In what was the exact opposite of last week’s performance, the Indianapolis Colts’ starters were sloppy whereas the backups looked sharp and nearly lead a comeback.
The third preseason game is where the starters get the most time and it best represents how the team looks. If this is an indicator of how the Indianapolis Colts will play this season, the fans and the coaches should be scared. The starters looked weak. The offense took awhile before it got on track and they never got the running game going until Dan Herron and the backups came in. The defense failed to stop the run, with its lowlight coming when 11-year veteran quarterback ran for 28 yards untouched.
As mentioned earlier, Andrew Luck and the starters were definitely not on their game. The offensive line, especially the interior offensive line, was very weak and they allowed a lot of pressure up the middle. Luck was scrambling a lot and needed to force some throws as well. Trent Richardson was shaky but he showed some nice flashes out there. He wasn’t terrible. The receivers continue to look sharp. It was great to see Reggie Wayne out there. The best receiver was Griff Whalen, who continues to have a great preseason. He is amongst the best Colts this preseason. The highlight of the night was seeing Coby Fleener catch a nice touchdown and faking out everyone in the building by pretending to dunk the ball over the goalpost. I don’t think he wants to lose 2% of his salary.
On defense, there were a few good performances, but overall, it was a dismal performance. D’Qwell Jackson had a rough night with trouble in coverage and some missed tackles. It was disappointing but maybe it wakes him up for the season. The defensive backs - the starting ones - weren’t solid. Vontae Davis and Darius Butler missed some key tackles and Butler was even beaten in coverage. They lacked much of a presence up front and couldn’t get much going against Drew Brees. The pass rush was silent and they were able to drive it down the field easily.
The backups and third-stringers looked nice. There were some great plays from Chandler Harnish and I liked the way he played. Herron was the player of the night with some big runs and continues to improve. I’d argue he’s a lock for the roster. Zurlon Tipton has his moments too, but Herron overshadowed him.
The backup defense looked better and Josh Gordy even had a nice interception. Zach Kerr had another great game and he continues to improve.
Finally, I didn’t like what Chuck Pagano and the coaches did in terms of play calling and its gameplan. Some of the play calls; especially the ones in the red zone were weak and not well thought out. They needed to be sharp in that area because if they score on that goal line stand, the Colts win the game. It also seemed as if the Saints coaches were always one step ahead.
This was definitely a game to forget for the Colts and they’ll need to be sharp and ready to go for Week 1, as the starters will get only one series (some will get two) next week.