Andrew Luck stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush, then put a deep ball down the left side into the arms of fellow rookie T.Y. Hilton for a 31-yard touchdown, wrapping up an 80-yard drive.
Robert Griffin III took a high-and-wide shotgun snap and drifted to the right to find Santana Moss for a 4-yard score, also at the end of an 80-yard drive.
Call it a draw between the top two picks in the draft. No interceptions. No fumbles. No what-was-he-thinking moments. Just a display of poise and promise Saturday as Griffin’s Redskins defeated Luck’s Colts 30-17 in one of the most anticipated games of the preseason.
No. 1 pick Luck completed 14 of 23 passes for 151 yards and the touchdown to third-round selection Hilton. No. 2 Griffin went 11 for 17 for 74 yards and the scoring throw to veteran Moss. Both quarterbacks played one series into the third quarter in the teams’ dress rehearsal for the regular season, with the Redskins ahead 14-7 when the subs took over.
The game was marketed to the hilt, offering a ground-floor glimpse at two players given the burden of reviving proud franchises that have fallen on hard times. The Colts (No. 32 AP Pro32) are coming off a 2-14 season as they embark on the post-Peyton Manning era, while the Redskins (No. 25) went 5-11 last year for a fourth consecutive last-place finish in the NFC East.
Even so, it was merely a preseason game. The atmosphere in the stadium was far from electric — attendance was announced as 60,047 — and the offenses were still running basic schemes, saving the more creative stuff for their regular-season openers in two weeks.
Through three preseason games, Luck is 40 for 64 for 514 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and a 90.2 rating. Griffin is 20 for 31 for 193 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 103.2 rating.
In fact, someone forgot to tell Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris that the game wasn’t all about him. The sixth-round draft pick, getting the start because of a rash of injuries, ran for 107 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. Evan Royster (knee) and Roy Helu Jr (Achilles) both sat out, while Tim Hightower was limited to five carries in his first game since tearing the ACL in his left knee last season.
The game got predictably messy after Luck and Griffin departed. Seventh-round pick Chandler Harnish was whistled for delay of game on his first Colts series, then was tackled for a safety by linebacker Chris Wilson on the next play.
Rex Grossman, who started 13 games last season, was welcomed with a smattering of boos when he ran onto the field to replace Griffin. He answered by going 8 for 8 for 127 yards and two touchdown passes, a 13-yarder to Joshua Morgan and a 12-yarder to Dezmon Briscoe.
One thing that was clear early: Luck and Griffin will need better protection to succeed anytime soon. Luck was sacked twice on one series and had another drive thwarted by a clipping penalty. Griffin never got sacked, but he was under severe pressure twice in his first drive. He showed off his speed on one of those plays, scrambling five yards for a first down.
Griffin’s completions were short- and-medium range. His three deep attempts were all overthrown. Luck had a comfortable safety blanket in veteran receiver Reggie Wayne, who caught three passes for 41 yards.
The Colts reported three injuries: Hilton hurt a shoulder, nose tackle Brandon McKinney left with a knee injury, and cornerback Jerraud Powers sprained a knee.
Redskins nose tackle Chris Baker left the game with an ankle injury.