Andrew Luck and the Colts had a tougher test in week two of the preseason, heading to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburg Steelers and their Terrible Towel waving fans.  It was also Sunday Night Football and the Colts’ only scheduled appearance in primetime this season.  But, as Andrew Luck and crew continue to gel and grow together, we could see more primetime once NBC’s flex scheduling kicks in (in week 11).  For now, we Colts fans will be a little better rested on Mondays than we have been in seasons past.  But don’t get used to it, because with what this team showed us last night…the future is built for primetime!

We also learned that Andrew Luck is indeed, human.  He threw two interceptions in the first half.  One of them was a rookie mistake, the other was too…but out of the hands of rookie Wide Receiver TY Hilton.  Interceptions are going to happen with a young quarterback and team.  But what was most impressive, was what Luck did next.  After the first interception, he came back on the field with confidence and ran a great drive resulting in a Donald Brown touchdown (something we may see a lot of this year).  After the second (on TY’s bounced catch), he ran another impressive drive resulting in a touchdown that was reversed by the replacement officials (without “indisputable” evidence), only to run it in himself (where there possibly was indisputable evidence) and score.  Confidence, resilience, awareness, yes…Luck has it all.  He is the real deal.  And unless you’re Skip Bayless, he is your quarterback of the future.

Hey Skip, you take Tebow and we’ll keep Luck?  Alright?  Deal.

Other things that stood out this week:

I love Coach Chuck Pagano and love his play calling even more.  His call to go for it on fourth down after the reversed actual touchdown, resulted in the Luck questionable touchdown (which actually counted), but either way, preseason or not, this guy is everything you want in a coach.  Can’t wait to see him take this team to the playoffs…maybe not this year, (or maybe) but soon.  And often.

Isn’t it great to have backup quarterbacks that don’t make you want to turn the game off and go to bed?  Drew Stanton, who we picked up from the Jets, looked fantastic and has now scored more touchdowns than Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow combined.  Zero is pretty easy to top, but Stanton has scored easily in both preseason appearances and will be a solid backup to Luck.  How do you think the Jets feel right about now?  That’s another story though.  Literally…

The defense looks great, solid, has really come together like none of us could have hoped for this early and with this many changes in the offseason.  Freeney and Mathis are effective in their new roles, Jerry Hughes is suddenly the player we thought he was when we drafted him two years ago, and Jerraud Powers is reminding me a little bit of a (healthy) Bob Sanders, flying around in the backfield.

The negatives?  Injuries.  In the preseason.  Hurt.  A lot.

Austin Collie.  Collie was hit high and fell hard.  I hold my breath every time he gets hit these days.  We heard he was slow to get up, then saw the dreaded image of him walking back to the locker room.  He did not return and underwent concussion testing.  If he does indeed have concussion symptoms, the Colts need to rethink his future with the team.  More significant, Collie needs to rethink his NFL career.  I wish him well…no matter what.

Robert Mathis.  Taken out with a strained shoulder.  Did not return.  Doesn’t sound too serious, hopefully they’re just taking precautions and it won’t be an issue for the regular season.

Cory Redding.  The Colts signed the defensive end from the Ravens.  He suffered an elbow injury in the first game and was carted off with a knee issue on Sunday.  The Colts have made clear their new standard that to be on the team you have to be on the field.  Period.  Not sure how this will play out for him.

Another notable moment in Sunday’s primetime appearance…Adam “Money” Vinatieri (39) kicked a 53-yard field goal to put the Colts up at the half (after being down 0-14).  It turns out, that was a record for Heinz Field, a notoriously difficult place for kickers.  The longest kicks prior to Vinatieri’s were all from 52 yards, one by Packers Kicker Mason Crosby.  Colts Punter Pat McAfee once held the record for the 51-yarder he kicked there while he was at West Virginia.

Primetime, baby…primetime.

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