First Quarter Recap
The Bengals won the toss and deferred to the second half.
It was a great sign to see Vick Ballard getting the start on Thursday night. After battling hamstring injuries for the past month, Ballard received five carries (for 19 yards) on the opening drive. The normal starters who also started on Thursday night included Jack Mewhort, Lance Louis, Khaled Holmes and Donte Moncrief. The Colts eventually punted on the first drive.
On the Colts first defensive series, we saw linebacker Nate Irving receive his first playing time in a Colts uniform. It was a fourth down blitz from Irving that forced a turnover on downs in Colts territory.
A Ballard catch out of the backfield highlighted the second drive for the Colts offense before another McAfee punt with 5:25 left in the first quarter.
The game would start with four straight punts as Cincinnati went three-and-out on their second drive of the night.
Another Colts punt would end a scoreless first quarter. Ballard did start his third straight series though, beginning the game with seven touches on the first eight snaps.
At the end of the first quarter, the score was tied at zero.Second Quarter Recap
The defensive battle continued with the Colts causing yet another Bengals punt near midfield.
After a fourth Colts punt, the Bengals finally struck with a big play. A 48-yard completion from AJ McCarron to wide receiver Brandon Tate took Cincinnati well into Colts territory. Cincinnati finally broke the scoreless tie on a 41-yard field goal from Mike Nugent. With 7:18 to play in the first half, the Bengals led 3-0.
The Colts would once again punt, but the drive didn't end without a few key injuries. Boom Herron went to the locker room following the kick return (a shoulder injury kept him out of the game). Later in the drive, Vick Ballard (hamstring) pulled up lame, also ending his night.
Rookie safety Clayton Geathers gave the Colts the ball back with a jarring hit. The forced fumble was then recovered by cornerback Sheldon Price.
The Colts could not take advantage though. A tipped pass intended for running back Tyler Varga was intercepted by Bengals cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris.
Cincinnati would add one more score prior to the halftime gun. A 35-yard field goal from Nugent gave the Bengals a 6-0 halftime lead.
At halftime, the Bengals led the Colts 6-0.Third Quarter Recap
With the Bengals starting the second half on offense, the Colts defensive rookies continued to make plays. Undrafted inside linebacker Junior Sylvestre forced a fumble and fellow rookie safety Clayton Geathers pounced on the loose ball.
Having their best field position of the night would still not result in points for the Colts. A fourth-down pass in the end zone by Bryan Bennett was deflected and picked off.
Leading 6-0, the Bengals punted on their possession following the interception in the end zone.
The Colts would finally get on the board near the end of the third quarter, thanks to some productive plays from wide receiver Vincent Brown and running back Tyler Varga. A 26-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri cut the Bengals lead in half.
The Bengals and Colts would trade punts to end the third quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, the Bengals led the Colts 6-3.Fourth Quarter Recap
The Bengals appeared prime to increase their lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
However, Cincinnati kicker Tom Obarski missed from 30 yards out to keep the score at 6-3 with 11:44 left in the fourth quarter.
The Colts offense put together its best drive of the night on the next possession. A 42-yard completion to Duron Carter sparked things. Adam Vinatieri knocked home a 26-yard field goal to tie the score at six with 9:26 to go.
Following a Bengals punt, another Colts turnover would prove costly. Quarterback Bryant Bennett was stripped by Bengals outside linebacker Chris Carter.
With field position already in Colts territory, the Bengals moved into field goal range. A 28-yard field goal from Obarski avenged his miss earlier in the quarter. The Bengals now had a 9-6 lead with 2:49 left in the game.
The Colts could not mount another scoring drive.
The Bengals 9-6 victory on Thursday night concluded the 2015 preseason.
In-Game Injury Updates
RB-Boom Herron (shoulder, not expected to return)
RB-Vick Ballard (hamstring, not expected to return)
CB-Sheldon Price (concussion, out for the game)
LB-Junior Sylvestre (ankle, not expected to return)
Colts Pre-Game Notes
-The Colts preseason finale comes tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST. The Colts regular season will kick off on Sunday, September 13, for a 1:00 p.m. EST start in Buffalo.
-The Colts current roster sits at 75 players. The team must get down to the league mandated number of 53 by Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST.Weather Update
-It's a beautiful Thursday in Indianapolis with temperatures nearing 90 degrees. The roof/window at Lucas Oil Stadium will be closed for the first half tonight, but both may be opened at halftime.