INDIANAPOLIS –It did not take much for Colts wide receiver Kris Adams to help pull his team out of a 10-0 second-quarter deficit on Thursday night against the visiting Bengals. Two catches, 55 yards and his night was over.
Though his stat line seems simple enough, it was the timing and the magnitude of his receptions that helped give the Colts a 14-13 halftime lead en route to a 20-16 win in the final preseason game of 2012.
More importantly, it made the wide receivers battle a bit more interesting on the eve of cutting the 75-man roster to the final 53.
"I'm going to try to make it really hard for you to say I'm not good enough to be with your team," said Adams, who signed with the Colts on June 5 as a free agent. "Hopefully I did that tonight."
Adams was the offensive catalyst that jump-started the then-stagnant and scoreless Colts offense. Before recording his first catch with about 2:40 to play in the second quarter, the Colts had only moved the chains once in their previous four possessions.
Then quarterback Chandler Harnish found him on the right sideline for a 32-yard reception down to the Cincinnati seven-yard line. The play helped spark a 20-point offensive campaign. Running back Deji Karim tallied one play later, and the Colts were on the board.
"Kris Adams is huge," said Harnish, who finished the night nine-of-16 with 162 yards and a touchdown. "He's a great player – kind of a diamond in the rough that we just found back in June. He's been awesome."
Adams, who ran with the first-team earlier in the preseason at Pittsburgh in the absence of Austin Collie and Donnie Avery, was Harnish's go-to receiver again when the Colts regained possession with 1:38 remaining in the half.
The two hooked up once more in the red zone, this time for 23 yards to the Bengals' 18. Three plays later, Cincinnati cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris interfered on a pass in the end zone intended for Adams, which set up a one-yard touchdown run by Darren Evans.
"I was out there just trying to make plays," said Adams. "I'm glad that I could be the guy to get the offense going, you know, get us in a rhythm and put us in a position to put some points up on the board. I think it was kind of a dull game going into it, not everybody was in tune, but you make a couple plays and everybody comes alive."
Though Adams' night ended on the pass interference play after getting the wind knocked out of him, the offensive momentum carried into the second half. The team totaled 15 first downs, 253 yards and Harnish ended with a 112.0 passer rating.
"I wasn't thinking, 'Hey, I'm going to throw to Kris on this play,' " said Harnish, who threw to Adams on three of his six pass attempts during the team's 14-point second quarter. "They gave us the coverage and he ran a great route every time. When you've got a guy like that, he's awfully valuable."
Adams gave the Colts coaching staff something to think about with less than 24 hours remaining before trimming the roster to 53. All NFL teams must make final cuts by 9 p.m. EDT on Friday. The eight-man practice squad roster must be named by Saturday.
Adams was a member of three practice squads before signing with the Colts in June. An undrafted free agent out of UTEP, his 90 yards on five receptions has him sixth in yards, and he is tied for sixth on the club in preseason receptions.
Adams is one of nine receivers on the 75-man roster vying for a final roster spot. The Colts had five receivers on the active roster in the first week of the 2011 season.
With cuts looming, Adams saved his best for last on Thursday.
"I'm going to come and I'm going to play hard regardless," he said. "I've been in situations where I felt comfortable and felt like I was going to make the team, and I didn't two or three times. I'm going to come out and I'm going to try to play my best do the right things."