: A slightly improved offensive line with Scott Wells
gave Sam Bradford
more time; after giving up 55 sacks a year ago, Bradford was comfortable under center, hardly using shotgun during his first couple drives.
Despite going 7-for-9, Bradford still makes high throws when rushed.
The backup line struggled in pass blocking for Kellen Clemens
, nearly getting him killed on two Jerry Hughes sacks, in which he came in unabated.
Undrafted rookie Austin Davis
showed a quick release and the confidence to throw in traffic, but also the bad habit of staring down his defender too long prior to the throw.
Indianapolis: Andrew Luck’s
first pass was a 63-yard slip screen to Donald Brown
; Luck didn’t sweat the rush and calmly looked the ball into Brown’s hands. Offensive line is upgraded with Samson Satele
, but former Eagles backups, Mike McGlynn
and Winston Justice,
put Luck’s blind side in jeopardy early.
Luck seems comfortable throwing on the run, which he may have to do often with a cobbled-together line. Luck doesn’t force throws into areas where defenders can potentially create turnovers. Drew Stanton
gamely picked the defense apart in the third quarter with nothing fancy or flashy, just exposition of weakness.
, aka “Mr. Irrelevant”, extended his 15 minutes of fame with a perfectly thrown 33-yard pass to Jeremy Ross for a touchdown in the fourth….overall QB line after the Harnish/Ross TD: 20/29, 304 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Bad exchange on handoff between Bradford and Isaiah Pead
was almost costly. Steven Jackson
played sparingly early, switching off with Pead behind Bradford, but averaged four yards a carry in limited action.
Luck’s offense didn’t seem content to run much, with only four designed runs on three drives; best play was a 7-yard weakside run by Donald Brown
. Lots of first-down passing; runs from Brown, Delone Carter
, and Mewelde Moore
were virtually only used in short-yardage situations, and the Colts even passed long in a few of those. Carter impressed early in the third by dragging four or five defenders on an 8-yard gain.
St. Louis: Lance Kendricks
continues to make a strong case for himself at tight end, making a couple of catches after sneaking into the open on some cross routes. After an injury-riddled, confusing year in Philadelphia, Steve Smith
looked versatile as a decoy on the streak, and a threat on the curl.
bailed Bradford out by snagging a high pass. Isaiah Pead
is sloppy handling the ball, and could afford to learn the trick Tom Coughlin taught Tiki Barber. Chris Givens
had double coverage beat on a Davis deep bomb, but let the ball go off his chest.
Indianapolis: Austin Collie
and Coby Fleener
took advantage of the Rams’ soft zone, and helped engineer Luck’s finest drive, culminating with Collie’s 23-yard touchdown. TY Hilton
showed good presence after Janoris Jenkins stepped in front of him, still snagging a 12-yard bullet from Luck. LaVon Brazill
either has Stickem on his hands, or just has a freakish grip on the two circus catches he made in the second. .Luck and his receivers worked quick; the two sustained TD drives were 3:28 and 4:08.
St. Louis: Janoris Jenkins
should have intercepted a frozen rope from Luck to TY Hilton, and his mannerisms indicate that he knew it. .Jenkins would later break up a pass from Drew Stanton that he was beaten on by cleanly getting his arm into the trajectory.
First-string defense struggled in the flat, with Coby Fleener having nothing but space on a second down completion. Despite the heavy passing assault from Indy, Cortland Finnegan
barely factored in. Craig Dahl
played strong in the third quarter, working to get in on every play, and would have had a sack on Drew Stanton if not for an unfavorable angle taken.
Jeff Fisher can’t build Rome in a day, but his defense played far more conservatively than we saw from his groups in Tennessee.
Fourth worst run defense a year ago adapted well to shifting combos of Steven Jackson and Isaiah Pead, and was routinely stopping the run with cohesive flooding by the second possession. Defense still has problems forcing three-and-outs, as Rams' first four possessions went past midfield.
came in unblocked for two sacks of Kellen Clemens. And Indy gave up a 54-yard pass interference penalty with double coverage on Chris Givens. Using Dwight Freeney
and Robert Mathis
as linebackers in the pass rush created mismatches with a confused Rams line.
Fringe corneback DJ Johnson
forwent a tackle and laid a nice hit on Austin Pettis, but didn’t take him down, and gave him a chance to try to run past the sticks.