Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

August 29, 2013

NFL: Dalton leads TD drive, Bengals beat Colts

Indianapolis finishes preseason at 2-2.

CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton’s 4 minutes on the field were so satisfying that he didn’t need more.

Dalton led the Bengals to a touchdown in his only drive, and Josh Johnson threw for another in his bid to win the backup job on Thursday as Cincinnati ended the preseason with a 27-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bengals (3-1) played most of their starters on offense and defense for one series only. Dalton’s brief appearance ended in Giovani Bernard’s 1-yard touchdown run.

“We came out tonight and did what we wanted to do,” said Dalton, who completed his only pass in the seven-play drive that included an interference penalty.

“We moved the ball well with the first offense, especially running the ball, and we scored a TD.

“As far as the season, I feel we’re ready to go. We’ve played together well. I like the new elements we have.”

Bernard is one of them, a second-round pick who can catch the ball as well as run with it.

The Colts (2-2) rested most of their starters, including quarterback Andrew Luck. He and Dalton joked with each other on the field before the game.

Matt Hasselbeck started for Indianapolis and led a 12-play drive against most of the Bengals’ starters. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 43-yard field goal to complete it. Hasselbeck played two series and went 5 of 9 for 49 yards.

Vinatieri also was wide left on a 52-yard attempt.

The Bengals’ starters moved the ball easily against a Colts defense of mostly backups during their one series on the field.

All-Pro receiver A.J. Green, who missed the first three weeks of camp with a bruised knee, played the series and drew an interference penalty from Josh Gordy in the end zone, setting up Bernard’s 1-yard run.

Receiver Brandon Tate made more of an impact as a kick returner.

Tate’s 51-yard kickoff return set up the touchdown. Tate also had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the previous preseason game at Dallas.

Johnson followed Dalton for the second game in a row and tried to secure the backup quarterback job with another run-and-pass performance. Johnson scrambled twice for 38 yards on a touchdown drive that culminated in his 3-yard pass to Marvin Jones.

Johnson’s scrambling ability gave him an advantage over John Skelton in the competition to replace Bruce Gradkowski, who left as a free agent for Pittsburgh after last season.

Johnson finished the first half and went 7 of 13 for 67 yards with three sacks. He also had the two scrambles.

Skelton, who was behind from the start of the competition because he’d never run a West Coast offense, played the second half and was 6 of 10 for 99 yards with one touchdown drive.

Both teams had reserves get hurt.

Colts inside linebacker Kavell Conner and offensive tackle Emmett Cleary left with ankle injuries. Receiver David Reed suffered a concussion. Cornerback Daxton Swanson pulled a hamstring. Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur hurt his right shoulder in the first quarter and was taken off the field on a cart. Guard Mike Pollak suffered a knee injury.

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