Were you too busy watching the MTV Video Music Awards to catch up on your preseason football? Don't worry. We've got you covered. Here's what you need to know from the Baltimore Ravens' 20-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts* *in their Preseason Week 2 clash on Monday night:
In his second on-field action and his first game at Lucas Oil Stadium since returning from shoulder surgery, Luck took his lumps from the Ravens' front seven. After playing in just two series last week, Luck led five drives on Monday night, but only one resulted in points, a long Adam Vinatieri field goal. The Colts QB threw a red-zone interception to end one drive and took two third-down sacks to close his final two marches of the night. The pick came when Luck rolled out to his right to extend a broken play and forced a pass in the direction of two blanketed receivers. Luck finished 6-of-13 for 50 yards.
It wasn't all bad for the Colts franchise signal-caller. On the first of his two third-down conversions, Luck stepped up in the pocket to deliver a 16-yard dart to Jack Doyle, showcasing mobility and accuracy reminiscent of the three-time Pro Bowler from yesteryear. After taking a blind-side sack from Terrell Suggs and landing on his shoulder, Luck quickly bounced up and brushed it off.
"I told Anthony [Castonzo] on the sidelines, 'Man, it was sort of fun to get hit by Suggs right there,' and he gave me a death stare," Luck joked to reporters after the game. "Only because that's going to be the only time this year that happens, right?"
There are flashes at times of the old Luck, but without his top wideout (T.Y. Hilton), top running back (Marlon Mack) and reliable tackle play, it's too soon to tell whether Indy's face of the franchise is ready to face a game's worth of pressure.
"I don't know. It's a process that will go on forever," Luck told ESPN's Lisa Salters when asked when he'll feel "back," "but I'm enjoying that process. I really am."
- Joe Flacco and Marty Mornhinweg tried to set the tone early, when on the first play of the game, the Ravens offensive coordinator dialed up a deep ball to free-agent acquisition John Brown. The pass fell incomplete, just past the reach of the speedy Smokey, but the message was clear. The Ravens won't be afraid to trust their talent this season.
Flacco played three drives Monday night and exhibited chemistry with his new wideouts. Flacco's best pass of the night was a 29-yard Cover 2-beating dime to Michael Crabtree along the left sideline. He trusted Brown enough to reel in a risky toss to the back of the end zone on his final throw of the night. Flacco also connected wth rookie Hayden Hurst for a 15-yard gain. Baltimore's starting QB finished 7-of-9 for 72 yards and a score.
Lamar Jackson had another roller-coaster evening. The rookie's accuracy was all over the place in the first half and looked most uncomfortable, atypically so, when he was hurried by Indy's pass rush. But Jackson did lead a short-field touchdown drive to open the second half and punctuated it with a confident rollout throw to the back of the end zone. Final marks: 7-of-15, 49 yards, TD, 26 rushing yards on six drives.
- Do the Colts finally have the front-seven talent to carry the mantle of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis? Defensive linemen Denico Autry, John Simon and Hassan Ridgeway were forces in the backfield with the latter two players each recording a sack and demonstrating speed and agility when rushing the passer on Monday. For a defense so bereft of playmakers, the Colts, and new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, could use more sharp play up front from younger players like Autry, Simon and Ridgeway.
- With Mack out with a hamstring for the rest of the preseason, who did the Colts turn to at running back? Christine Michael (8 touches, 24 yards) and Josh Ferguson (2 rushes, 1 yard), until the latter left the game with a groin injury. Rookie runner Nyheim Hines spent most of his night returning kicks and losing fumbles. Jordan Wilkins had nice burst, but nearly lost a fumble at the goal line. Indy's tailback depth is once again a concern.
- Nice to see Kenneth Dixon back in the mix. The running back flashed with six carries for 32 yards (5.3 YPC) and three receptions for 24 yards in his first game action since the end of 2016. He's coming for Buck Allen's snaps.