Andrew Luck's first touchdown pass of the preseason helped get the Indianapolis Colts off to a fast start. The quarterback also took the blame for a lost fumble on his final play that handed over the lead.
It was that kind of game for the Colts, who didn't exactly find their stride but had enough to beat the St. Louis Rams 24-14 on Saturday night.
"We should execute preseason, regular season, if we're lucky enough, postseason," Luck said. "I'm disappointed in myself for that fumble at the start of the second half.
"Bad way to start a half, bad play to end on."
Luck insisted he wasn't covering for rookie running back Josh Robinson, who never could quite find the handle on what appeared to be a routine handoff. Luck's final snap at the start of the third quarter led to Trey Watts' 3-yard run that put St. Louis ahead 14-13.
Was he just being a good teammate?
"Nope, I don't think so," he said.
Nick Foles got his first TD pass in Week 3, too, hitting Chris Givens in stride on a 44-yard play in the second quarter for the Rams (0-3).
"I still expect more from myself and I expect more from this offense, as does every player on this offense," Foles said. "But I feel like it's one step in the right direction and we just have to continue to improve on it."
Adam Vinatieri had a big day for the Colts (1-2), hitting field goals on the first and last possessions of the half, plus his successful onside kick led to Andre Johnson's 32-yard reception for a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Then he put it out of reach with a 55-yarder with 2:53 left.
DECIDING PLAY: Jalil Brown intercepted Rams rookie Sean Mannion on the last play of the third quarter, setting up a 1-yard run by Tyler Varga that put Indianapolis up 20-14, and Matt Hasselbeck hit Griff Whalen on the conversion pass.
INJURIES: Colts defensive tackle Arthur Jones injured an ankle on the first play and will be evaluated on Sunday. Robinson sustained a concussion.
Rams rookie guard Jamon Brown was shaken up on the Givens touchdown catch and sprained his right ankle. Running back Tre Mason has a mild right hamstring injury after a first-down reception in the first quarter.
SLUMP OVER: Indianapolis ended a seven-game preseason losing streak. Of course, the regular season means worlds more for last year's AFC runners-up.
"Good to get a win, doesn't matter what time of the year it is," coach Chuck Pagano said. "We needed it."
FLAGS A-FLYING: The Rams had 10 penalties for 83 yards, the most costly of them against the offense in the first half: pass interference on wide receiver Tavon Austin and facemask calls on center Barrett Jones and guard Demetrius Rhaney. Defensive holding on linebacker Alec Ogletree wiped out an interception by Janoris Jenkins that was returned to the Colts 15. Indianapolis had five penalties for 36 yards, all in the second half.
"That's not what we want to put on tape," Givens said. "But at the same time it's the preseason and it gives us a chance to see what we need to work on."
QB COMPARISON: Luck was 12 for 21 for 161 yards and still has no interceptions in the preseason. He was 10 for 15 for 114 yards the first two games. Foles was 10 for 11 for 128 yards with no interceptions.
EMPTY HOUSE: Starters for both teams played the first half and some went even deeper before a sparse crowd in the Rams' first home game of the preseason. The team said 37,460 tickets were distributed, about half-capacity at the Edward Jones Dome that appeared to be no more than one-fourth full.
Threat of a franchise move back to the West Coast combined with an 11-year drought without a winning record has cut into enthusiasm. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has purchased land with the intention of building a new stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood.
UP NEXT: Both teams wind up the preseason at home Thursday. The Colts play the Bengals and the Rams play the Chiefs in the annual Governor's Cup game.