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Saints vs. Colts Final Score: New Orleans Dominates in 23-17 Win over Indianapolis

The Saints starters on both sides of the ball appeared ready for the regular season as they took down the Colts 23-17 and move to 3-0 in the preseason.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints looked sharp on both sides of the ball in their 23-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. So much so that Drew Brees came out of the game before the end of the first quarter. Yeah, that good.

Which is exactly what you want to see in the third preseason game of the year, which is usually the dress rehearsal for the regular season.

Then the 4th quarter started, and the Saints began to show weakness. The defense started giving up chunks of yardage and the offensive line just couldn't do the offense any favors.

Read below for my complete notes from the game, broken down by quarter.

1st Quarter

  • Saints receive opening kickoff.
  • Jonathan Goodwin gets the start at center.
  • Marques Colston makes a nice catch to keep the drive alive on 3rd and 8. That's why he get paid the big money.
  • Mark Ingram rips off a great 17-yard run to get the Saints into the red zone. Makes a decisive cut to find the hole. More of the good stuff we've seen from Ingram this preseason.
  • All three Saints running backs get touches on the opening drive.
  • Austin Johnson caps off the opening drive with a touchdown, catching a pass just short of the goal line and powering his way through and over a defender to roll into the end zone. Saints take an early 7-0 lead after a pretty 13 play, 80-yard drive. Can't start much better than that.
  • Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson, Corey White, Jairus Byrd, and Kenny Vaccaro is your starting secondary.
  • Saints defense starts strong with a three and out, also an ideal start.
  • Travaris Cadet back to return the punt.
  • Akiem Hicks gets called for back to back penalties, first for roughing the passer and then for hands to the face.
  • Jairus Byrd has crazy closing speed. He was flying out there on a few plays.
  • The defense gives up a cupcake touchdown on a pass over the middle to a wide open Colby Fleener. Looks like Curtis Lofton lets him get right past him. Tie game 7-7.
  • Brees hits Jimmy Graham on a beautifully thrown over-the-shoulder pass for a whopping 38-yard gain.
  • A few plays later Pierre Thomas gets the screen pass and  runs with it for 26 yards. Good blocking on the play to spring him loose.
  • The drive is capped off with a touchdown pass to Marques Colston. Saints take the lead 14-7.
  • Kenny Vaccaro caps off the first quarter with a leaping interception.
  • Drew Brees already checks out of the game because his work is done. Can't ask for a much better first quarter performance. Luke McCown checks in.

2nd Quarter

  • Terron Armstead gets beat like a drum on the outside by Erik Walden for a sack on Luke McCown.
  • Shayne Graham makes his 39-yard field goal attempt. Saints increase their lead 17-7.
  • Junior Galette goes down with an apparent injury to his left side, perhaps a strained muscle. The announcers report that he just had the wind knocked out of him but that doesn't seem believable. He eventually returns to the game before the end of the quarter.
  • Keenan Lewis makes an impressive juggling interception on a deep Andrew Luck pass. It's ruled incomplete on the field and the Saints don't challenge but it looked like a clear interception. It was a very athletic play nonetheless.
  • Luke McCown scrambles on two separate plays, once for 7 yards  then for 28 yards. Both picked up the first down.
  • Nobody, and I mean nobody, takes Pierre Thomas down with the first tackle.
  • Shayne Graham makes another field goal, this one from 24-yards out. Saints lead 20-7.
  • "The Colts have only run 15 plays in the first half and most of them were bad." - CBS announcer
  • Cam Jordan picks up a sack.
  • Penalties begin to pile up after offside and holding penalties by Glenn Foster and Stanley Jean-Baptiste respectively.
  • The Saints defense lets Indianapolis march down the field but put together a nice goal line stand and forces the field goal. Saints take a 20-10 lead into the locker room.

3rd Quarter

  • Ronald Powell gets into the backfield on a Colts run and makes a great tackle for a loss.
  • Jairus Byrd is back for a punt return but never gets a chance to touch it. He calls a fair catch on a second punt return attempt in the fourth quarter.
  • Ryan Griffin checks into the game as the Saints third quarterback.
  • Once again the Saints defense lets Indianapolis march down field but put together a spectacular four-down goal line stand, marked by a nice Corey White tackle in the backfield. No points for the Colts.
  • Griffin tosses an interception on a long bomb intended for Robert Meachem.
  • Derrius Brooks drops a chance at an interception.
  • Brian Dixon makes himself known with an incredible leaping interception in the end zone.

4th Quarter

  • The Saints offense goes three and out on a pretty ugly attempt of a drive.
  • Indianapolis makes it look easy against the Saints defense with a 43-yard run followed by a 22-yard touchdown toss. It was Brian Dixon who gets beat for the score. Colts cut the Saints lead to 20-17.
  • Unfortunately, running back Derrick Strozier isn't able to put any plays of substance together.
  • The offensive line third team looks bad. Colts defenders are regularly in the backfield to meet the Saints running backs. They also allow two sacks on Ryan Griffin.
  • Todd Davis recovers a muffed punt so the Saints regain possession with better field position.
  • Derek Dimke makes a 45-yard field goal easily. Also kicks it deep on the ensuing kickoff. I'm starting to think he might have a shot at making the roster. Saints up 23-17.
  • The defense ends the game with a Lawrence Virgil sack.

Top Performers

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 9/15 128 2 0
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
M. Ingram 8 46 0 17
L. McCown 3 34 0 28
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
P. Thomas 4 66 0 26
J. Morgan 3 27 0 17
J. Graham 2 49 0 38
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
A. Luck 10/18 103 1 1
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
D. Herron 8 68 0 43
Z. Tipton 8 33 0 13
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
D. Allen 3 15 0 8
G. Whalen 2 40 0 23
C. Fleener 2 31 1 21T

Team Stats

NO IND
First Downs 22 24
Total Yards 356 348
Passing Yards 196 186
Rushing Yards 160 162
Penalties (Yds) 10(84) 3(14)
Turnovers 1 3
Punts (AVG) 4(44) 4(44)
Time of Pos. 32:36 27:24