Austin Jackson (35)

 

The New Orleans Saints captured their third-consecutive win of the 2014 NFL preseason on Saturday night, defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 23-17, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

With the win, the Saints are 3-0 in the preseason for the first time since 2000.

New Orleans drew first blood, when quarterback Drew Brees, seeing his first action of the preseason, hit Austin Jackson with a short 3-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 13-play, 80-yard drive, giving them a 7-0 lead at the 9:33 mark of the first quarter.

Indianapolis tied the game at the 3:19 mark of the first quarter, when quarterback Andrew Luck connected with Coby Flenner with a 21-yard scoring strike, culminating a 4-play, 59-yard drive, to make the score 7-7.

The Saints grabbed the lead back with only :32 remaining in the opening frame, when Drees threw his second touchdown pass of the quarter, this one to Marques Colston, from 13 yards away, to complete a 7-play, 80-yard drive, and give them a 14-7 advantage.

New Orleans extended their lead to ten points at the 12:17 mark of the second quarter, courtesy of a 39-yard field goal by Shayne Graham, wrapping-up a 9-play, 21-yard drive, and make the score 17-7.

Graham hit his second field goal of the half at the 3:00 mark, this one from 24 yards out, capping off a 15-play, 83-yard drive, to extend the New Orleans lead to 20-7.

The Colts scored with only :13 remaining in the half, when Adam Vinatieri kicked through a short 20-yard field goal, completing a 12-play, 78-yard drive, to cut the New Orleans lead to 20-10 as the team went into the locker room at halftime.

The Saints outgained the Colts, in terms of total yards in the first half, 288-132, including a 164-94 advantage through the air, as well as a 124-38 edge on the ground, while holding the football for 20:35 in the half.

Brees ended the first half, and the game, completing 9-of-15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Mark Ingram had 46 first half yards on eight carries.

For the Colts in the opening half, Luck went 9-of-17 for 101 yards, along with one touchdown and one interception through the air, while Trent Richardson had four carries for 14 yards on the ground.

After a scoreless third quarter, Indianapolis scored the first points of the second half at the 13:39 mark of the fourth quarter, when Chandler Harnish hooked up with Josh Lenz on a 22-yard scoring strike, capping off a 2-play, 65-yard drive, to cut the New Orleans lead to 20-17.

The Saints added three points at the 1:54 mark of the final quarter, when Derek Dimke made good on a long 45-yard field goal, culminating a 7-play, 5-yard drive, making the  score, 23-17, New Orleans.

The Colts had one final possession, but were denied by the New Orleans defense, and the Saints held on for the 6-point victory.

New Orleans outgained Indianapolis, in terms of total yards, 356-348, including a 196-186 advantage in the passing department, while the Colts finished with a slim 162-161 edge on the ground.

For the Saints, Brees, who played into the second quarter, finished the game completing 9-of-15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Ingram finished with 46 rushing yards on eight carries.

In a losing cause for the Colts, Luck finished the game completing 10-of-18 passes for 103 yards, along with one touchdown and one interception, while Daniel Herron accumulated 68 rushing yards on eight attempts.

With the win, New Orleans improved to 3-0 in the preseason, while Indianapolis fell to 0-3.

The Saints conclude their 2014 preseason schedule on Thursday, August 28, when they play host to the Baltimore Ravens.