CINCINNATI — Stephen Morris’ 25-yard touchdown pass to undrafted rookie Tevaun Smith with 40 seconds left gave the Indianapolis Colts a 13-10 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night with both teams’ starters watching from the sidelines.
The Colts (2-2) and Bengals (1-3) rested their starters, hoping to avoid injuries, but Indianapolis lost another player at a hard-hit position.
Cornerback Tevin Mitchell left in the first half with a hamstring injury. The Colts already had five cornerbacks injured.
“It’s unfortunate because we just got him back,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “I don’t know the severity of it.”
The Bengals’ starters were among a group of 27 players on the field for a workout in T-shirts and shorts two hours before the kickoff, knowing they wouldn’t be playing.
Andy Dalton lingered on the field after the workout and chatted with Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals, a fellow TCU athlete. The Cardinals were in town and had the day off before opening a weekend series against the Reds. Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Lance Lynn watched the pregame warmups from the sideline.
Colts: Center Ryan Kelly — the 18th overall pick — was among the starters held out. Austin Blythe took his place.
Bengals: Linebacker Nick Vigil, a third-round pick, made a leaping interception of Morris’ pass in the closing seconds of the first half at the Bengals 4-yard line.
Colts: Running back Stevan Ridley signed last Sunday to compete for the No. 3 job. He started and carried on the first play. Ridley wound up with nine carries for only 11 yards.
Bengals: Rookie Alex Erickson won the punt return job last week. Bidding for a significant role as a backup receiver, he had three catches for 44 yards.
“As many things as you can do, the better,” Erickson said.
Colts: Right tackle Joe Reitz missed his second straight game with a sore back. Linebacker Robert Mathis missed his fourth preseason game after suffering a knee injury early in camp.
Bengals: Cornerback Darqueze Dennard, who suffered an ankle injury during camp, missed the final preseason game as well. So did right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, who suffered a toe injury but is expected back for the season opener.
Down the middle
The Colts’ Adam Vinatieri made field goals from 21 and 46 yards, leaving him 7 for 8 in the preseason with his only miss coming from 47 yards. Mike Nugent made a 21-yard field goal for the Bengals, ending his preseason on an upbeat note. He’d missed a pair of field goals and an extra point in the first two preseason games.
Dalton and Carpenter work out together at TCU in the offseason. They played baseball against each other in high school, when Dalton pitched. How did Dalton do against him?
“He hit a home run off of me,” Dalton said, “so not very well.”
Colts: Morris finished 20 of 30 for 217 yards and now has to wait to see if he makes the team. “I’ll be by my phone,” Morris said. “Just wait and see what happens.”
Bengals: “Our focus is on the New York Jets, and I felt that our main guys had accomplished what they needed to accomplish in the preseason,” coach Marvin Lewis said of his decision to rest his starters. “It was best to let them have the night off.”