Final

Browns 6

(2-1, 0-1 away)

Colts 27

(2-1, 1-1 home)

7:00 PM ET, August 24, 2013

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 0 0 3 36
IND 3 7 10 727

Colts 27, Browns 6

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis may finally have the kind of defense that can complement its offense, and Andrew Luck likes it.

After throwing two touchdown passes and watching the Colts' suddenly dominant defense score its own TD in Saturday night's 27-6 victory over Cleveland, Luck explained the best part of the night for him was standing on the sideline as the Colts' defense went to work.

"They've been opportunistic, they've been getting their hands on balls," Luck said. "They were a pain in the butt to go against in practice, and it's fun to see them play this way out here."

When coach Chuck Pagano took the Colts job last year, he promised to improve the usually maligned defense. Now, the Colts are finally beginning to show what they can do.

Over the last two weeks, Indy has not allowed a touchdown. Before leaving early in the third quarter Saturday, the starting defense limited Cleveland (2-1) to four first downs and just three plays in Colts territory, one of those being a punt. They forced two turnovers, including Larry Asante's late 48-yard interception return for a score, and harassed Browns quarterbacks all night long.

Cleveland never even made it into the red zone.

"It's very exciting to see guys humming around, having fun and getting the job done at the same time," five-time Pro Bowler Robert Mathis said.

Saturday night's performance also was a drastic improvement over what Colts fans witnessed in this same venue two weeks ago, when Buffalo's rookie quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel dinked-and-dunked their way to a 44-20 victory that drew the ire of Irsay.

Of course in that game, most of Indy's starters exited before the end of the first quarter.

This time, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden had to contend with a very different lineup.

Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry made his preseason debut against the Browns, and linebacker Pat Angerer was on the physically unable to perform list against Buffalo. Having both back marked the first time this preseason the Colts had their entire starting unit on the field at the same time.

The result: Weeden went 12 of 25 for 105 yards just four days after coach Rob Chudzinski chose him as the starter for the regular season.

There were drops, turnovers and penalties. Trent Richardson carried seven times for 31 yards, but the rest of the Browns managed only 28 yards rushing.

Cleveland didn't even get on the scoreboard until Weeden took them on a 48-yard drive -- against the Colts backups -- that ended with Shayne Graham's 50-yard field goal late in the third quarter. And all this from a team that had beaten the Rams and Lions by a combined 51-25.

"We can learn a lot of things from this game. A game like this is good, because you can get an assessment of where you're at," Chudzinski said. "They played very well on defense, and by the same token, against good football teams, playoff-caliber teams, you just can't make mistakes."

Luck, meanwhile, had no trouble.

Despite losing starting right guard Mike McGlynn (bruised knee) in practice this week and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (right knee) on the game's opening series, Luck still managed to go 16 of 25 for 164 yards with one interception and ran four times for 20 yards.

He opened the game by taking Indy on a 46-yard drive to set up Adam Vinatieri for a 32-yard field goal, and two series later, capped a 66-yard drive by finding fullback Stanley Havili for a 3-yard TD pass to make it 10-0 midway and hooked up with a wide-open T.Y. Hilton for an 8-yard TD catch to make it 17-0.

Cleveland futilely played catch-up the rest of the night, and scoring ended, fittingly, on Asante's interception return.

"They had played two really good football games and they looked impressive running the football, and Brandon Weeden had thrown the football," Pagano said. "It's a confidence builder, a big psychological boost for our guys."

Game notes


Pagano said Castonzo had a sprained medial collateral ligament and will undergo an MRI. Indy also lost receiver Nathan Palmer with a sprained knee late in the game, and Palmer also will have an MRI. ... The Browns lost rookie defensive back Josh Aubrey (hand) and Jamoris Slaughter (groin) in the second half. ... Reggie Wayne caught seven passes for 79 yards for Indy. ... Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer were a combined 10 for 18 for 123 yards against Colts backups. ... NFL referee Tony Corrente made his first appearance at Lucas Oil Stadium since last November's foul-mouthed tirade, part of which made it onto the television broadcast.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
IND
1st Downs1326
Passing 1st downs
1118
Rushing 1st downs
15
1st downs from Penalties
13
3rd down efficiency
5-166-13
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6270
Total Yards270364
Yards per play4.45.2
Total Drives1311
Passing211215
Comp - Att
22-4321-34
Yards per pass
4.96.3
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-172-8
Rushing59149
Rushing Attempts
1634
Yards per rush
3.74.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-12-5
Penalties9-843-15
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession27:0232:58

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Campbell8/141128.0003-17
Weeden12/251054.2000-0
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Luck16/251646.6211-3
Hasselbeck5/9596.6001-5

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Richardson7314.4012
Cook2115.506
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams9374.1027
Brown5357.0022

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Roberson23417.00184
Little3289.30146
INDRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wayne77911.301511
Whalen45714.30285

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLEIND
indFG08:52Adam Vinatieri 32 Yd 03
SECOND QUARTERCLEIND
indTD08:09Stanley Havili 3 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick) 010
THIRD QUARTERCLEIND
indTD11:12T.Y. Hilton 8 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Adam Vinatieri Kick) 017
cleFG07:16Shayne Graham 50 Yd 317
indFG01:15Adam Vinatieri 25 Yd 320
FOURTH QUARTERCLEIND
cleFG04:33Shayne Graham 44 Yd 620
indTD04:22Larry Asante 48 Yd Interception Return (Brandon McManus Kick) 627