Well, the moment we’ve all been anticipating finally arrived. New coach, new philosophy, plenty of new players, and, of course, Andrew Luck. There had been times when all but the most hyper-positive (read: unrealistic) Colts fans wondered if we would ever see Luck take another snap. Beyond that, it was impossible not to wonder just how Luck would look in his first action since he celebrated a comeback against Jacksonville at the end of the 2016 season.
Luck and the offense looked solid on their first drive. We saw some nice throws in the flat to Marlon Mack, a checkdown to Chester Rodgers, and a nice 3rd down conversion to T.Y. Hilton. Luck even took a hit on a scramble…in a preseason game (nothing changes, apparently) and popped up looking pretty happy about getting through his first real NFL contact in quite a while.
The defense came out and showed us a little of their “new” look. Well, new to them, anyway. It’s a 4-3 with heavy doses of the Tampa 2 look. Skai Moore, a linebacker many of us have never heard of, had a nice pass breakup near midfield, but overall, the Seattle offense moved efficiently to their first score, taking a 7-3 lead.
After the Colts tacked on another field goal to make it 7-6, the Seahawks continued to move the ball easily before throwing a pick to Nate Hairston in the end zone. And that was the beginning of trade bait quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s night (and the end of many fans’ interest in the game – no slight to Brissett, who played as well as expected).
Before I recap the scoring by the backups and future CFL players, it’s important that we recap what we saw from the starters. The defense didn’t look like a very talented unit, but that was to be expected. They didn’t look awful either, at least not enough to warrant a scathing hot take from me. I think this unit needs experience and talent, and they’re going to get their experience. As far as the talent, they have some solid safeties, a CB with lots of potential in Quincy Wilson, and several young guys with something to prove.
The offense looked good for their two drives too. Luck took one sack but went 6/9 for 64 yards, a 7.1 yard average, and an 87.3 rating. Not bad for the preseason, and excellent when you consider his long, grueling path back to the football field and all the uncertainty that surrounded it. Maybe we’ll see him missing receivers on the “film” later, but he looked like he was ready to play last night. He was alert and decisive and even celebrated taking his first hit, as only Andrew Luck would.
I hope we will see some more to be excited about out of Marlon Mack, since he’s expected to be the starter – or someone, although Mack had a couple of nice receptions, and Robert Turbin had some nice carries. You want to see a running game that’s strong enough to make the passing game more effective, and it’s too early to make any judgments.
Brissett lead the team on another field goal drive to take a 9-7 lead, and the two teams traded field goals in the 3rd quarter before backup-backup-backup quarterback Philip Walker hit 2nd year tight end Darrell Daniels for a 10-yard TD after taking a roughing the passer call on a 33-yard pass to Kasen Williams, a 6-2, 219lb receiver who has spent time with the Seahawks and Browns since 2015.
Walker had a good game. Brissett, unfortunately, only averaged 4.4 YPC. Brad Kaaya fumbled twice on one drive, and a third time on a bad snap, which was returned 28 yards for a touchdown by someone called Joey Ivie for the final score of 19-17. These are all small sample sizes, including Luck, who led two drives.
Overall, it was a non-discouraging, non-alarming game-like thing without a rash of injuries, and we can’t ask for much more out of the preseason.