The Indianapolis Colts visited Cincinnati for their annual Week 4 clash with the Bengals in preseason action. It was said before the game that most of the Colts starters would not be suiting up as Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, and Antoine Bethea among others would not be playing. With this apparent, Matt Hasselbeck would start only two series and would give way to 2nd year quarterback Chandler Harnish who would run with the third team offense.
The second team offense drove down the field on the first drive and scored a field goal against 10/11 of the first team defense. The Bengals would march down the field with their first team offense and scored at will. A missed tackle by Josh Gordy on Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caused a short gain to become a big one which led to an easy TD by Giovani Bernard.
Chandler Harnish couldn’t get anything going in the first three quarters as he was getting pressured or holding onto the ball for too long. Josh Johnson, the backup for Cincinatti, would make big third down throws throughout the first half as well as run for big games all over the Colts. The Bengals would win 27-10.
- Kerwynn Williams had 18 carries for 92 yards. He made great cuts and got into the open field several times for the first down. The rookie out of Utah State has been showing that he deserves a roster spot and rightfully so. Although the running back situation for the Colts is crowded with Bradshaw, Ballard, and Donald Brown, he can be used in special teams as a possible gunner and also a return man because of his speed.
- Larry Asante had another great game today with 11 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. He has locked down the backup safety job with his consistent great play this preseason.
- Speaking of backup safeties, Delano Howell also had a stellar game with 7 tackles and also may have locked up the backup safety job alongside Larry Asante.
- Dominique Jones had a good day with 2 receptions for 21 yards and a TD. During the first drive, he made a great 1st down catch. With questions of the health of Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, him making the team would be a lock due to lack of tight end talent depth.
- Montari Hughes had two back to back sacks with Ricardo Mathews assisting with one and Bjoern Werner assisting with another (This would be Bjoern’s first preseason sack)
- Chandler Harnish just didn’t do anything that gave me the impression that he earns a roster spot as the #3 quarterback for the Colts. He would make terrible throws as well as hold onto the ball for too long which rendered in either a sack or him running out of bounds. He also threw an interception that was utterly mind boggling. There were no white jerseys in site and threw it directly into an area with two Bengals just waiting in coverage in the middle of the field. Harnish had looked really good in training camp but it has not translated in to preseason success and that very well may cost him a 53 man roster spot.
- Cassius Vaughn allowed a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones and looked straight up lost on that play. Bad coverage, misread ball, and he was facing the wrong way entirely. It was typical Cassius Vaughn like bad defense though.
- Missed tackles were everywhere throughout the game for the Colts. Josh Gordy missed a tackle early in the game which could have negated a touchdown into a field goal. Josh Johnson would run on third down and not a single Colt could bring him down before he got to the first down. The Bengals went for it on 4th and inches and while the running back ran right into the lineman and defenders at the line of scrimmage, no Colt was able to bring him down despite me seeing at least three hands touch him.
- In the opening drive in the 2nd half, the Colts committed three defensive penalties. Two of them were pass interference which were back to back plays. You could imagine how livid Chuck Pagano was for the lack of discipline his defense showed.
- The Bengals commentators were cracking Curtis Painter jokes late in the third quarter. Laughing if he was still in the league. Well he is! He was leading a 4th quarter charge against the Tim Tebow led Patriots but fell short. I’ll let that narrative play itself out.
Despite the loss, the Colts went 2-2 in the preseason which is a far cry of how they were when Peyton Manning was under center for the Colts once upon a time ago. Preseason wins were few and far between but in the end, it never mattered. They would win 10-14 games a year becoming the winning-est team of the 2000′s. This Colts team and their new franchise quarterback show symptoms of replicating that feat. The NFL season for the Colts begins next Sunday at home against the Raiders. Starters will be rested up and we will get to see what is in store for the sophomore season with Luck, Pagano and co. We will also see how free agent acquisitions like Ahmad Bradshaw and Darrius Heyward-Bey will pan out. They have a stellar season to work off of and now have opponents that know they are facing a formidable opponent, not just another team that was coming off a 2-14 season like last year.
Here’s to a successful season!