INDIANAPOLIS – JONES RECORDS FIRST NFL TOUCHDOWN –A year ago Dominique Jones was playing football with eight guys on each side of the football.
Come next Sunday, he very well could be suiting up in his first career NFL game.
Jones caught his first-ever NFL touchdown pass Thursday night, the eventual game-winner, on a 42-yarder from quarterback Chandler Harnish.
With the Colts facing a second-and-16 from the Cincinnati 42-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Jones caught a short pass from Harnish in the flat before turning up field and seeing green turf in front of him.
Wide receiver LaVon Brazill provided a little help with some downfield blocking. Brazill blocked two potential tacklers inside the 10-yard line, and the rest was history. Jones scored and made sure to keep the ball that will go down as his first career touchdown.
"I saw LaVon (Brazill) running down the sideline, and I slowed down a little bit to let him help me because I wasn't going to make it there by myself," Jones said. "He made a good block. I let the guy miss and then scored from there."
Standing just a few lockers down from Jones in the Colts' locker room, Brazill joked that Jones owes him a steak dinner for the blocks he provided to spring the touchdown.
Jones, who last season played in the Indoor Football League, fired back with a comment that he happily will treat his fellow rookie if he makes the Colts' 53-man roster.
It has been a trying week for players in the position of Jones. Dealing with an already short week and having to prepare for extended playing time would take its toll on anyone, not to mention throwing in the pressure of trying to make it to the NFL.
"It's been a nerve-wracking week because you never know with this business, just being an undrafted free agent and working my way onto this team," Jones said. "It's a tough situation, so I've just been trying to prepare knowing that I was going to play a lot."
FOKOU MANS THE MIDDLE –Moise Fokou has been in a Colts uniform for less than a month but if Thursday night were any indication, he might be donning the blue and white for much longer in 2012.
The Colts inside linebacker had an impressive stat line against Cincinnati with 13 tackles, two passes defended and a forced fumble. He also had one stop on special teams.
"It always helps going into the regular season in terms of seeing where your comfort level is in terms of a new defense, seeing how well you play in it," Fokou said of his game-high performance. "Also, (it helps) giving confidence in our coaches to put you out there in certain situations. Overall, it's just a good feeling (of) finishing off strong."
Fokou, who was acquired via trade in early August, was one of many Colts who made the most of extended playing time against the Bengals.
With inside linebacker Pat Angerer sidelined to begin the regular season and someone needing to fill his role, Fokou seemed to be right at home in the middle of the 3-4 hybrid defense.
"(Fokou) was like a blur out there," Head Coach Chuck Pagano said. "One time I just saw across the Jumbotron a guy flying through the air and they picked him up off the carpet. I saw that it was 45, it was Fokou.
"He played his tail off. Again we told these guys, 'This is your last opportunity to make a case for yourself and take advantage of this evening to do that.' "
In the second half, Fokou was a part of a Colts defense that forced a punt, fumble, fumble, punt and a turnover on downs to end the game.
Early in the fourth quarter with the Colts down 16-14 and the Bengals beginning a drive at the Indianapolis 38-yard line, Fokou made the defensive play of the game.
His hit of Bengals running back Dan Herron forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Josh Gordy.
From there, the Colts offense went 73 yards in eight plays finished off by the Jones game-winning touchdown.
The victory gave the Colts their most wins in the preseason since 2004.
To some it might seem like just a "preseason" game, but do not tell that to Fokou or anyone else in the Colts locker room.
"What else do we prepare for?" Fokou said. "I don't care if it's preseason, regular season, you go out here to prepare and prepare to win."
THE DRIVE FOR 53 –As quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Drew Stanton exited Thursday's preseason finale after just one series apiece, the theme became pretty apparent that the night would be about players fighting for their NFL futures.
Quarterback Chandler Harnish directed the offense for three quarters against the Bengals and led the game-winning touchdown drive.
Harnish threw for 406 yards in the preseason, including touchdowns in each of the Colts victories. He said he has received no indication from the coaching staff on whether or not he will make the 53-man roster, which sits just well with the Indiana native.
"They haven't said a word and that's been a good thing for me," Harnish said. "It keeps me urgent. I never get complacent with where I'm at. I'm always working, so we'll see."
For the second straight season, running back Darren Evans scored a touchdown in the preseason finale.
Evans has seen extended playing time in the last three preseason games due to injuries at the running back position, and he said the next 24 hours will be nothing new to him.
"Just going to try and spend it the best way I can, with my family and just pray for the best and hope everything will work out for me," Evans said.
Injuries at the inside linebacker position have opened the door for opportunities and along with Fokou, Mario Harvey had a productive night with two tackles for losses.
Running back Deji Karim got a majority of the second half carries and scored his first touchdown in a Colts uniform.
Another player that continued his productive training camp was wide receiver Kris Adams.
Adams, 6-3, 194, made two spectacular grabs over defenders and is looking to survive the cut at one of the deepest positions on the Colts' roster.
The Bengals game provided one final chance for players to make that lasting impression on the coaches, and now it is time for Pagano and his staff to do what he called the "most difficult part of the business."
"It's extremely tough because these guys, they worked their whole lives, they dreamt of something, being in the NFL locker room playing on the NFL stage their whole lives, ever since Pop Warner," Pagano said. "I have to call in 22 guys (Friday) at some point and let them know that you're going in a different direction. It's extremely tough just because they're great men.
"They have great character and great integrity, and they've done everything that we've asked them to do from day one. I'm really proud of every man in that locker room and what they did (Thursday), whether they end up on our 53, whether they end up on the practice squad here as long as they put some good tape out there and enhance their resume, they've got a good chance of making one of the 31 other clubs."