By Ana Krasuski // @ana_krasuski
The Indianapolis Colts showed considerable preseason growing pains in their hometown debut against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. It’s more evident than ever that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is on a long road to recovery after missing over a year on the field. Unfortunately, the situation is more urgent than ever as the regular season is just around the corner.
Luck appeared in Monday night’s game for just five series, going 6-for-13 for 50 yards, along with a pair of sacks and a red zone interception. “I didn’t feel like we as an offense got into any semblance of a sustained rhythm,” Luck told the Indy Star. “I think we were just sloppy a little bit.”
Head coach Frank Reich has been thrilled with the Colts’ progress in training camp, but has utilized a more simplified offensive scheme in the first two preseason games, reserving the Colts’ best plays for the regular season and a well-adjusted team.
“Obviously, not our best outing,” Reich said. “It’s going to be like any other game. We are going to watch the tape and see that the defense started out playing pretty well, did some nice things. Special teams made a couple of plays. Offensively, we had a couple of good moments, but at the end of the day, when you have 13 penalties and you turn the ball over three times, then you get down in the red zone twice and come away with no points, that’s not a good formula.”
While the Colts offense looks to get healthier, the defense is much more efficient in their 4-3 scheme. The Colts logged three sacks while also limiting the Baltimore offense to a 15% third down efficiency. Linebackers Zaire Franklin and Darius Leonard had a combined 17 tackles, while Grover Stewart and Hassan Ridgeway each tallied five tackles. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus will look to continue to nurture a solid defense in the remainder of the preseason and into the regular season.
Untimely turnovers, careless penalties, and missed opportunities seemed to have been the tone of Monday night’s Colts performance. Though Luck completed a couple of solid passes, the Colts will look to improve the offensive unit as a whole to avoid another sloppy performance we saw against Baltimore. Saturday’s game is the season’s dress rehearsal, and the Colts have no time to waste.
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