The Indianapolis Colts lost yet another close preseason game Saturday night. The Colts were unable to snatch victory in the final minutes of play, and fell to the Saints, 23-17.
Through the first two preseason games, both the offense and defense looked sharp and much improved. But with extended play for the starters on Saturday night, the exact opposite held true.
The defense gave up 125 rushing yards in the first half alone and allowed Drew Brees to throw two easy touchdowns in three series. The offense never found its rhythm and Andrew Luck struggled all night long.
Aside from a touchdown pass to Coby Fleener, Luck missed a number of open throws and struggled with his progressions and reads. Luck was 10-for-18 for 103 yards the touchdown and an interception (and should have thrown a second pick).
Defensively, the Colts struggled with the basics. Kelvin Sheppard and D’Qwell Jackson were horrid in coverage, and Jackson particularly struggled to finish his tackles. It seemed like everyone on defense was whiffing on tackles.
Reggie Wayne made his return to the football field for the first time since his ACL injury. Wayne didn’t show up on the stat sheet, but he had two receptions taken away due to penalty flags. The good news: he got right back up after a couple of big hits.
The Colts wanted to have an emphasis on running the ball last night, and made some improvements. Trent Richardson had six carries for 17 yards. But on three of those runs, there was a defender in the backfield making the stop by the time he touched the ball.
Ahmad Bradshaw saw his first action after recovering from his neck injury. He didn’t get too many chances, and his three carries netted just two yards. He did have a reception for 11 yards.
Once again, the most impressive ball carrier was Dan Herron. Herron ran the ball eight time for 68 yards. He is managing to be an effective runner, even behind the second string offensive line. It wouldn’t be surprising if Herron got carries with the first team offense in the near future.
On defense, DT Zach Kerr was easily the most impressive player. He’s looked good all preseason and ended with three tackles for losses and a sack against the Saints.
Overall this was a disappointing effort by the Colts. The Colts didn’t appear ready to play and it prompted Luck to say that he was disappointed in himself. He shouldn’t be the only one.
The good news is that the Colts escaped from the game without any new injuries, and that constitutes a win in any preseason game.
Up next, the Colts will drive down I-74 to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.