By Tom James
Cincinnati — With backups handling much of the work for both teams, the Cincinnati Bengals did just enough in the second half to hang on for a 14-6 win over the Indianapolis Colts Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium.
Indianapolis and the Bengals both end the preseason with identical 1-3 records, with the Colts set to begin the regular season against New Orleans in a nationally-televised game Thursday night at the RCA Dome.
The NFL’s final training camp roster cuts are due by 4 p.m. today, which meant that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Indianapolis’ Tony Dungy took full advantage of the opportunity to take one last look at rookies and veteran backups.
Several tough decisions now await Dungy, his coaching staff and the team’s player personnel department this morning. Twenty-two players must be released or waived this afternoon in order to meet the league’s 53-man regular season roster limit.
A five-yard run by Quincy Wilson with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter, followed soon after by a 46-yard return of a DeDe Dorsey fumble by linebacker Caleb Miller, accounted for all of the Bengals’ scoring for the evening.
Indianapolis’ only points came with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter as Josh Betts, who connected on 12-of-21 passes for 154 yards, threw a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe.
The Colts, however, came within an eyelash of notching a second score in the game’s waning seconds as Betts fired a 36-yard pass that was hauled in by tight end Jonny Harline at the Cincinnati one-yard line. Time ran out before Betts could get the offense lined up for a last ditch attempt at the end zone.
Jim Sorgi got the start at quarterback for Indianapolis and completed 19-of-33 passes for 150 yards before giving way to Betts midway through the third quarter. In the battle for the team’s primary backup running back role, Dorsey had 49 yards in 12 carries while Kenton Keith added seven rushing attempts for 36 yards.
Former Purdue and Monrovia High School wide receiver John Standeford, who may find himself on the outside looking in when the final roster cuts are made, had a game-high eight catches for 61 yards.
Defensively, the Colts forced four turnovers, including interceptions by cornerbacks Marlin Jackson and Dante Hughes along with outside linebacker Clint Session. Hughes, who had missed nearly a week of practice as he was excused to take care of undisclosed personal matters, also had a fumble recovery.
Cincinnati backup quarterback Doug Johnson struggled during his two-and-a-half quarters of work, hitting on nine-of-14 passes for 69 yards and had two passes intercepted. Jeff Rowe went the rest of the way, completing seven-of-14 passes for 54 yards and had one pass picked off.
• Held out — Fifteen offensive and defensive starters did not play against Cincinnati. The list included quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Joseph Addai, tight end Dallas Clark, wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, offensive guard Ryan Lilja, offensive tackle Ryan Diem, safety Bob Sanders, middle linebacker Gary Brackett, defensive tackle Raheem Brock, defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, and strong-side linebacker Rob Morris.
Starters who did get some work were offensive tackle Tony Ugoh, offensive guard Jake Scott, weak side linebacker Freddy Keiaho, cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Jackson, defensive tackle Ed Johnson, free safety Antoine Bethea, placekicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Hunter Smith, and long snapper Justin Snow.
Among the 13 players sitting out for the Bengals were quarterback Carson Palmer, running back Rudi Johnson, placekicker Shayne Graham, strong safety Dexter Jackson, and offensive tackle Willie Anderson.
• Five in a row for I-74 rivalry — Friday night’s game marked the fifth straight year and the sixth time in the last seven years that the Colts and Bengals have wrapped up the preseason against each other. It was also the 15th time in the last 16 years, and the 17th time in the last 24 years, that the two franchises have met in the preseason.
• Coaching from the press box — Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis coached his second game from the press box Friday night as he continues to recover from recent ankle surgery.
Lewis also coached Monday night’s road game with Atlanta from the press box.
• Injury list — Held out of the Bengals game due to injuries were running back Clifton Dawson (ankle), safety Matt Giordano (foot), tight end Gijon Robinson (thumb), tight end Bryan Fletcher (ankle), defensive end Josh Thomas (ankle), and Freeney (quadracep muscle).
Offensive tackle Charlie Johnson suffered an injury to his left knee in the second half of Friday night’s game. Johnson was taken off the field on a cart during the third quarter. The seriousness of the injury was not immediately known.
• Wayne signing Colts Super Bowl DVDs — Reggie Wayne will be autographing copies of the "Indianapolis Colts: Road to XLI" DVD Tuesday evening at the Wal-Mart in Plainfield.
The four-disc collectors set features all three of the Colts’ 2006 playoff games (Kansas City, Baltimore and New England) and Super Bowl XLI (Chicago) in their entirety. Wayne will be signing copies of the DVD from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Indianapolis 0 0 0 6 — 6
Cincinnati 0 0 14 0 — 14
C — Quincy Wilson 5 run (Larson kick), 5:28 3Q
C — Caleb Miller 46 fumble return (Larson kick), 5:07 3Q
I — Craphonso Thorpe 6 pass from Josh Betts (pass failed), 5:29 4Q
Attendance — 61,243 (second best total in Bengals preseason history).