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Insider Zak Keefer and columnist Gregg Doyel discuss the Indianapolis Colts victory over the 49ers.
Clark Wade / IndyStar

INDIANAPOLIS – For stretches it looked and felt like 2015, except for one very important thing: that throbbing, damaged right shoulder, the one to Hell, who was the last two and a half years for Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

It does not hurt anymore. "Feels awesome," happiness shone Saturday night.

Nevertheless, he was a one-man band in the third and most important preseason game of the Colts, playing behind a leaky offensive line, aided by no running game at all, wearing a unit and a team as far as his talents can.

More: Doyel: If those were the 2018 Colts, the 2018 Colts would be bad

More: Colts security Malik Hooker at the return: "It felt great to be out there again"

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The Indianapolis Colt beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in preseason play.
Clark Wade / IndyStar

Even the audible wheezing was back, these moments of concern at the Lucas Oil Stadium each time Luck's surgically fixed throwing shoulder was hit in the grass, which was too often Saturday night , To make the city a great deal easier, the $ 140 million fiendish quarterback jumped to his feet and smiled, anxious for more.

But for too long, it felt like this team was flirting with a disaster.

Disaster was averted, and if San Francisco's 23:17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers was as close as Andrew Luck will look in the upcoming 2018 season, as we'll get, it was enough. He was sharp and smart, his dynamic athletic ability was visible for a minute, his revived right shoulder threw the next dime. It was a complete performance, as Luck wrote this preseason: 8 for 10 for 90 yards and a fantastic touchdown throw for Eric Ebron, plus four scamper out of pocket for 27 yards (and three Ricky Henderson slides!) [19659008] More than ever before last month, he looked like the Andrew Luck of old.

"I will not lie to you, I feel really good and strong," Luck said the most important element in this entire preseason. "My shoulder felt alive, I was a little happier with the ball when I threw it in. A little more sense," I want to return the Ryan (Grant) on the sidelines. "Well, it ended where I wanted it. "

" I feel and see improvements … I feel a lot more self-confident, I feel I (have) proved myself. "

CLOSE [19659021] The Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in preseason play.
Clark Wade / IndyStar

He came to the training camp in late July and talked about how much he wanted to support his words. He has …

And just for the sake of the old days, Luck did it all as he used to: with very little help. Two backup-offensive tackles that routinely ran him for his life; a running game that produced all five yards in the first half (excluding scrambles by the quarterback); a receiving core, which at this time T.Y. Hilton and a series of question marks

And that's the problem. In most cases, Luck seems to do that for himself.

again.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) runs Saturday, August 25, 2018, in the first half of his preseason football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photo: Matt Kryger / IndyStar)

On the other side of the coin, the preseason remains pointless as it is. The Colts were punished in August – exceptionally – and purposefully – with Vanilla. The constant movement that the team introduced during the training camp in Westfield under new coach Frank Reich and new coordinator Nick Sirianni (staff changes, moves, shifts, run-pass options, deep shots) was not seen. As Reich put it, they store the good stuff for "when it matters."

It counts two weeks from Sunday, the regular season opener of the team against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"As a caller on the side, I could feel the rhythm offensive," Reich said Saturday night, encouraged by the offensive improvement he saw. "I could feel it was there, all I have to do is get more points."

Although it's not certain, Anthony Castonzo, who has been the left tackle for this team for the past seven years, is an important component This offensive line is expected back. With last month 's Castonzo injuring this agonizing Achilles tendon, the Colts have had absolutely no success in the tackle positions.

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