INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a touchdown pass on what will probably be his last preseason drive, and Christine Michael scored on a 1-yard plunge late in the third quarter to lead the Indianapolis Colts get past San Francisco 23-17 on Saturday.
Luck looked much sharper than he did in Monday night’s loss to Baltimore. He wound up 8 of 10 with 90 yards and produced the only TD in the first half. He also had four carries for 27 yards before leaving midway through the second quarter.
Otherwise, it was a struggle for the Colts. They had trouble establishing the run — and stopping the run, too.
Alfred Morris carried 13 times for 71 yards in the first half as San Francisco piled up 99 yards on the ground. Morris finished with 17 carries for 84 yards.
Still, the Colts managed to keep the 49ers out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter and nearly picked off Jimmy Garoppolo on back-to-back plays near the goal line late in the first half. Garoppolo was 9 of 19 with 135 yards before giving way to C.J. Beathard midway through the third quarter.
Former Colts receiver Pierre Garcon caught two passes for 62 yards.
San Francisco settled for field goals of 37 and 27 yards in the first half to make it 7-6, and briefly took a 9-7 lead on Robbie Gould’s’ 32-yarder late in the third quarter.
But Indy struck quickly both times it trailed.
Luck capped his final drive with a nifty 15-yard run on third-and-13, then hooked up with a leaping Eric Ebron on the next play for a 15-yard score that made it 7-3.
In the third quarter, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett found Seantavius Jones on a 53-yard pass. Two plays later, Michael’s scoring run gave Indy a 14-9 lead.
Michael Badgley also made field goals of 25, 51 and 40 yards for Indy.
Quarterback Nick Mullens scored on a 1-yard run and Jeremy McNichols added a 2-point conversion run for San Francisco to close out the scoring with 4:07 left.
San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman made his preseason debut after returning from a torn Achilles tendon, and the Colts welcomed back safety Malik Hooker, who missed the second half of his rookie season after tearing two ligaments in his right knee.
Both played most of the first half.
When the 49ers last visited Indianapolis in October, nearly two dozen players demonstrated by kneeling during the national anthem, prompting Vice President Mike Pence to walk out of Lucas Oil Stadium.
This time, nobody took a knee while the anthem played, with the only demonstration coming from San Francisco receiver Marquise Goodwin, who raised his fist again.
49ers: Linebacker Reuben Foster did not return after being diagnosed with a concussion in the third quarter, and cornerback Jimmie Ward left in the first half with a quadriceps injury. Receiver Marquise Goodwin also left in the first half with a hand injury, but returned later. San Francisco played without running backs Jerick McKinnon (knee), Matt Breida (shoulder) and Joe Williams (ribs), and backup offensive linemen Erik Magnuson (hamstring) and Gary Gilliam.
Colts: Defensive end John Simon (neck), backup safety Ronald Martin (shoulder), offensive lineman Denzelle Good (knee) and safety T.J. Green (hamstring) all left in the second half and did not return. Indy was already playing without cornerbacks Quincy Wilson (hand) and Nate Hairston (hamstring), linebacker Anthony Walker (groin), defensive linemen Denico Autry (lower leg) and Tyquan Lewis (foot), running backs Marlon Mack (hamstring), Robert Turbin (ankle) and newly acquired Brandon Oliver and Tion Green, and receivers James Wright (knee) and K.J. Brent (knee).
49ers: Wrap up the preseason at home Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Colts: Close out the preseason at Cincinnati.