Finally, a preseason win.
Not that Indianapolis Colts fans were overly concerned based on regular-season results in recent years, but Saturday’s 24-14 preseason victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome snapped a seven-game exhibition losing streak.
The Colts jumped on the Rams at the outset, even recovering an onside kick in between drives resulting in a field goal and touchdown. Quarterback Andrew Luck threw a 32-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Andre Johnson to make it 10-0 in the first quarter.
The visitors, who had been outscored 59-21 in two preseason losses, closed the half with another field goal to make it 13-7.
Rookie running back Josh Robinson fumbled the first-down handoff to open the third quarter. That ended Luck’s night as well as the rest of the starters. The Rams capitalized with a go-ahead touchdown.
On the final play of the third quarter, Colts reserve cornerback Jalil Brown returned an interception 24 yards to the Rams’ 14. The Colts punched it in five players later with rookie running back Tyler Varga scoring on a 1-yard run. Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck then connected with wide receiver Griff Whalen for the two-point conversion.
Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s oldest player at 42, kicked a 55-yard field goal with 2:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.
This was probably the last time the Colts starters will play in preseason. Reserves typically play in the exhibition finale, which will be Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Luck completed 12-of-21 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t sacked, although a costly turnover got wiped out by a defensive holding penalty when Luck was hit as he threw and was intercepted. Instead of the Rams being inside the red zone, the penalty gave the ball back to the Colts.
Colts defensive tackle Arthur Jones exited the game on the first series with a left ankle injury. He was slowed last season by a right high ankle sprain.
Robinson also departed to the locker room after his fumble for undisclosed medical reasons.
Colts outside linebacker Erik Walden had 1.5 sacks to spark a defense that was solid early, then gave up yards in bunches on mostly underneath throws. The Rams starters’ only score was a Nick Foles 44-yard TD strike to Chris Givens in the second quarter.
Foles completed 10-of-11 passes for 128 yards with the one score.
The Colts’ preseason victory was their first since a 27-6 home victory over the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 24, 2013, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Not that exhibition results have been any indication of regular-season success. The Colts have won 11 regular-season games in three consecutive seasons.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.