The final NFL preseason game for the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals didn’t mean much in the long run, but it didn’t have to be quite so one-sided.
The Colts came into Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night, ready to showcase their second and third-string players. The game against the Bengals was also a last chance for many players on the bottom part of the roster to make one last push for a spot on this team. If these players were fighting to miss the final 22 cuts, then it didn’t look like they were fighting very hard.
Prior to their match against the Bengals, the Colts hadn’t given up a touchdown in two games. That streak ended early, as Cincinnati scored on their first drive of the game. Following a 51-yard punt return, the Cincinnati starters put together a seven-play touchdown drive. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard gave the Bengals their first lead, and it got worse for the Colts from there.
The Colts took an early 3-0 lead, but that would be their only lead of the game. after giving up Bernard’s rushing touchdown, the Colts would not get into scoring position until the second quarter, but Adam Vinatieri missed a 52-yard field goal. The Colts would only score ten more points after that, and end up losing the game 27-10 in Cincinnati.
The highlight of Thursday night for the Colts was that they did score the final points of the game. Third-string quarterback Chandler Harnish led the team on their only touchdown drive, which was 16 plays long, and took 8:46 seconds off the clock.
The final game of the preseason doesn’t mean much to the team, but it means a lot to many of the players involved. Hopefully the players who make this roster remember the sting of this loss, when the Colts return to face the Bengals on December 8th.