The starting lineup for the Indianapolis Colts took to the field Thursday night. The Colts’ starters came out of the tunnel at Paul Brown Stadium dressed to play, but they remained on the sideline for their NFL preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. In fact, it was the second and third-string Colts that took on the stars of HBO’s “Hard Knocks”, and they got knocked around.
Until near kickoff time, there was no official word from the Colts’ coaching staff as to whether or not their starters would play against the Bengals. For one reason or another, the decision was made to keep the first-string offense and defense away from playing time. This final preseason game has no effect on the Colts in the long-run, but it still may have been beneficial to let your starters get some action. This team has looked good in the past two games, but still has a lot of new and returning pieces in the starting lineup, that could use some on-the-field action.
The fact that the Indianapolis starters didn’t play was made more polarizing by the fact that the Cincinnati starters did. Both the Bengals’ offensive and defensive starters played the opening set of downs. The Bengals’ defense gave up a field goal on the Colts’ opening drive. Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati offense drove 49 yards for a touchdown on their only drive, consisting of five runs and one pass.
Even if the starters had played against the Bengals on Thursday night, they wouldn’t have played long. Still, there’s no practice like live practice against another team. These two teams will meet again in Cincinnati, for a Week 14 match-up, when much more will be on the line.