INDIANAPOLIS — Football is back.
The Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions are underway at Lucas Oil Stadium, where they are opening their 2017 preseason slate of games after two days of joint training camp practices on Thursday and Friday in Indy.
So here's a look at the action as it happens each quarter:FIRST QUARTER
Four snaps. That's all it took for the new-look Colts defense to make a play.
After Indianapolis won the opening toss and elected to defer to the second half, the Lions started with the ball at their own 12-yard line.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford looked as if he was going to get his troops down the field in a hurry, connecting on passes of 14 and 22 yards on two of the first three plays. But on the fourth, Vontae Davis was ready, as he tipped a pass intended for Marvin Jones into the air and into the waiting hands of new outside linebacker John Simon, who earned the interception.
It was just the type of play the Colts and their coaches have harped all offseason and into training camp — the need to create more turnovers.
With Scott Tolzien getting the start under center for the Colts' offense, however, the team couldn't take advantage of the opportunity, going three and out on their first drive.
With Jake Rudock now in the game at quarterback, the Colts' defense continued its strong play early, as Edwin Jackson sniffed out a Zach Zenner run for a loss of three, and then, on third down, another newcomer, inside linebacker Sean Spence, broke through with a ton of pressure on Rudock, forcing a Detroit punt.
Talk about a quality start for the new Indianapolis linebacking corps.
But after the Colts were stopped again in their second possession, the Lions went on the attack, going on a five-play, 42-yard drive in two minutes, six seconds that culminated in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rudock to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who was able to maneuver around rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson on the left side to make the catch.The Lions took a 7-0 lead with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
Indy's offense, meanwhile, started to gain a little momentum on its next drive, as it earned its first first down of the game on a 20-yard pass from Tolzien to veteran tight end Brandon Williams, which was followed by a nice six-yard run by Robert Turbin. But they would only get as far as their own 48 before being forced to punt.
The Lions followed with a three-and-out, sending undrafted rookie quarterback Phillip Walker, a Temple product, onto the field for the Indianapolis offense. On 3rd and 6 from the Indy 46, his pass would be knocked down, however, forcing another punt.SECOND QUARTER
The Lions started with the ball to begin the second quarter, but they didn't have it long. Thanks to a nice play on a delayed blitz by safety T.J. Green, defensive lineman T.Y. McGill was able to break through and earn the sack on third down, forcing the punt.
And, of course, McGill celebrated with his famous belly rub.
With Walker continuing to lead the offense, the Colts, for the first time on the afternoon, broke into Lions territory on the ensuing drive after a 25-yard screen play to running back Troymaine Pope, who showed an impressive speed burst, following his blockers to the Detroit 35-yard line.
Walker then showed off his own wheels, getting to the 23 on a 10-yard scramble for a third-down conversion. And although the Colts wouldn't convert on their next third-down attempt, Adam Vinatieri, officially now in his 22nd NFL season, would get the team on the board with a 42-yard field goal, cutting Detroit's lead to 7-3 with 10:46 left in the second quarter.
It was a nine-play, 37-yard drive for Indianapolis that took 2:45 off the clock.
But Detroit would respond right away, going on a seven-play, 73-yard drive that resulted in another touchdown pass from Rudock to Golladay — this time for 15 yards — to give the Lions a 14-3 lead with 7:06 left in the half.
The Colts' defense would later seemingly force yet another turnover, as rookie inside linebacker Anthony Walker joined a gang tackle and ripped the ball out of wide receiver Michael Roberts' grip; Indianapolis then recovered the would-be fumble. But the officials ruled Roberts was down prior to the fumble due to forward progress, negating the big play for Walker and the Indy defense.
Detroit seemed to use the good luck to its advantage, getting to the Indianapolis 10-yard line by the two-minute warning, and then, facing a 3rd and 8, they appeared to pick up the first down on an 8-yard pass play to running back Matt Asiata. Upon further review, however, the officials ruled Asiata, who was being covered by Wilson, was out of bounds upon making the catch, setting up a 28-yard field goal for Prater, his second of the game.
The play gave the Lions a 17-3 lead with 1:49 left in the first half.
Prater's 53-yard attempt to end the quarter, meanwhile, was well short.
THIRD QUARTERIf you're a fan of the punting game, then the third quarter of today's game was ideal.
With the Lions staking claim to a two-touchdown lead, 17-3, entering the second half, Detroit's first two possessions and Indianapolis' three possessions in the third quarter each ended with punts.
One bit of news, however: Spence has been diagnosed with a hamstring injury, and will not return to the game.
Lions' ball, still leading 17-3, entering the fourth quarter here in the Circle City.
FOURTH QUARTERAfter an uneventful third quarter, the Lions got things going again early in the fourth quarter. Third-string quarterback Brad Kaaya, a rookie, found fellow rookie wide receiver Dontez Ford, who was able to wiggle his way into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.
The play got a close look from the officials, who ultimately ruled Ford successfully got the ball into the end zone on a final diving attempt before his knee hit the ground.
Also, another injury update: outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount (hamstring) was also ruled out for the rest of the afternoon.
The Colts then brought quarterback Stephen Morris into the game. You might remember Morris having a strong preseason last year, his first season with the Colts, when he completed 39-of-61 passes for 531 yards with four touchdowns to one interception.
On Indy's final drive of the game, Morris would start to get into a groove finding rookie wide receiver JoJo Natson. A personal foul, late hit, call on the Lions on a 14-yard Natson reception got the Colts for the Detroit 37. On 4th and 2 from the Lions' 29, Morris found wide receiver Fred Brown for a 16-yard reception to the 13.
After getting to the 1-yard line with two seconds left, Morris handed off to Pope, who pushed it in for the team's only touchdown of the day.
Photos of the preseason week 1 game between the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts
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