The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up the 2012 preseason with a come-from-behind 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis will now head into the team’s Sept. 9 regular-season opener at Chicago with a 2-2 preseason mark. The Colts won both of their home games, sandwiched around road losses at Pittsburgh and Washington.
Several Indianapolis starters sat the game out, including outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and cornerback Jerraud Powers. Offensive guards Mike McGlynn (ankle) and Joe Reitz (knee), wide receiver Austin Collie (concussion), running backs Delone Carter (ribs) and Melwelde Moore (ribs) and defensive end Cory Redding (knee) also missed the game.
“It’s like the last couple of ball games. We’ve got to learn to start faster,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said at halftime. “We’re killing ourselves with negative yardage plays, penalties, and give up a run here or there. But then [we] responded, came back with two nice drives [in the second quarter], and got two nice [defensive] stops.”
Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck started and played one series before giving way to primary backup Drew Stanton. Stanton also went one series and was then replaced for the rest of the night bye rookie quarterback Chandler Harnish.
Harnish had a nice game, completing 9-of-16 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. Inside linebacker Moise Fokou netted a team-high 13 tackles. Outside linebacker Mario Addison added six tackles and two sacks.
“Like I said at halftime, we’ve got to find a way to start faster,” Pagano said after the game. “Disappointed, obviously, with our play early on both sides of the ball and special teams. The penalties. We’ve got to get that cleaned up. But like I told the team, I was really proud of every man and that we found a way to win the game.”
Cincinnati jumped to an early 3-0 lead, driving the ball 69 yards in 12 plays on the Bengals first offensive possession of the game. Mike Nugent connected on 37-yard kick with 8:09 left in the first quarter.
Bruce Gradkowski’s 10-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Marvin Jones with 11:05 left in the second quarter pushed the Cincinnati lead to 10-0. The Bengals went 58 yards in 12 plays for the touchdown.
Gradkowski had entered the game during Cincinnati’s second possession when starter Andy Dalton hurt his arm after having a pass tipped by outside linebacker Robert Mathis.
The Colts finally got on the board late in the second quarter as running back Deji Karim scored on a seven-yard run up the middle. Karim’s touchdown was set up by 32-yard pass from Harnish down the right sidelines to first-year wide receiver Kris Adams.
Darren Evans’ one-yard run with 45 seconds left in the first half gave Indianapolis a 14-10 lead. The Colts drive took seven plays but only 53 seconds overall. Harnish and Adams connected on 23-yard pass to give Indianapolis a first down.
Adams also drew two penalties on an incomplete pass as the Bengals were called for a personal foul and pass interference, giving the Colts a first and goal at the one-yard line.
Nugent’s second field goal of the half, this one from 48 yards with 0:02 left in the second quarter, brought the Bengals to within 14-13 at the half.
Cincinnati took a lot of time off the clock with its first possession of the third quarter, driving 83- yards in 16 plays in 8:49. Nugent’s third field goal of the game, a 22-yarder, put the Bengals back on top 16-14.
Indianapolis got a late touchdown, scoring on a 42-yard pass from Harnish to tight end Dominque Jones with 6:54 remaining in the game. The Colts went 73 yards in eight plays as Jones broke a couple of tackles and sprinted down the right sidelines.
Defensive end James Aiono recovered a Cincinnati fumble deep in Bengals territory after the Indianapolis touchdown. But Evans gave it right back to the Bengals on the Colts first play from scrimmage.
The Colts, though, were able to hold defensively to force a punt and then run out the clock at the end of the game.
“We had a chance to ice it there [after recovering the fumble] and then found a way to give it right back. You can’t do that If you’re going to win in the National Football League, “ the Indianapolis coach said.
“When they give you the ball like that and you’ve got a chance to put a team away, you’ve got to do it. But in the end our guys played their tails off and the effort was outstanding. They found a way to win a game. It ended on a positive note. It was big for us.”
n Sloppy game — How bad was it? Both teams combined for a whopping 24 penalties, 14 on Cincinnati and 10 on the Colts.
The Bengals had 119 yards in penalties, which won’t make coach Marvin Lewis happy. Indianapolis was assessed 80 penalty yards.
There were also five total fumbles, three by the Colts and two by Cincinnati. The Bengals lost both of their fumbles, Indianapolis just one.
n Injuries — Outside linebacker Jerry Brown left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI sometime today.
Safety Mike Newton and cornerback Brandon King both incurred hamstring injuries.
Adams left the game after an apparent blow to the head, which drew a personal foul penalty. He said afterward, though, that he was fine and could have come back in.
n Final cuts today — NFL teams must be down to 53-players by tonight. The deadline for having roster moves completed is 9 p.m.
Colts officials are hoping to make an announcement about their final cuts by early evening. Even after 22 players are trimmed from the roster, Indianapolis’ regular-season roster won’t officially be set due to the possible addition of players waived from other teams.
“It’s extremely tough because these guys worked their whole lives to get into an NFL locker room and to play on an NFL stage. You have to call 22 guys (today) at some point and let them know we’re going in a different direction. It’s extremely tough just because they’re great men and they have great character and great integrity,” Pagano said.
“They’ve done everything that we’ve asked them to do from day one. I’m really proud of every man in that locker room. What they did [Thursday night], whether they end up on our 53 or they end up on the practice squad here, as long as they put good tape out there and enhanced their resume, then they’ve got a good shot at making [the roster] of one of the other 31 clubs [in the league].”
Bengals 3 10 3 0 — 16
Colts 0 14 0 6 — 20
C — Mike Nugent 37 FG, 8:09 1st quarter
C — Marvin Jones 10 pass from Bruce Gradkowski (Nugent kick), 11:05 2nd quarter
I — Deji Karim 7 run (Adam Vinatieri kick), 2:28 2nd quarter
I — Darren Evans 1 run (Vinatieri kick), 0:45, 2nd quarter
C — Nugent 48 FG, 0:02 2nd quarter
C — Nugent 22 FG, 8:49 3rd quarter
I — Dominque Jones 42 pass from Chandler Harnish (pass failed), 6:54 4th quarter
Attendance — 65,035 (tickets distributed).
The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up the 2012 preseason with a come-from-behind 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
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Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
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The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
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Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
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Colts sign nose tackle
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Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
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Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
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Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
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Colts introduce free-agent signees
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That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
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Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
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The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
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Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
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Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
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McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
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Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
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The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
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