Luck thrives in return as Colts lose 19-18 to Ravens
INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck looked fit and flawless for the Colts on Saturday.
In his first start since early November, Luck completed all eight of his passes, led the Colts on two long drives and avoided taking any hits in a 19-18 loss to Baltimore.
Sure, it's only preseason, but the Colts wanted to see which Luck would show up -- the guy who went to Pro Bowls in each of his first three NFL seasons or the turnover-prone quarterback who couldn't stay on the field in 2015.
Luck was eager to come back, too, after seeing the Hall of Fame game cancelled two weeks ago and being benched in soggy Buffalo last week.
It didn't take him long to get in sync.
"It was good to be out there, it was fun. It was a lot of fun," Luck said. "It's like breathing. You just need more of it."
He opened the game by leading the Colts on a 61-yard drive that set up Adam Vinatieri for a short field goal. He had Indy in position to score again until Dwayne Allen lost a fumble at the Baltimore 18-yard line. The final numbers: 8 of 8, 69 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, no sacks and two slides.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore's starting quarterback, did not play. Ryan Mallett and Josh Johnson each threw TD passes and No. 4 quarterback Jerrod Johnson led Baltimore on a late drive for a field goal.
RAVENS' RETURN OF 2-POINTER CLINCHES IT
After Indy took an 18-17 lead on Stephen Morris' 7-yard TD pass to Trey Williams with 3:54 left, the Colts played it by the book and tried a 2-point conversion. It was a huge mistake. Baltimore's first stop was wiped out because Anthony Levine Sr. was called offside. With a second chance, Levine picked off Morris' pass and returned it for two points to give the Ravens a 19-18 lead without a second ticking off the clock. Indy got one more chance to win it, but Pat McAfee's 62-yard field-goal attempt came up short as time expired.
Mallett did nothing to hurt his standing as the No. 2 quarterback, going 6 of 8 for 47 yards with no interceptions. Josh Johnson had a big night, too, going 11 of 16 with 72 yards and finishing as the Ravens' top runner with five carries for 40 yards. Scott Tolzien was 13 of 18 with 107 yards and one TD for the Colts. Morris was 7 of 11 for 66 yards.
Ravens: Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore's first-round draft pick, held his own against the Colts' mostly vanilla defense by not allowing a sack.
Colts: Rookie center Ryan Kelly played with Luck for the first time in a game, and Kelly helped make sure Luck stayed upright with solid blocking and no botched snaps.
Ravens: Lardarius Webb is trying to win the starting safety job, and he looked like a good fit next to Eric Weddle. The safety tandem did not allow the Colts to take many deep shots.
Colts: Even though Joe Reitz may have secured the starting right tackle job and Denzelle Good looks like the favorite at right guard, the Colts got a long look at rookie tackle Le'Raven Clark, who is trying to play his way into the rotation.
Colts: Starting cornerback Patrick Robinson left in the first quarter with a groin injury and rookie offensive lineman Joe Haeg left with an ankle injury in the second. The most significant injury might have been to the ankle of backup offensive lineman Kevin Graf, who left on a cart for the second time in two weeks.
Ravens: Coach John Harbaugh on Levine's return: "Anthony Levine, who is banged up and nicked up, to pick that off and take it to the house for the winning points was gigantic."
Colts: Coach Chuck Pagano on his early impressions of Luck: "He ran the offense, he made great decisions, we moved the ball up and down the field, but then we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties. We should've had two touchdowns."