In the annual ‘dress rehearsal’ preseason game, the Saints beat the Colts in Indianapolis in a highly entertaining match between two teams with playoff expectations, though the first teams were less competitive than the final six-point differential would suggest.
The Saints pulled their quarterback after less than a quarter after scoring two early touchdowns. New Orleans saw a noticeable improvement in penalties as well, finishing with 10 after a 22 count last week against Tennessee.
Conversely, the Colts left their first team offense in longer, but with little result as they managed just 10 first half points and will be disappointed with the entire unit’s three turnovers.
As we always do, let’s examine some of the eye-catching performances from this game.
New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note
Drew Brees, QB, +0.4
Breakdown: Brees looked sharp in his first live action of the preseason, leading the Saints’ offense to two first-quarter touchdowns. There were several misfires (e.g. 1Q, 13:25 and 10:58), but he also made a couple of beautiful, regular season-ready throws, including hitting Marques Colston in the back of the end zone at 0:36 of the first.
Signature Stat: He faced pressure just three times in 16 drop-backs.
Tim Lelito, C, -3.3
Breakdown: This performance certainly won’t reflect well in Lelito’s battle with Jonathan Goodwin for the starting center spot. He was repeatedly squeezed and pushed around in the run game, with a pressure surrendered in pass protection; his attempted block at 3:16 of the second quarter provides a adequate summary of his play.
Signature Play: Tasked with blocking Brandon McKinney at his own goal line (3Q, 4:21), Lelito finished the play on his back in the end zone, with the running back barely getting across to avoid a safety.
Kasim Edebali, DE, +2.4
Breakdown: Edabali got to the quarterback twice in just eight snaps, and picked up another positive for beating his man at 0:27 of the fourth, though he didn’t get there in time to affect the throw.
Signature Play: On the very next play, he beat TE Erik Swoope to join Lawrence Virgil on the game-ending sack.
Indianapolis Colts – Performances of Note
Zach Kerr, DL, +3.2
Breakdown: The Colt defensive lineman couldn’t quite match last week’s +4.0 performance, but he came close. Playing 35 snaps spread across all four quarters, Kerr picked up a sack and two other stops, victimizing guard Marcel Jones on several occasions, such as at 4:55 of the fourth.
Signature Play: At 11:34 of the fourth, Kerr rather easily dismissed Jones’ block attempt on his way to the quarterback for his aforementioned sack.
Andrew Luck, QB, -2.5
Breakdown: Tough night for Luck, who completed 10 of 18 pass attempts for a 5.7 YPA. Two of those passes he’d like to have back, one a potentially pick-six-able ball in the flat, the other thrown right to Kenny Vaccaro (1Q, 00:32), while his lone touchdown came on a blown coverage to a wide open Coby Fleener.
Signature Play: Perhaps Luck’s most impressive play was when showed off his strength and mobility at 1:14 of the second quarter, shrugging off the attempted tackle of Brandon Deaderick to pick up 16 yards and a first down on a scramble up the middle.
Coby Fleener, TE, -1.9
Breakdown: Was on the receiving end of the Saints’ blown coverage, hauling in Luck’s touchdown pass. Otherwise, he had a rough time, beaten badly twice in the five snaps he spent run blocking.
Signature Play: At 0:34 of the second quarter, Fleener lost his initial block against Cam Jordan at the goal line before being pancaked back into the rusher by linebacker David Hawthorne.
PFF Game Ball
Saints end Cam Jordan was as disruptive as ever in his 32 snaps, picking on tackle Gosder Cherilus on his way to a +2.4 grade.
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