After a bit of a rocky start in Week 1, the Colts regrouped and played a stronger all around game to defeat the New York Giants, 20-12, in Week 2 of the 2013 preseason. Of course, the better result could simply be attributed to the fact that the Colts’ starters played much longer this time out, remaining in for almost an entire half versus just a few series in Week 1. Several drops cost the Colts early, but the reliable Reggie Wayne got the offense back on track, and several players on the other side of the ball got the defense noticed, too. Here are my takeaways from last night’s game:
- Chants of “Reggie! Reggie!” are always appropriate, even in the preseason. Reggie Wayne has been known to challenge himself in training camp by working with the ball machine and catching passes with just one hand. He put those reps to work Sunday night, catching an incredible one-handed grab from Luck in the first quarter. He followed it up with an impressive 28-yard touchdown. Wayne set the tone for the other receivers, who struggled early. Darrius Heyward-Bey had a drop but went on to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards with 4 catches for 42 yards. T.Y. Hilton once again looked like a force to be reckoned with, catching two passes for 36 yards and a pretty 18-yard score.
- The receivers can’t catch without being thrown to, though, and Andrew Luck threw well. He completed 9 of his 13 passes for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was also able to stay upright for most of the game. A job well done by the offensive line.
- If you were concerned about sacks after losing Dwight Freeney in the offseason, the new defensive unit should have eased some of those worries. The Colts had six sacks last night that were shared among four players: Erik Walden, Caesar Rayford (2), Drake Nevis (2), and Marshay Green. I myself am a Nevis supporter and am excited about his progress. But Rayford may have impressed me the most, because it was unexpected. He is enormous, but as a former undrafted free agent who most recently came from the AFL, he is a pleasant surprise. He deserves a shot at the roster and is one to watch as the team is cut to 53. Free agent acquisition Greg Toler also made noise on defense with a nice interception of Eli Manning.
- New Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw has yet to see any playing time while recovering from surgery on his foot, but he is a former Giant and was treated to a nice tribute from his old team before game time. A very classy and touching gesture by the Giants.
The Colts saw improvement in several key areas but will need to continue to improve their running game to take some pressure off Luck and the passing attack. The Colts also need to be concerned about Coby Fleener, who struggled before injuring his knee and leaving the game. Fleener had a great camp but has yet to show it in his preseason outings.
The Colts will have their penultimate preseason game Saturday night at 7pm when they host the Cleveland Browns. It will likely be the last time we see the starters participate before the real games begin, and they should play well into the third quarter. It should be a nice preview of what’s to come.