Dungy Says Colts Got a Lot Done Despite 27-7 Loss in 2008 Preseason Finale
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Dungy didn't worry too much about the score.
That's because to the Colts' seventh-year head coach, there were other elements in the 2008 preseason finale on Thursday night at Lucas Oil Stadium as imant as the outcome.
The Colts, who lost the preseason finale to the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-7, at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday night in a game in which the paid attendance was 64,931, accomplished plenty not only on Thursday, but throughout the preseason, Dungy said.
Young players played. A lot. And information was gathered on the final roster.
And that, Dungy said, was enough.
"It was one of those fifth preseason games that wasn't artistic," Dungy said after the Bengals (2-2 in the preseason) held the Colts (1-4) to 154 yards offense and 10 first downs.
"I'm sure the fans didn't appreciate a lot of the things that happened out there, but we got to see some things we need to see and made some progress in some areas. We got to see the players in situations we wanted to see them in.
"We'll now head to the process of making our roster decisions."
The Colts, who ruled out 14 players before kickoff and played just one starter – tight end Gijon Robinson, a practice-squad player last season – must trim their roster to the NFL-mandated regular-season limit for 53 players by Saturday evening.
The Colts, who did not produce a first-quarter first down, fell behind 7-0, then trailed 17-0 before scoring their lone touchdown – a kickoff return by former Indiana University and Indianapolis native Courtney Roby.
With Colts starting quarterback Peyton Manning and backup Jim Sorgi out, veterans Quinn Gray and Jaren Lorenzen – each of whom signed shortly before the season – split time for a second consecutive week, with Gray playing the first and fourth quarters and Lorenzen playing the second and third.
Gray, who played with Jacksonville the past five seasons, started and played the first quarter, completing no passes in two attempts.
Lorenzen, who played for the New York Giants the last four seasons, then played the next two quarters, hitting 9 of 16 passes for 91 yards and no touchdowns with an interception before Gray played the fourth quarter. Gray then completed 3 of 10 passes for 37 yards.
"They both did well," Dungy said "They have some pluses. We'll evaluate how everything is, how Peyton is, how Jim is, and evaluate how many quarterbacks we're going to keep."
Said Lorenzen, "They haven't told us anything. I'll guess we'll find out Saturday about 6 o'clock if we've gotten the call or haven't gotten the call."
The Bengals, losers in two of their first three preseason games, took the lead with 1:56 remaining in the first quarter when running back Chris Perry scored on a five-yard touchdown run. The run capped a 21-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 11:22.
After falling behind 17-0, the Colts pulled to within 10 when Roby returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown with 3:39 remaining in the half.
The Bengals extended their first-quarter lead to two touchdowns six seconds into the second quarter when reserve quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to guard James Blair. Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko forced and recovered a fumble at the Colts 10 to set up the drive.
A 46-yard field goal by kicker Shayne Graham with 3:50 remaining in the half pushed the lead to 17-0 before Roby broke through the Bengals' coverage and raced 103 yards untouched. The Bengals extended the lead to 20-7 with a 30-yard field goal by Graham with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter.
The Colts will play the Chicago Bears in the regular-season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, September 7, a nationally-televised game on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
"It will be a great atmosphere next week," Dungy said. "I told our players it will be totally different. I think we're all looking forward to it. . . .
"All in all, I thought we got some things done in this preseason that were good for us and that will help us down the road. We got to see some young guys and some of the young guys we really like. We did rest the majority of our starters and some of our veteran guys today. That was a decision that we made by coaching staff and management, but I think that's going to put us in a position to be ready to go on Wednesday to get ready for the Bears.
"We're excited about it."