Saints take advantage of imploding Colts

Marques Colston converted a key third down with two minutes remaining to help New Orleans hold off a feverish Indianapolis Colts comeback attempt in a 27-21 Week 7 victory for the Saints. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Embattled Colts coach Chuck Pagano appeared to be running out of lifelines entering halftime with a 21-0 deficit, a dysfunctional offense and a listless defense. It will be interesting to see how the organization's brass views the second-half effort in which Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton took advantage of a stumbling Delvin Breaux for a pair of long touchdown bombs. Luck had trouble moving the ball against uprightSaints defenders. Until the offense finally showed signs of life, Indy's defense was going through the motions, leaving gaping holes for Mark Ingram stroll through at 10.2 yards per carry. Ill-timed turnovers and penalties continue to haunt the team in all phases of the game, a telling sign that Pagano's troops lack the requisite discipline to win with consistency.
  1. Saints coordinator Rob Ryan told the CBS broadcast crew that his young defense was ready to come alive after a big victory over the Falcons last week. That was the case on Sunday, as Ryan's play-calling kept Luck off balance throughout. Defensive end Cameron Jordan is heating up, with five sacks in the past two games. Rookie linebackers Stephone Anthony and Hau'oli Kikaha combined for 10 tackles and an interception. Prior to the two stumbles, Breaux had been one of the most pleasant surprises in the league. He's a keeper.
  1. We need to talk about Luck, who didn't play nearly as well as his box score might suggest. He hasn't looked right all year, going back to the season opener in which his pocket presence, decision making and even arm strength seemed off. He appears to have trust issues, not just with his own shoulder, but also with the offensive line's protection and receivers failing to gain clear separation. As a result, he's holding the ball too long, settling for check-downs and short crossing-route throws whereas he used to pull the trigger on intermediate and deep windows.

Luck started Sunday's game 0-of-5 for the first time in his career, completing his first pass at the 9:09 mark in the second quarter. He has thrown multiple interceptions in six of his last seven starts, going back to the playoffs in January. Whether it's the injury or legitimate regression from falling into bad habits, he's simply not the same quarterback we've seen for the past three years.

  1. If the 3-4 Colts can't get Luck turned around, they risk falling behind an extremely flawed 2-5 Jaguars squad that is starting to pile up yards and points on a weekly basis. Yes, the AFC South is a sinkhole.
  1. If you don't understand the NFL's catch rule, you're not alone. Saints coach Sean Payton was absolutely bedeviled by the labyrinthine rule in the first half, losing a pair of challenges on plays that would have been ruled catches on any patch of grass outside of NFL stadiums.
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