Some thoughts out of the Indianapolis Colts’ 26-24 preseason loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night:
NBC’s broadcast and in-game interview with Andrew Luck ably summed up his night. The rookie quarterback didn’t start well but kind of fought through it and settled down, and the Colts did well to get to halftime with a 17-14 lead. Luck saw some exotic stuff called by Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau -- like just one down lineman pre-snap in the amoeba defense – and didn’t panic. A Luck pass aimed for Reggie Wayne wound up an easy pick-six for cornerback Ike Taylor (which gave Pittsburgh a 14-0 lead) and he absorbed a LaMarr Woodley sack on his very next play. Indy rallied with a drive that produced a short Donald Brown touchdown run and Luck got in himself on a fourth-and-goal to make it 14-all.
Austin Collie may have suffered a concussion in the second quarter when Taylor started to tackle him, bending him down into position to catch an arm from Larry Foote in the helmet. The veteran receiver has had concussion issues in the recent past, and a lot of outsiders felt it was their job to tell him to retire to avoid risking any further head trauma. We hope, of course, that it’s not a concussion or that it’s mild as can be -- and that it’s nothing that will affect him for very long. But even a mild concussion would be bad news. From the football perspective, if he’s going to miss time, rookies T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill will continue to get more action, and Donnie Avery becomes more important.
We got more of a sense of just what Wayne will be asked to do in Bruce Arians' offense, and it’s far more complex than what he’s done before. He’s motioning all over the place, and on this night he was just the sure weapon the Colts were envisioning when they re-signed him to be a key guy for Luck -- six catches for 74 yards in a half.
Rookie running back Vick Ballard got work with the first team and showed some indications of why he could earn a bulk of the team's carries. One 12-yard run to the right sideline featured a nice spin move as he pushed wide and showed both power and speed.
Luck’s second interception was completely on Hilton, who bobbled a catchable ball, knocking it up into the air and to cornerback Cortez Allen.
A sack against the second team isn’t cause for major celebration, but outside linebacker Jerry Hughes had one. He’s now got two in two games and sure seems like he’s got a more suitable role coming in this defense than he had in the team’s old 4-3 as an end. He finished with seven tackles, tied for the game high.