Instant Replay: Saints 23, Colts 17 _lowres

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram breaks the tackle of Indianapolis Colts strong safety LaRon Landry (30) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

What did we learn: This just in...the Saints' starters are pretty good. New Orleans played most of its starters in the first half against Indianapolis, which was the AFC South and a playoff game last year. The result was a 20-10 lead at halftime. The saints were effective on offense with quarterback Drew Brees and his backup Luke McCown each playing one quarter. The Colts offense sputter against a first-string Saints defense that flew over the field and was able to get consistent pressure on quarterback Andrew Luck.

Welcome back: Brees, in his first action of the preseason, led the Saints on a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the first possession of the game. He had a 10-yard scramble on a third down. He also threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Austin Johnson.

Midseason form: Brees only played one quarter (14 minutes, 28 seconds to be exact) and completed 9 of 14 passes for 128 yards and two touchdown passes in the first quarter.

It's the thought that counts: Marrero native and Colts veteran receiver Reggie Wayne, playing in his first game of the preseason after suffering a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament last season, caught a pass on the team's first offensive play. But the gain was nullified when Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton was penalized for being offsides.

Ooops: Luck threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Coby Fleener to tie the score at 7 in the first quarter. Fleener was wide open on the play, and the result was because of a mistake by Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. Lofton was supposed to follow Fleener down the middle on the post route in a cover-two defense, but left him go.

Nice fake: After scoring his touchdown, Fleener jogged up to the goalpost and faked like he was going to dunk, but didn't. Maybe the $30,000 fine Jimmy Graham got for his two goalpost dunks in last week's game against the Tennessee Titans entered his mind.

Goal-line stand: The second-string Saints defense stopped the second-string Colts offense inside the New Orleans 1-yard line on a fourth-down run Dan Herron in the third quarter.

He flies through the air: If Saints cornerback Brian Dixon, a rookie from Northwest MIssouri State, makes the Saints cirlcle the interception he had in the third quarter. Dixon covered Josh Lenz one on one in the end zone on a fade route and leaped high in the air to intercept a pass form Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

Coming up: The Saints play host to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in their final preseason game on Thursday.