First-year Head Coach Chuck Pagano, quarterback Andrew Luck and a new-look defense debuted in impressive fashion Sunday in the Colts' preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium. A sell-out crowd saw Luck push the Colts to a 21-3 halftime lead and watched joyously as the Indianapolis club rolled to a 38-3 triumph. Indy's hybrid 3-4 defense did its job, holding the Rams to 215 net yards and a field goal.





INDIANAPOLIS --Andrew Luck's first play of the 2012 preseason proved to be a rousing success. Ditto for the rest of the rookie quarterback's debut.

But rather than bask in the afterglow of his stunning performance and the Colts' 38-3 victory over St. Louis, Luck was taking the day in stride. It's the preseason, he emphasized, sounding like a veteran and refusing to get overly captivated with the effort.

"But to go out there and put some good stuff on film is beneficial," he allowed.

Luck, the NFL's No. 1 draft pick last spring, hit 10-of-16 passes for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first play was a short completion to running back Donald Brown, who came off a block, grabbed the pass and ran 63 yards for a touchdown.

"It was probably the easiest touchdown pass I'll have in my life," Luck said. "It goes about three yards to Donald and he does the rest of the work."

Luck was on the field for 24 plays in four possessions, boosting the Colts to a 21-3 halftime lead. He recorded a 142.7 quarterback rating.

"To see him perform and do the things he did under pressure … he handled it well," said Colts Coach Chuck Pagano.

The Colts enjoyed sound play both offensively and defensively en route to their easy victory.  With help from backup quarterbacks Drew Stanton and Chandler Harnish, Indy totaled 23 first downs and 430 net yards.

The Colts' hybrid 3-4 defense held St. Louis to 215 net yards. Jerry Hughes, a defensive end who has moved to outside linebacker in the Colts' new scheme, showed the switch could be beneficial for him. Hughes recorded a pair of first-half sacks, including one on third down against quarterback Kellen Clemens that forced the Rams to kick a field goal.

"If you could script it, you probably couldn't script it any better," Pagano said about his team's preseason opener and his debut as a head coach.

"For the coaches and the players, like I said, it's a great start. We understand what it is. But I was asked earlier in the week if winning was a priority, and obviously every time we step on the field we want to win. We don't care what the stakes are, whether it counts or not. We just try to come in and get better every day."

The Colts will travel to Pittsburgh next Sunday to play the Steelers in a nationally televised preseason game.


FIRST QUARTER (9:22 remaining)

Andrew Luck's first preseason play mirrored that of his famous Colts predecessor, Peyton Manning. Luck threw a short pass to running back Donald Brown, who found ample space to run up the middle of the field for a 63-yard touchdown. In Manning's 1998 preseason opener, the rookie quarterback connected with Marvin Harrison on a short pass that stretched into a 48-yard scoring play against Seattle. Adam Vinatieri booted the extra point against the Rams.Colts 7, Rams 0

SECOND QUARTER (11:18 remaining)

Luck continued his eye-catching performance, leading the Colts on a seven-play, 53-yard scoring march. Luck completed all four of his passes for 50 yards, including a 23-yard scoring toss to Austin Collie. Vinatieri made the extra point.Colts 14, Rams 0

SECOND QUARTER (7:18 remaining)

The Rams got on the scoreboard when Greg Zuerlein connected on a 37-yard field goal. A  pass interference penalty against the Colts' Jermale Hines gave St. Louis the ball at Indy's 26-yard line after the drive's first play. Colts 14, Rams 3

SECOND QUARTER (3:10 remaining)

The Colts' offense kept the heat turned up. A couple of dropped passes hurt Indy early in the drive, but Luck persevered and hit four of his last six for 66 yards. The big play was a 32-yard completion to Quan Cosby. Delone Carter pushed in from the 1-yard line for the Colts' score, and Vinatieri hit the extra point. Colts 21, Rams 3

THIRD QUARTER (7 seconds remaining)

Drew Stanton picked up where Luck left off. Stanton completed 4-of-5 passes for 58 yards in leading the Colts on an 85-yard drive. The big play was a 22-yard completion to Dominique Jones. Darren Evans ran off right tackle for the 1-yard touchdown before Vinatieri hit the extra point. Colts 28, Rams 3

FOURTH QUARTER (11:14 remaining)

The Colts stayed on a roll. Chandler Harnish replaced Stanton at quarterback and went right to work, leading the team on a six-play, 57-yard scoring march. Harnish's 33-yard scoring pass to Jeremy Ross was a thing of beauty, dropping just over Ross' shoulder and beyond the reach of Rams defender Quinton Pointer. Vinatieri kicked the extra point. Colts 35, Rams 3

FOURTH QUARTER (4:44 remaining)

Pat McAfee took over the field goal duties for Vinatieri and booted a 31-yarder to complete a seven-play, 19-yard drive. Colts 38, Rams 3

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