Observation Deck: Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts got a familiar face back in the lineup, as receiver Reggie Wayne played in his first game since tearing his ACL in October 2013.

That turned out to be about the only good thing to happen for the Colts' starters on offense and defense in their 23-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The defense in its first real test in the preseason? Failed.

The offense? Far from impressive.

The Colts aren’t as far along as they appeared to be in their first two preseason games against the New York Jets and New York Giants.

Here are some other thoughts on the Colts’ third preseason game:

  • The Colts' starting defense was looking forward to facing the Saints' offense after solid performances against the Jets and Giants. The Saints made the Colts look ordinary on defense. Drew Brees led the Saints on touchdowns on two of the three series he played. The Colts didn’t do themselves any favors by missing tackles that allowed New Orleans to extend drives. Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson led the Colts in missed tackles with at least four of them, and he was beaten by Saints receiver Marques Colston for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. Cornerback Vontae Davis and linebacker Bjoern Werner also had missed tackles that ended up leading to significant gains for the Saints. New Orleans gained 288 yards and was 6-of-9 on third down in the first half.

  • Quarterback Andrew Luck and the offense got their most extensive playing time of the preseason. And outside of Luck's 21-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Coby Fleener, the unit did very little. Luck was intercepted after under-throwing an open Fleener on the series following the touchdown drive. With the interior part of the offensive line dealing with injuries, Luck had to avoid the rush from the Saints. The starting offense played six series, gaining only 167 yards.

  • Wayne was introduced last during pregame introductions. And to no surprise, he received the loudest ovation. Wayne had two catches in his preseason debut, but neither counted due to penalties. Luck went to Wayne on the first play of the game when he rolled out and completed a 5-yard pass to his receiver. The play did not count because fellow receiver T.Y. Hilton was flagged for being offside. It looked like Wayne finally had his first catch on the next series, this time a 6-yard reception over the middle. Wrong again. The Saints were called for illegal use of hands. Wayne’s night ended after that series. That wasn’t surprising because the goal was for Wayne to get on the field for some game action before the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 7.

  • Running back Trent Richardson didn’t do much to show that he’s ready to put the stranglehold on the starting position. Daniel Herron showed that he’s not ready to settle in as the third running back for the Colts. Richardson’s first two runs of the game were for 5 and 8 yards, respectively. His final two carries were for a total of a yard to finish with 14 yards on four carries. Richardson’s preseason totals are now 48 yards on 18 attempts. Herron became the front-runner to be the third back behind Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw after Vick Ballard (Achilles) and Chris Rainey (released) took themselves out of the mix. Herron had eight carries for 68 yards, including a 43-yard run.