Andrew Luck faces off against RGIII this week.
The Indianapolis Colts fought hard, but just weren't able to keep pace with the Washington Redskins, losing 30-17. The game was a solid indicator of where each team is at with their rookie quarterbacks and was a fun game to watch, indeed.
Take a look at the quarter-by-quarter grades and final game grades and analysis.
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Overall Game Grade — B+
Luck was money today. The offensive line didn't make it easy on him, but that made his performance look that much better. He made beautiful throws from in and out of the pocket, extended plays with his legs and showed veteran poise in navigating the pocket. Considering the quality of the protection today, Luck was a monster. Colts fans couldn't have hoped for much more.
Q4 — B-
Harnish really got comfortable for a stretch in the fourth. He completed several passes, including a 59-yard gainer to Jeremy Ross. He was just alright in the red zone and didn't deliver on fourth down, but was decent overall.
Q3 — D
After Luck played one series in the third quarter, Harnish relieved him to lead the B-team. It was pretty ugly, as Harnish struggled just to get his passes off. He was safetied early, and nearly threw a pick just minutes later.
Q2 — A+
Luck was brilliant on multiple occasions and in various ways. He was able to avoid pressure on numerous occasions. He converted a third-and-inches with a strong QB sneak. Then he threw a perfect strike to T.Y. Hilton for a 31-yard touchdown. Luck looks spectacular, plain and simple.
Q1 — B
Luck looked solid, but was limited by poor offensive line play and a nonexistent running game. He was poised on third downs, as he converted twice in third-and-long situations. Suffered two sacks, but it would be difficult to pin either of them on Luck.
Overall Game Grade — C
After Andrew Luck (and maybe T.Y. Hilton) there was simply nothing to be happy about offensively. The biggest takeaway was that the Colts were able to convert a few short-yardage runs into first downs and a touchdown. It's hard to evaluate the running game during the preseason, since so much less emphasis is put on it, but it didn't look pretty. If the offensive line can't get it together, Luck could be taking quite a few shots this season.
Q4 — B
The offense moved the ball around nicely in the fourth quarter, coming away with 10 points. The offensive line closed the game out with a better effort than they showed in the first three quarters. The running game never really put it together, but they did smash in a fourth-down rushing touchdown via Darren Evans.
Q3 — D
The Colts simply could not move the ball at all. I hate to harp on something, but the offensive line woes are becoming obnoxious. Harnish couldn't get anything going, whatsoever. The run game picked up just a bit, but that could be a simple result of increased carries.
Q2 — B
Despite the touchdown, the offense as a whole was not amazing. The offensive line really continued their struggles, forcing Luck to avoid pressure multiple times. No running back stood out, but the offensive line play wouldn't have allowed Arian Foster to gain yards. It has been a really lackluster effort from the O-line.
Q1 — C-
The offensive line couldn't open any holes in the running games, and allowed Andrew Luck to be sacked twice, once on third down. The receivers made a few strong plays, with Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton being active early. The offense was able to convert a third-and-one with a power run using Donald Brown, which was a relief to see after the 2011 struggles in similar situations.
Overall Game Grade — D+
Long story short, it was more of the same from the Colts D today. The corners can't cover and the front seven isn't built to stop the run. The personnel simply aren't up to snuff. When opposing fourth-string running backs cut back busted plays on a first-team defense and there is nobody containing him, it's embarrassing. Alfred Morris made the Colts defense look like they were the fourth-stringers, and the Redskins quarterbacks all looked like the second coming of Dan Marino. This defense is far from where it needs to be.
Q4 — C
A grade of "C" might be giving them a bit too much credit, but it was nice to see the defense force a punt, especially when the game was still within reach. Grossman threw another touchdown pass, but the D was able to get the 'Skins off the field when Kirk Cousins joined the game.
Q3 — D+
Rex Grossman came in for the Redskins and diced up the secondary some more. He took the Redskins right down the field and threw a pretty decent touchdown pass. The coverage was subpar, to say the least.
One positive was there, however. After suffering the safety, the Colts D came back and stuffed run plays on second-and-one and third-and-one opportunities for the 'Skins, denying them a first down.
Q2 — F
The corners couldn't cover anybody, as was expected to be the case going into the season. Garcon, Santana Moss and Fred Davis dominated the entire defense throughout the quarter. RGIII made the Colts look silly. Worse yet, after they allowed the catches they couldn't tackle anybody.
We got two looks at the red zone defense, and both times they surrendered touchdowns. The first was a bullish run from Alfred Morris, the second a rollout by RGIII that ended in a Moss touchdown. The defense was bad all the way around.
Q1 — B-
The run defense was solid, allowing only a couple decent runs. The coverage was not great, allowing Pierre Garcon to get open deep on the first play from scrimmage. He was overthrown, but the defense did nothing to stop the play. The D was able to get good pressure on Robert Griffin III throughout the quarter.
Overall Game Grade — B
When they were asked to deliver, they did their job. You can't ask for more than that. Other than a couple decent returns for the Redskins, this unit was solid.
Q4 — B+
Adam Vinatieri booted a 29-yard field goal and McAfee dropped in the Colts' second PAT of the afternoon. The coverage team also brought down the Redskins kick-returner inside the 15 yard line after McAfee hit it deep into the endzone.
Q3 — C
This may be the least active special teams game I've ever seen. Very, very little going on in the return game for either side.
Q2 — C+
Still not much to say on special teams. A single PAT was made and Pat McAfee continued his deep kickoffs. No big special teams plays either way to this point.
Q1 — C
Nothing much to report. Allowed a couple decent returns to the Redskins, but nothing too detrimental.
Overall Game Grade — C
Offensively, they really made it easy on the quarterbacks. The coaches let them both get into a groove before asking them to do much of anything. Give them the easy throws first, then work forward. The confidence really helps.
Defensively, it's hard to judge. The team didn't want to give anything away schematically that they might want to use later, when the games actually count.
I do give credit to the coaching staff for hitting on their only challenge of the game, but I take away an equal amount of credit for failing to attempt the onside kick. As everyone's favorite Herm says, "You play to win the game."
Q4 — C
The defensive gameplan was just too vanilla to stop an experienced signal-caller like Grossman. The preseason is just that, vanilla. Not necessarily bad coaching, they just didn't want to reveal anything later teams might be able to use against them.
The offense settled in nicely in the fourth, and I liked the mix of red zone plays the Colts attempted. They didn't all work—actually very few of them did—but the ideas were there.
The grade really gets dragged down by the decision to kick it deep with three minutes left in the game, down by 13 points. The Colts were originally planning to onside kick, as demonstrated when McAfee actually did attempt it, despite the referee's frantic whistle-blowing. After the Redskins timeout ended, the Colts elected to kick it deep, instead. Why, I cannot begin to tell you.
Q3 — D
Just nothing going right for the Colts in the third quarter. The offense was schematically and physically overpowered, which resulted in the safety. The staff can only do so much, but clearly they were not putting Harnish in the best position to succeed when they dropped him back into the endzone.
Q2 — D+
The defense couldn't adjust to anything the Redskins were doing offensively. The 'Skins outside runs gashed the Colts, and their generally short throws turned into a number of extended plays. The defense has simply made it too easy on the home team.
Offensively, more of the same. Primarily quick throws from Luck. The running game has been absent throughout, even for a preseason game. The coaching staff is clearly focused on getting Andrew Luck as many reps as possible.
Q1 — C+
I liked the defensive gameplan, which was obviously to bring pressure up the middle on the rookie Griffin. However, the offensive plan coming in didn't make sense to me. The team opened the game with consecutive draw plays, neither of which went anywhere.
I did like that the team was committed to getting the ball out of Luck's hands quickly. He was able to move the chains a few times and didn't take too much abuse. The attempted screen pass to Coby Fleener was batted down before we could see the tight end with the ball, but the idea was interesting.