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Latest News from Around Madison County
- Category: Sports
- Published on Sunday, 12 August 2012 18:59
If the September 9th regular season opener against the Bears in Chicago is the official beginning to Chapter One of the Andrew Luck Era, then Sunday’s preseason contest against the Rams must be the Introduction.
Donald Brown gets ready to celebrate taking Andrew Luck's first ever pass 63 yards for a score in Sunday's preseason opener against the Rams where the Colts found themselves on the good side of a 38-3 whipping of the Rams. Luck was very impressive all the way around in his Colts preseason debut. (Photo by Nick Beam)
If one thing is certain, Luck stands to have his every decision on and off the field compared to that of more than just a few. Whether it is fair or not is to be debated on every sports station around the country and, in my opinion, it happens to not be fair at all. But to entertain those on the other side of the fair or unfair debate let’s look at Andrew’s first preseason numbers in comparison to those they’re going to continue to be lined up against.
Sunday’s first half action saw Luck take to the field nearly for the entirety and it got started with a bang. Flashback to August 8th, 1998 when Peyton Manning’s first ever preseason contest against the Seattle Seahawks saw him hit Marvin Harrison on a slant that turned into a 40 something yard touchdown and was every bit a sign of things to come for Colts Country. How about a little déjà vu as Andrew Luck’s first pass attempt went for a 63-yard touchdown to Donald Brown on a screen. So for all those trying to set that #18 bar up for #12 to try to match, you can check that one off the list. From there, the Colts offense continued to dominate the first half & even the rest of the game.
Let’s take a look at a few of these bars so many are unfairly placing in front of our new face of the franchise. Looking at the first preseason contests of Bobbie Griffin for the Redskins, Peyton Manning’s Broncos debut as well as Peyton’s 1998 preseason opener for the Colts.
- Robert Griffin went 4/6 for 70 yds and a TD (to Pierre Garcon) along with 1 rush for 0 yds.
- Peyton Manning (present day) went 4/7 for 47 yds and threw a redzone pick.
- Peyton Manning (1998-Pre Direct TV Spokesman days) went 8/15 for 113 yds and that first of so many touchdown to Marvin.
Keep in mind I am not one to say those numbers mean anything at all in the preseason, but each debut understandably drummed up some excitement over the possibilities to come. Looking at those numbers stacked up against Andrew’s opening act, Colts fans look to have a whole lot to continue to cheer about.
Andrew Luck went 10/16 for 188 yds and 2 touchdowns and came from within a half a yard of a 3rd with an impressive strike down the seam to Quan Cosby that had him stumble down at the Rams half yard line. And the next play saw Luck loft one up to a tackle eligible Joe Reitz, only to have it skip right off his outstretched hands. If you are one of those comparing Andrew’s every move I think this is one you have to check off too, maybe even put a star beside it because the things that don’t show up in the stat sheet were just as impressive.
In his 16 pass attempts, 17 if you count the 3rd and long, he tucked and picked up 9 yds on his own. Luck looked very comfortable and scanned the field like a veteran signal caller. The Colts even squeezed in a little no huddle that Andrew seemed to be in complete control over and Colts fans got a glimpse of the decision making that the coaches have been raving about on a couple occasions as Luck avoided blitzes rolled out and threw the ball away instead of making those stereo-typical rookie mistakes of forcing passes because of pressure. If you take into account that 3 of his 6 incompletions were balls that should have been caught and 2 were thrown away, that leaves 1 of 16 pass attempts that wasn’t where he tried to put it. I say strike that up as impressive, even against vanilla preseason defensive schemes.
After the game, Luck had this to say of his one off target toss that cost offensive lineman Joe Reitz a chance at a rare touchdown catch for one of the big fellas up front, “I felt terrible about that one. It’s not very often an offensive lineman gets to catch a touchdown pass. I told him I owe him a steak dinner. And hopefully if the opportunity ever comes up again for him, I’ll put it in his stomach, or at least where he can catch it”
Even though #12 was the biggest draw to the sold out game against the Rams, many Colts fans are excited to see this new look defense as well. And, although it is the preseason and you only pin your ears back so much even with a sizable lead, they still look very fast as they have abandoned that undersized look that had teams pushing us around most weeks. Although defensive end and one of the outspoken leaders of this new look, defense Cory Redding, sat this one out they still handled their business. Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford played a couple series and didn’t manage to get any points on the board while putting together two decent drives that just couldn’t get into scoring position, much to the credit of the Colts defenders standing their ground, including a stop on 4th down that saw a Bradford pass sail out of bounds.
Jerry Hughes, formerly of the drafted way too high club, was the biggest play maker Sunday as he registered two sacks of Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens. Hughes may have found his home at outside linebacker along with Fili Moala at defensive end as Fili made a big stop in the backfield, as well playing in his new role in our hybrid 3-4 scheme.
The backup quarterback position that had Colts fans forming addictions to antacids last season handled their business as well. Drew Stanton led a scoring drive in the 3rd quarter with running back Darren Evans finishing off the drive with a 1yd run into the endzone and Mr. Irrelevant Chandler Harnish led a couple scoring drives of his own in the 4th quarter starting it off with a 33yd scoring toss to receiver Jeremy Ross in the stretching the Colts lead to 35-3 and again put a drive together late in the 4th that led to a Pat McAfee field goal. That’s right Pat McAfee can do more than just punt with the best of them and enjoy being the only punter in the league with a female cheering section, as he booted a 31 yard field goal making it a 38-3 contest.
Even though it was just a practice game that doesn’t count for much except providing some much needed energy to a fan base ready to bust after last season’s bitter tasting season, Head Coach Chuck Pagano shared his post game thoughts, “It was a great start, we couldn’t be more pleased. It was a great team victory. That’s what it’s all about here the team, the team, the team.”
All in all, Colts fans left Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday with a feeling that was so very missed last season; that which comes from a comfortable victory that saw our Colts in complete charge of all aspects of the game. Sure it is just the preseason, but after a year like last year we will take it and watch our Colts build on it.
In case you haven’t heard, the Colts are not in agreement with the so-called football experts placing them at the bottom of the preseason power rankings and are more than just out to prove them wrong; they are out to show them just how very, very wrong they are. The “Watch & See” movement has officially started, spread the word these Colts are going to make some noise, let’s go ahead and join them. I know it is just the preseason, but the atmosphere is one that is easy to get caught up in and I’ll keep saying it until you do or I get to say, “I told you so.”
Written by: Jeremy Adams
Connect Madison County
Continue to check in on connectmadisoncounty.com as we bring you the very best Colts coverage around. Follow Jeremy on twitter @JeremyAdams31