The Indianapolis Colts preseason came to a disappointing close Thursday night. The Colts were thoroughly handled by the Bengals, 35-7.
The Colts were unable to consistently move the ball on offense as quarterback Chandler Harnish worked his way off the team’s practice squad. Harnish was 13-for-24 for 102 yards, a touchdown and he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The Colts offensive line depth got a little worse as utility lineman Joe Reitz suffered a high ankle sprain. This sort of injury is tricky and it could take awhile to heal. The Colts already have issues at tackle depth with Xavier Nixon still recovering from knee surgery.
While Harnish struggled, part of the blame belongs on the shaky offensive line that rarely gave him time to throw the ball. That said, he had a bad habit of hesitating and holding onto the ball for too long. Harnish was sacked five times.
The Colts managed to finally find the endzone in the fourth quarter. Da’Rick Rogers caught a pass from Harnish on an inside slant for the score. Rogers then punted the football, drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty and the ire of Chuck Pagano. That isn’t a smart move when you are on the bubble to make the final roster.
The penalty set up a big return on the kickoff and the Bengals easily marched the 37 yards down field for another touchdown.
Defensively, the Colts gave up three touchdowns, and one was off a very short field (one touchdown off the interception return, and another on a punt return). The Bengals managed 319 total yards, while Jeremy Hill and James Wilder carved the defense apart on the ground averaging over four yards per carry.
Special teams got extra work tonight as well. The Colts were forced to punt eight times, and the coverage looked solid for most of the game. They did give up one touchdown, but punt that many times and its bound to happen. Pat McAfee still has an outstanding leg and is still one of the team’s best tacklers.
Indy closes out the preseason with an 0-4 record, and the next game they play will actually count for something. The Colts head to Denver to take on the Broncos next Sunday at 8:00 PM.