Colts show good and bad in starter-heavy third preseason game

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INDIANAPOLIS – If there is such a thing as anticipation in the preseason, Saturday night was it for Colts fans.

Though the game at Met Life Stadium six days earlier gave fans a larger glimpse of the team than their forgettable opener against Buffalo, the contest at Lucas OIl Stadium against the Browns was as close to a regular season game as it gets until next month.

The starters played into the third quarter and one of the team’s biggest free agent signings-safety LaRon Landry-made his Colts debut, finishing with 3 tackles. A dominating 27-6 win by new and returning players should produce some positive vibes 15 days before the season opener.

With the first unit on the field, the Colts showed the good and the bad of their preseason. Andrew Luck led a pair of touchdown drives but also was intercepted when a pass bounced off of fullback Stanley Havili hands into the grasp of Browns’ Tashaun Gipson.

Luck got it back in the third quarter when he led a 5-play, 47 yard drive that was capped by an eight-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton to make it 17-0.

His day was done after one series in the third quarter, Luck finished 16-of-25 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Like last week against the Giants, the reserves held the lead as Indianapolis improved to 2-1 in the preseason with the 27-6 win.

“I thought we did some good things. Points, convert third downs, that was a big focus. But there’s a lot of room for improvement still. Red zone turnovers you can never have. Two-minute drives, not getting points out of those. We know a lot of games are going to come down to two-minute drives in the season. So some good, some bad but definitely a step in the right direction. And it’s always good to, preseason or not, to win at home and to come out and defend our turf, if you will. Guys take a point of pride in that,” said Luck.

The most significant event, however, was the injury to left tackle Anthony Castonzo. He limped off the field in the first quarter and never returned to the game. Head Coach Chuck Pagano says he suffered a mild MCL sprain in his right knee and that they should know more after x-rays.

The Colts still have one more preseason game remaining before they kick off the regular season against the Raiders in September. Unlike Saturday night, the Colts starters will play very little in the preseason finale on Thursday in Cincinnati.