Coming into this game, the Browns were rolling on offense, and Brandon Weeden was leading them.
After a bad defensive outing against the Bills, the Colts bounced back against the Giants, and then they followed it up with an even more impressive game against the Browns.
Unlike usual Colts games, Andrew Luck and the offense isn’t what set the tone for the game and started the charge, but it was the defense.
The Browns simply couldn’t get anything going. In fact, the Colts starting defense only allowed them to get four first downs.
After being so effective in his previous two games, Weeden had no touchdowns and only 105 yards on 12/25 passing.
Trent Richardson wasn’t completely quiet, as he still had 31 yards on only seven carries.
All-in-all it was a fantastic performance by the Colts on defense, who have no held consecutive opponents to zero touchdowns.
Is it too weird following up the Colts defense with their offense? Should I just start this piece over? Oh well, maybe it’s something that could happen more often in the upcoming season.
The biggest concern about the offense coming into the game was the offensive line. We needed to see improvements, and that simply didn’t happen.
On the very first Colts drive of the game, tackle Anthony Castonzo suffered a knee injury and did not return. Not much news came out about the specifics of the injury, but more insight is expected in the upcoming days.
From the very beginning of the game Andrew Luck was under a lot of pressure. He was sacked, knocked down and put under stress too many times. Too often we witnessed Luck run out of a collapsing pocket to pick up as many yards as he could on his feet. And although running is something Luck is capable of, it isn’t something anyone wants to see, especially in a preseason game.
Even dealing with immense pressure, Luck played very well.
Luck had 164 yards with two touchdowns on 16/25 passing. He did have one interception in the red zone, but it was tipped in the air by one of his receivers which made for an easy turnover.
Much focus from the Colts come from their receivers, and after tonight that focus may have gotten bigger.
Even though he only had 17 yards on two catches, T.Y. Hilton had his third touchdown of the preseason in as many games.
In an extremely pleasant surprise, Darrius Heyward-Bey had a very effective game. Luck looked for him three times, and each time Heyward-Bey connected with him and gained a total of 33 yards.
Did you forget about Reggie Wayne? If you did, let me remind you of him for a second. Wayne continues to be Luck’s security blanket and they person he goes to more than anyone. Wayne had 11 targets, and caught seven of them for 79 yards.
If Heyward-Bey keeps improving in this offense, Hilton keeps getting better after every play, and Wayne keeps playing like the future Canton inductee he will be, this Colts offense will find themselves with three deadly receivers.
The running attack looks like something that the Colts have been serious about. They brought in a fullback, Ahmad Bradshaw, and promised they would be more of a running team than last year. They showed that against the Browns.
As a team the Colts ran the ball 34 times for 149 yards, led by starting back Vick Ballard who had 33 yards on 10 carries.
This was the first preseason game that showed some insight as to what the Colts may look like in the regular season (starters played up until the middle of the third rather than just a quarter). And what Colts fans saw tonight should bring them much optimism. This is a team with a much more efficient and balanced offense than last year, along with a better defense.
The Colts finish their preseason this Thursday as they travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals.
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