INDIANAPOLIS -- While there might have been some nervousness inside the Indianapolis Colts organization when Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs chased Andrew Luck down and pulled him to the ground on Luck's surgically repaired right shoulder, the quarterback was "sort of happy" it happened.
Luck went to the ground on his right elbow on the play, but instead of gingerly getting up, he got up with the assistance of Suggs and ran off the field without any pain.
That was one of the few positives for Luck, as the Colts' first-team offense sputtered along in their five series in the Indianapolis' 20-19 loss to the Ravens.
"I told someone after the game, 'I'm sort of happy to get sacked by Suggs, a legit sack,'" Luck said. "I landed on my right elbow sort of reminiscent of how I injured my shoulder a couple of years ago [in Week 3 of the 2015 season]. I didn't feel anything. Didn't give it a second thought. That's a big deal for me, being able to lose that thought bubble."
Monday's game -- the second in 19 months for Luck -- was another step in the physical and mental road to recovery for the quarterback who missed all of last season while recovering from his shoulder injury.
Production-wise, it wasn't a positive game for Luck. He was 6-of-13 passing for 50 yards, with an interception along with being sacked twice in 23 plays while playing without the second- and third-most important players on offense, receiver T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), respectively.
The first-team offense gained a total of 44 yards. Luck referred to their performance as being "sloppy" several times during his postgame media session.
"We turned the ball over, [and] my experience tells me that protection at times was not great," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "We just didn't find a rhythm for him. I felt maybe there were one or two throws that weren't his best throws, but overall, it's usually not as bad as you think or as good as you think. Still have a confidence in a direction we're headed offensively."
Luck, who has repeatedly said he has plenty of work to do to regain for his form, blew an opportunity to get a touchdown when he broke the pocket and tried to force a throw to tight end Jack Doyle instead of throwing the ball away in the red zone in the first quarter on a "bad decision, bad throw."
Luck, who is 12-of-22 for 114 yards in seven series in the preseason, still has yet to display the deep ball. The Colts had a play called for a deep pass when Luck was sacked, but Le'Raven Clark, who was at left tackle, was slow to get to the outside on the rushing Suggs.
"I knew it was a blitz," Luck said. "We got them to show their hand. and we had a great play call and a certain combination that we really liked versus that specific look they present. To get to the home run, you have to sort of hold [the ball]. That's the risk we were willing to take in that situation, and when you have Terrell Suggs on an edge, that happens sometimes. We can live with that."
Even with the struggles, Luck still had a smile on his face and laughed after the game because he's happy to be healthy and happy to be back on the field after missing 26 games over the past three seasons. He's expected to wrap up his preseason by playing until about halftime against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.
"I'm very, very encouraged," Luck said. "How I feel. I feel great."