NFL Wire News

3 things we learned about the Colts

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The Sports Xchange

INDIANAPOLIS — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints may finally be figuring things out after beginning their season with three consecutive losses.

And in the process, the Saints continue to make life miserable for the struggling Indianapolis Colts, who have fallen below .500 while continuing to lead the weak AFC South.

Brees, who played college football 65 miles north of Lucas Oil Stadium at Purdue, completed 28 of 44 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, and New Orleans defeated the Colts 27-21.

Beginning with the 1986 season, the Saints (3-4) are 8-2 against Indianapolis (3-4), including a 31-17 Super Bowl victory on Feb. 7, 2010, in Miami. New Orleans also defeated the Colts 62-7 during the 2011 regular season in New Orleans.

“I felt like we flipped the field on them a few times, in other words, we would get pinned back and then march it out to the 50,” Brees said. “Then, even if you are punting, they are getting the ball inside their 20 or their 10. That helped us a lot.

“Then the other thing was that we took our first possession of the third quarter, and we go right down and score and make it 27-0. After that, we were outscored 21-0, and that part of the game does not sit well with me or anyone else on the team, but we got the win.”

New Orleans coach Sean Payton credited his team’s defense, which kept the Colts off the scoreboard until 3:42 remained in the third quarter. At that point, the Saints had a 27-point lead.

“Our defense was well prepared,” Payton said. “Playing this offense was a tremendous challenge. I didn’t like the way we played in the final two minutes of the first half when we lost a touchdown to an offensive pass interference penalty and missed a couple of other plays.

“But this is a tough place to play, and you have to tip your hat to Indianapolis for fighting back the way they did. This is a big win.”

What we learned about the Colts:

1. Slow starts continue to plague the Colts, who failed to score in the first half three times among their first seven games — losses at Buffalo and in Lucas Oil Stadium to the New York Jets and now New Orleans. Each of those scoreless first halves were with Andrew Luck at quarterback. Moving forward, it is not a good sign.

2. Indianapolis’ run defense, which allowed 676 rushing yards in the first six games, allowed the Saints to rush for 183 yards (5.1 yards a carry), including running back Mark Ingram’s 14 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. Ingram averaged 10.2 yards a carry.

3. Pat McAfee is one of the Colts’ most effective weapons. The punter averaged 51.7 yards per attempt against the Saints with an impressive net average of 45.3 yards.

Etc.

–QB Andrew Luck, who attempted 44 passes Sunday, became the third fastest in NFL history to reach 2,000 career attempts. Luck played in his 53rd game Sunday. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford got to 2,000 in his 49th game, and Drew Bledsoe reached the milestone in 50 games.

–WR T.Y. Hilton’s 87-yard, third-quarter touchdown reception was a career long. He wound up with his fifth two-TD game, and he made four catches for 150 yards.

–P Pat McAfee, by averaging 51.7 yards per punt, tied the Colts’ franchise record of 15 games with an average of at least 50 yards. He matched the mark set by Rohn Stark.


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