The Indianapolis Colts lit up the St. Louis Rams Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium with a 38-3 victory, but…
Andrew Luck looked great as well, hitting on 10 of 16 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns, but…
The new defense, shaky at first, stiffened up and made some plays, but…
Well, if you’re any kind of football fan, the “but” here should be perfectly obvious. The Colts and Luck both looked very impressive at the Luke, but – now say it with me here – it’s pre-season.
Now, understand me here. I get that, regardless of who’s on the field or how little game planning is done, Luck still has to read the defense, react correctly, and get the ball out both fast and accurately. All that takes a lot of skill regardless and he showed that he could very well be something special. BUT…
I could go on and on with the buts, however I think you get the idea. Colts fans should be excited, especially after what they saw in the first half versus the Rams. But it was the Rams and it was the first pre-season game. So, be excited, but temper your expectations somewhat. Next week Luck will have to go against aPittsburgh defense that didn’t finish in the bottom of the barrel last year, and they play inPittsburgh. Tell me Polamalu and Co. aren’t just licking their chops at the thought of “welcoming” the rookie first round quarterback to the league, pre-season or not. Just something to think about.
Now I’ll highlight some of the things I noticed during Sunday’s game:
- What was with the Colts wearing their road uniforms at home, and the Rams wearing their home jerseys?
- The Colts new “hybrid” defense looked a lot more like a 5-2 alignment (that is, 5 defensive linemen with 2 linebackers) than a 3-4 or 4-3. If you look closely, both Freeney and Mathis (and their back-ups), whole playing the outside linebacker position, lined up almost exclusively near the line of scrimmage on either side of Cory Redding and Fili Moala. That tells me the priority, at least to this point, will be on still sending those two at the quarterback.
- I did notice, however, that the defense lined up in the more familiar 4-3 on 3rd and long plays.
- On the first drive of the game, the Colts 3 down linemen didn’t really seem to get a lot of penetration, allowing Steven Jackson to hit some big early runs, but settled down in subsequent drives.
- It looks like the Colts corners, as in previous years, are still giving a lot of cushion of first and second down, allowing easy, short passes under the coverage. The inside linebackers Angerer and Conner will have to be able to read pass plays a lot better this year to keep guys like Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski from burning them from the slot.
- You have to give a lot of credit to both Andrew Luck and Donald Brown on Luck’s first pass and score in their opening drive, but the real props from me go to Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. Both of the rookie tight ends hit key downfield blocks that allowed Brown to take the dump-off pass 63 yards.
- Isaiah Pead’s fumble in the second quarter should have been reviewed by the officials and overturned. He wasn’t touched by a singleIndianapolisplayer and the ball popped out after he hit the ground. The Colts got lucky (no pun intended).
- Luck’s athleticism will really help him keep plays alive while the offensive line still tries to come together. On more than a few plays the offensive line gave pretty poor protection, but Luck was able to roll out of harms way to either find an open wide receiver or simply throw the ball away.
- I watched both RGIII’s first game and this game (obviously). One thing I can say that definitely distanced Luck from RGIII this week is the fact that Luck’s ball comes out with a lot more speed than Griffin’s appeared to.Griffinmay improve that next week, but there was a significant difference between the two this week.
- The Colts receivers had a major case of the dropsies in the 2nd quarter. You can guarantee they’ll be working extra hard on that during practice this week.
- Speaking of receivers, it looks like Luck has found an early favorite target – Austin Collie (fantasy alert!).
- Of the 5 things I predicted on my pre-game preview, I was right on only one (no real shock there): Luck played nearly the entire first half of the game. I think that was a smart, bold move by the coaching staff to get Luck a lot of in-game experience early on.
With all that being said, I’ll be heading toAndersonon Thursday to catch the last evening training camp practice before the team heads back the Colts Complex. It should be exciting, and I’ll be live tweeting while I’m there, with a full post about my experience to come Friday, if all goes well.
Follow me on Twitter @expertfan1
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