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Colts Backup QBs Struggle in Loss to Rams

Colts coach Jim Caldwell isn’t worried about his backup quarterbacks, despite their struggles in the preseason opener against the Rams.

With Peyton Manning out because of a neck injury, reserves Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky got the early action. They combined to complete 7 of 16 passes with three interceptions in the 33-10 loss on Saturday.

Painter threw an interception on his first possession before leading the Colts to a field goal on the next one. Orlovsky threw two interceptions, but he also completed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Taj Smith in the third quarter.

Caldwell said Painter had some good moments. He added that Orlovsky, a free-agent pickup, hasn’t had much time to learn the complicated Colts offense.

“We’re going to be patient,” Caldwell said. “We’re going to develop and keep working with them. I think in both cases, it’s too early to make an assessment. I think they’re making good progress.”

Painter didn’t appear to be making process early – Quintin Mikell picked him off on the third play of the game, and the 25-yard return to the Colts 16 set up a 6-yard scoring catch by rookie tight end Lance Kendricks.

The Colts went 80 yards in nine plays on their next drive, including a 41-yard completion from Painter to Pierre Garcon that set up a field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

Caldwell said Painter played well after the early mistake.

“The interception at the start sort of clouded things a little bit, but I think he came back and got us moving the ball. He had a nice throw on the sideline to Pierre. I thought he managed things pretty well after that.”

Painter had mixed feelings about his performance.

“We did some things well,” Painter said. “We had a good long drive, got down there close, had a shot at it. I’d like to stick a touchdown in there, but we got some points, so I think that definitely helped out. Hopefully, as the weeks progress I’ll get a little more time in there and hopefully build off that.”

Painter completed 3 of 6 passes for 55 yards. Caldwell said he liked the way Painter recovered after his early mistake.

“This is an up-and-down game,” Caldwell said. “You’re going to have some highs, you’re going to have some lows. It just depends on how you bounce back. You’re going to make some mistakes. He was able to bounce back and show us that he can deal with a little adversity.”

Orlovsky entered on the Colts’ third series, and his first pass was picked off by Craig Dahl.

Orlovsky’s second interception went down the middle of the field to Jermale Hines. “We’d like to have that one back,” Caldwell said.

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