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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Observation deck: Colts-Browns

By Mike Wells


INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s not often that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will take a backseat, especially on a night when he once again proved he’s ready for the start of the regular season, to anybody on the roster.

Luck did his part in leading the Colts to 17 points during his seven series on the field Saturday, but he turned out to be just a footnote because of how the defense looked against the Cleveland Browns.

Yes, the Colts defense, in particular the starters, was the dominating force. That’s the same unit that finished in the bottom third of the league in all of the major statistical categories last season.

With their starting unit together for the first time in the preseason, the Colts defense held Cleveland’s starters to four first downs, 109 yards and zero points.

Those stats aren’t from a quarter of play or even a half. The Colts did it while playing into the third quarter.

“The defense was outstanding,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the 27-6 preseason victory.

It wasn’t only the starters who played well for the Colts. Their success continued after the first unit called it a night early in the third quarter.

The Colts finished with three sacks, two forced fumbles -- recovering one of them -- and they returned an interception for a touchdown. They had six sacks and an interception in their game against the New York Giants on Aug. 18.

“They’ve been opportunistic,” Luck said. “Interceptions, guys getting hands on balls, sacks, you name it. They’re playing their butts off.”

Here are other observations from the game: