Upon Further Review: It's still early . . .
BY JEFF GORDON
Quarterback Sam Bradford looked sharp during the preseason debut, completing seven of nine passes for 59 yards. He didnít throw a touchdown pass, suffer a sack or toss an interception during his two series.
Running back Steven Jackson looked like Steven Jackson, quickly piling up 23 rushing and receiving yards before exiting the game.
First unit defensive tackles Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers got good inside pass pressure on rookie Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, forcing him to scramble. Unfortunately for the Rams, Luck scrambled well and threw well.
Second-year tight end Lance Kendricks rediscovered his form of the 2011 preseason with a couple of early catches. His catch-and-run potential is immense.
Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith started with the first unit offense and got in sync with Bradford. But the two failed to connect on a deep throw up the left sideline.
Rookie receiver Chris Givens flashed his defense-stretching speed and drew a 54-yard pass interference penalty on former Rams draft pick Jermale Hines.
Second-year receiver Austin Pettis made a much better impression early in this preseason than his first preseason. He made a couple of tough catches to keep himself in the WR job competition.
Quarterback hopeful Austin Davis moved around and made some plays underneath coverage. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 84 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins tested himself against Reggie Wayne and the other top Colts receivers. Generally, he held up with tight coverage.
Defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo turned some heads with his third quarter sack. He is fighting for a job behind Brockers and Langford.
Rookie placekicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 37-yard field goal for the only Rams score.
Rookie punter John Hekker demonstrated both distance and accuracy by sending a 67-yard punt out of bounds at the Indianapolis 2-yard line.
Rookie running back Isaiah Pead fumbled away a swing pass untouched. He also botched a handoff exchange, gave up a sack on a botched pass protection and did too much east-west running. He has lots of work to do during the weeks ahead.
The Rams offensive line was predictably inept in pass protection, continuing a training camp trend. Bradford took some early hits and back-up quarterback Kellen Clemens absorbed a sack at the end of the first quarter.
Right tackle Jason Smith was relegated to second unit duty. He demonstrated why while getting beat by linebacker Jerry Hughes for a sack. Will he ever learn to pass block well?
Former Chiefs tackle Barry Richardson (who struggled mightily last season in Kansas City) started in Smithís place and contributed an early false-start penalty.
Center Robert Turner filled in for Scott Wells and Quinn Ojinnaka got first crack at the left guard slot. The makeshift line looked, well, makeshift.
Flashing back to previous regimes, the No. 1 Rams offensive unit suffered a delay-of-game penalty. Thatís on Bradford to clean up.
Second-year defensive end Robert Quinn had no trouble getting penetration with his extreme quickness, but the Colts lured him out of position with misdirection plays. He must learn when to stay home.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher wonít lose sleep over getting drubbed on Xs and Os in the preseason opener, but the Colts were far more ambitious with their schemes. The blowout resulted.
Missed assignments and missed tackles added up to disaster. On Indyís first play from scrimmage, Donald Brown rambled 63 yards with a screen pass to score a quick touchdown. Did the Colts get away with a few holding infractions? Sure, but it was disconcerting to see the Rams get caught right off the top. That was the start of a very long day for the defense.
AS OTHERS SAW IT
Ian Rapoport, NFL.com: ďThe highlights of the Colts' 38-3 win over the Rams in their preseason debut will be playing on a loop for days. How Luck's first pass went 63 yards for an ear-splitting touchdown to running back Donald Brown. How his mobility led him to dodge countless blitzers, especially on his nine-yard run. How he threaded the needle perfectly in finding Quan Crosby on a 32-yarder to set up the final score. How he finished 10 of 16 for 188 yards with two touchdown passes and a 142.7 passer rating on 24 snaps.
Josh Katzowitz, CBSSports.com: ďLuck showed definitively why he was the No. 1 draft pick, using his athleticism to escape would-be sackers and some veteran-like ingenuity to keep his team on the field. More impressively he showcased his arm strength and his accuracy. . . Luck's debut, by and large, couldn't have gone much better. It was nearly perfect.Ē
Paul Kuharsky, ESPN.com: ď(Drew) Stanton and rookie Chandler Harnish were also on target against a wildly ineffective Rams defense. Itís just a preseason performance, but itís all Luck and the Colts have to offer right now. Iíd expect a decent day at the box office tomorrow, and I suspect in Indiana, a few more Manning jerseys will get pushed closer to the back of closets, replaced by new No. 12s.Ē
Wide receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring strain) and Brandon Gibson (leg soreness) did not play due to injuries, along with defensive Trevor Laws (knee injury), center Scott Wells (recovering from knee surgery), safety Darian Stewart (hamstring) and cornerback Bradley Fletcher (leg soreness).
Fisher told reporters that the Rams didnít appear to suffer any new injuries of consequence during the preseason game.
Re: Upon Further Review: It's still early . . .
To be fair to Jason Smith, Jerry Hughes was clearly offsides on the play in which he recorded that sack. Just wasn't called.