The Colts played their best game of the preseason Saturday night at Lucas Oil, defeating the Cleveland Browns, 27-6. In what is traditionally known as the “dress rehearsal” game, the Colts’ starters played into the 3rd quarter and offered the most glimpses into their playbook as we will see before regular season play begins. Both offense and defense played strongly, giving fans a reason to be confident about the year ahead. There were several notable performers:
- Andrew Luck continues to make good decisions in the preseason. He completed 16 of his 25 pass attempts Saturday and threw two touchdown passes, each to a different target. He did have an interception in the red zone, but only because the ball went right through fullback Stanley Havili’s hands. Havili could have and should have caught the ball.
- Speaking of Stanley Havili — his night wasn’t all bad. Earlier in the game he caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Luck to put the Colts up 10-0. The Colts are one of the few teams in the league with a designated fullback on their roster, and Havili seems to be fitting in well.
- Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton have separated themselves from the rest of the receivers and are indisputably the top two on the roster. Wayne once again led the team in receptions (7) and receiving yards (79), though he did not score a touchdown. Hilton did, though — an 8-yarder from Luck in the 3rd quarter.
- Rookie Kerwynn Williams led the team in rushing with 9 carries for 37 yards, including one 27-yard run. The seventh rounder is certainly making a case for himself to make the roster.
- Another player who has (in my opinion) earned a roster spot is Caesar Rayford. Last week he had 2 sacks; this week he added another two — and forced a fumble — to bring his total to five sacks so far this preseason. He is getting noticed.
- The defensive unit as a whole continued to improve. Pat Angerer and LaRon Landry made their preseason debuts, and, together with the other starters, they shut out the Browns while they were on the field. The Colts were so stingy – yes, really, stingy! – that Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski made his offensive starters play longer than planned after they had three straight three-and-outs. Larry Asante also returned an interception 48-yards for an impressive touchdown.
We have most likely seen the last of the Colts’ major starters before the regular season begins on September 8th. But there is still one preseason game left that will determine who will earn the last remaining spots on the Colts roster. The last chance to impress will be on Thursday at 7pm, when the Colts conclude their 2013 preseason in Cincinnati against the Bengals.