pounds, and averaged 7 sacks per season in the AFL, a league built to be dominated by quarterbacks. Here’s a link to my story on Rayford from back in May.
On offense, reserve offensive lineman and UDFA Emmitt Cleary had a nice showing on the field, keeping his momentum from a strong training camp, and laid a huge block on the Giants’ 2nd round pick, DT Jonathan Hankins.
Areas/Players that Need More Work
The Colts had an up and down performance against the run, and struggled to run the ball themselves, finishing with 33 carries for 88 yards and 2.7 YPC. Take out Andrew Luck’s 14-yard scramble, and that total dips to 32/74/2.3. Indianapolis doesn’t need to be completely run focused, but they will be working toward a better result next week, when their starters will see their most action before the regular season opener against the Raiders.
Other than that, the second half looked like a preseason game, with some inaccuracy from the quarterbacks (Hasselbeck and Harnish combined for 8/15 for 55 yards and an interception (Hasselbeck), and several players playing for roster spots who have rarely played together as a unit.
This team’s starters looked very promising, and they have a few solid performers in the bottom half of their roster. No one should ever be too high after a win, especially in the preseason, but this one did feel pretty good.
And you can also stop by and like our Facebook page while you’re at it for article links and some fun Colts content from around the web.
I thought Kerwynn's punt returns didn't look too bad for as little blocking as he got. On a better ST unit, he could be fun to watch.
Great News, Luck is on track, what a talent and tough. Werner showed up! Cleary needs to play. Brown also had a great game, of course I am talking about the New York running back, but our Brown looked at his best during the interception return. Look at this play, a Giant turns to set a block against Brown who is chasing the play, and Brown veers to the sideline to avoid being blocked, typical. Even Kyle, Brown's brother, will have a hard time defending his brother.
What I think I saw:
-Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton connection.
-Bjoern Werner did have a nice TFL and almost got a sack (jury is still out on him in my opinion but at least he did something)
-Drake Nevis looking like I always thought he should.
-Caesar Rayford has looked good for two preseason games now
-DHB caught some footballs
The not so good:
-Terrible play by Satele and McGlynn (Surprise!)
-Coby Fleener not catching balls and sometimes not even looking
-Aubrayo Franklin getting steamrolled
-Still don't feel great about the secondary. Liked Toler's interception but I think that was a gift. I know it will take time for these guys to get accustomed to their new roles/teammates and am hoping they continue to improve.
-Did Kelvin Sheppard do anything? Didn't notice him much. (Unfortunately, preseason gamer Jerry Hughes had two sacks this week. I just want to feel better about this trade.)
-The running game. Where was it? And I still don't get the new love affair with Vick Ballard. DB didn't look great but he still looked better.
Someone please tell me I'm right on the good stuff and wrong on the not so good stuff.
I tuned in just in time for the T.Y. TD drive. I continue to hear (read?) murmurs about T.Y. being the next DeSean Jackson, and he came through on that drive. First the comeback sideline catch...then the Marvin-esque toe-touch TD grab.
Not sure what's going on with Fleener. News out of camp was that he was dominating. Didn't live up to that news last night, at least from what I saw.
Curtis Painter sighting! He's shaved his head and his hairline is receding, but he still holds a mean clipboard! He follows in the steps of Jim Sorgi and others who leave the Colts and head to the Giants. Actually, that's the only two I know. And Sorgi was alright.
Though he wasn't great, good to see Hasselbeck in there at least looking pretty comfortable, changing plays, etc. Nice to have someone who can step in at the end of a game and still give us a chance to win.
Caesar (don't remember is his last name) played well again. I have to go back but on one defensive play down on the Colts side of the field, the NT just sort of stood up and didn't do anything. Didn't try to get penetration or anything. And the Center & Guard didn't engage him. Odd.
I kept waiting for Ijalana to get in to no avail. I only saw him on one play and I wondered why he releases the block so early, it's like he is afraid of moving too much laterally so he won't get injured again. I am very intrigued about what's going to happen to him but it doesn't look like he is going to make it. I liked 2nd string OL and I hope the coaches can blend the 1st with the 2nd to get the best combination.
The offensive line was just plain bad in run blocking, but the usual suspects (Satele and McGlynn) seemed to stand out again, in a poor manner.
I was especially stoked (not) to see Ijalana in on the kneel down squad. It's bullshit that Grigson and Pagano have written him off already, especially when it seemed like he was rushed back into action. Shit happens I guess
He sure looked quick. Remember that preseason ST units have a lot of guys who probably won't be playing in the reg season. I won't make any bold (read dumb) predictions, but I bet they won't look quite so slow and discombobulated after week one.
@Blue@Heart Looks like you didn't watch the same game as everyone else.
I like Ballard, but I agree he isn't much better than Brown. I'd like him to be,with more gas left in the tank and all, but they're statistically about the same guy. They'll need some blocking from the center and right guard if either of them are going to succeed.
I suspect Fleener passed his tests but was still affected by his concussion. We've seen him have some bad days, nut nothing like that. That wasn't normal.
I thought (and I only watched it once) Sheppard had some good coverage on a couple plays. On one he was beaten one on one by a quicker RB, but not bc he wasn't playing tight coverage.
I think most interceptions will look like gifts. If there's a bad pass coming his way, a good corner needs to be able to get his hands on it.
@bradicus18 I'm a bit surprised by Fleener's drops as well. He seems to get open continually which is good, but then drops it. Does anyone know how Allen is doing? I'll still waiting to see 2 or 12. Pep seems to be good at getting TEs open so I'd love to see how Allen does.
@bradicus18 You forgot Pam Oliver's hands for "the not so good". She was as bad as Fleener - never even looked for the ball!
@buymymonkey David Carr was camp fodder for the Colts as well, before the Giants picked him up. (Didn't we also have the huge former Giants back-up as camp fodder at a time? Forget his name.)
It also seemed to me, at least for the little of the 2nd half I saw before turning off, that Brown got a bit more space to run when Hasselbeck came in. Maybe there were some OL changes as well around the same time?
McGlynn and Satele looked just plain weak. I feel bad for those guys and keep thinking they can't possibly hold on to those spots. Ijalana, Cleary, some
guy named Schmeig. Someone is bound to unseat Satele and McGlynn if they continue to play the way they played last year.
@MarcusDugan I like Ballard as well. I'm just not sure he will be anything more than what he already is. Blocking might be the answer but that is true of any other back. At this point, whoever is healthy will get carries. I like that plan just fine and I don't see any of the backs being real game-changers for the Colts this year. Bradshaw has the potential if he can stay on the field. And, as you mentioned, if Satele and McGlynn are allowed to keep stinking it up, the run game will be a disappointment yet again.
I want the Coby Fleener that played Week 1 2012 against the Bears.
I hope Sheppard is that guy who makes things work because of his coverage skills. If he is that guy, the whole team will be better for it.
That was a bad decision by Manning. Two Colts were in the vicinity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OfL5WNF_iM (2:23 is the Toler interception). But, as you point out, I should be happy that Toler was alert and able to make the catch. No Aaron Ross moment there. :)
@hankster @bradicus18 Supposedly, Allen will return to practice this week. http://espn.go.com/blog/afcsouth/post/_/id/52686/allen-to-practice-fleener-out-a-couple-of-days-for-the-colts
@MarcusDugan Freakin' move Ijalana inside and bench McGlynn. That's my opinion. Probably will never happen, but that's what I would do.
@MarcusDugan I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking this. They looked terrible and McGlynn was on his ass for part of the evening. However, this FO is starting to worry me with how they are handling personnel. I don't expect the starting line to change.
@Blue@Heart @Payton Their Brown did look rather good. He also looked like he had some decent blocking. Our Brown didn't look like he was avoiding contact at any cost, which is something you continually fail to see. I specifically remember him fighting through several tackles on a short yardage run and on the 8 yard run. Even on the Hasselbeck INT he fought through a couple of players to get to the guy with the ball.
@MarcusDugan Man, even a scarecrow effigy of McGlynn would suffice. At least it wouldn't make the same mental mistakes the original would. And would probably hold the pocket better. :-/
He was never supposed to be the answer to the Jeopardy question "Which player would make you think Mike Pollak wasn't actually that bad?"
Seems painfully accurate. I think they truly wanted Thornton and Holmes to challenge those guys, especially Thornton. You know McGlynn couldn't have felt very good about that draft pick.