The Colts Re-Watch: Preseason Week 2 vs. Ravens
Each week, I will head back to the computer to re-watch the Indianapolis Colts’ previous game – sometimes multiple times – to help pick up on some things I might have missed the first go-around while watching live.
The Colts caught fire towards the end of the first half last week against Buffalo, and that carried into this week at home against the Baltimore Ravens. The big difference? This time, quarterback Andrew Luck was making his first on-field appearance since his season-ending injuries last year. The Colts lost 19-18, but preseason is all about observations rather than outcome.
- Rather than getting cute, I loved how offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski simply got Luck in rhythm early with a quick shot to Phillip Dorsett on the first play. Luck looked very sharp overall, progressing through reads and throwing with accuracy. He also slid a couple times, which I’m sure people loved to see. He went 8-for-8 for 71 yards (103.6 passer rating) and had 2 carries for 12 yards (6.0 avg).
- Backup quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris both had impressive moments again this week. Tolzien got drilled badly a couple of times but still led two scoring drives. Morris has struggled with some inconsistent accuracy, but he had a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter (before throwing a terrible, intercepted two-point conversion attempt that Baltimore returned the other way for two). On the final drive, down by one point, Morris (and two Ravens penalties) got the Colts 44 yards downfield, starting from their own 12-yard line, and helped put them into position to kick a potential game-winning field goal. The field goal attempt was missed, however. Both quarterbacks move their offenses well.
- One of the best plays of the game was a short cross from Luck to Donte Moncrief. Running back Robert Turbin stonewalled a blitzer from the left side first, and Moncrief made a great play after the catch. Also regarding Turbin, for the second week in a row, he lined up at fullback and received a dive while in the I-formation.
- Running back Josh Ferguson had a decent game. He did drop one pass and didn’t get much going on the ground, but he did hit lanes when they were there, and he had some really nice blitz pickups and kickoff returns. He also likely would’ve carved out a huge gain on a screen pass in the second quarter had he not lost his balance.
- Jordan Todman also looked good at times, showing good patience and hitting the right holes. Trey Williams may have had the best day at running back, though. His balance is outrageous, and his tough running style is rare for a player of his size.
- Receiver Quan Bray may not be outshining his contemporaries in the receiving game, but he remains impressive in the return game. One of those contemporaries, Chester Rogers, continued to impress. He caught 5 of his 6 targets for 31 yards (6.2 avg).
- Tight ends Erik Swoope and Chase Coffman had good performances. Swoope arguably had his best game as a pro, catching 3 of his 4 targets for 36 yards, including a 26-yarder. Coffman has proven to be one of the second/third unit’s most reliable pass catchers and chain movers.
- Right guard Denzelle Good – while probably the right choice to start – needs to get more consistent with locking defenders up. There were a couple of plays where he basically shoulder charged his man, which didn’t take them out of the play, and his man made the tackle. He did make plenty of effective blocks during the game, but those plays stuck out.
- Rookie center Ryan Kelly, on the other hand, has been locking guys up. Fellow rookie lineman Austin Blythe continued to move around the line, playing at left guard and then moving to center. He has been playing any position they move him to effectively. Another rookie, Le’Raven Clark, got beaten badly on a dip move by Matt Judon that got Tolzien crushed. The sack went for a loss of 10 and put the Colts at their own 5-yard line.
- Defensive tackle T.Y. McGill has been tremendous. He had 3 tackles on Saturday, 1 sack, and he forced an intentional grounding penalty that cost Baltimore 16 yards. Maybe we’ll see his hungry boy (that’s what I’m gonna call it) dance more this year.
- Defensive linemen Delvon Simmons and Sterling Bailey have both been getting more into the mix, finding themselves involved in several run plays.
- It’s been against second and third-teamers in both games, but it’s impossible to ignore edge defender Earl Okine’s ability to get into the backfield. He did a great job being disruptive, and though he did get tricked badly by Ravens quarterback Josh Johnson on one play, he was at least already in the pocket.
- Edge defender Curt Maggitt continued playing aggressively. It still didn’t result in any tackle stats, but he did bat one pass down at the line of scrimmage.
- Inside linebackers Josh McNary, Antonio Morrison and Edwin Jackson were very active, getting involved in most plays they were in on. The three finished with a combined 20 tackles (2 for loss).
- After being talked up last week, the Ravens picked on cornerback Darius White badly, and it did not go well for him. His day got off to a poor start with a 41-yard pass interference penalty, and then he was thrown at six more times and gave up 5 receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown.
- I’ve noticed safety T.J. Green’s willingness to get his nose into the run game. He attacks, not waiting for things come to him.
- It’s more fun to see Lawrence Guy in a Colts uniform rather than that of the Ravens.
- Ravens safety Eric Weddle went low on a couple of tackles on one drive that he probably could’ve approached differently. At one point, he up-ended tight end Dwayne Allen from behind and I completely expected for Allen to have suffered an injury.
- What ultimately lost the Colts the game were self-inflicted wounds. In a one-point, 19-18 loss, they missed two field goal attempts, had two turnovers and nine penalties (for 101 yards).
- Overall, it would be nice to see the Colts’ starting defense play tougher. Of course within reason and legality, but they should show some force behind their pads and let guys know it’s not going to be an easy game. It wouldn’t be as big of a deal if their opponents were playing casually, but the opponents often are showing their might, so it makes the Colts look like the softer team. Most of the time, the tougher team wins. Inside linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Nate Irving are a couple of exceptions to this, however.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Division Manager, Indianapolis Colts Team Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter as well as on Facebook, Google+ and FanCred.
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