INDIANAPOLIS --Andrew Luck, the Colts' starting quarterback, put in some quick work and then retired for the night. The statistics line for his one possession: two pass attempts with one completion for eight yards.
Most of the Colts' front-line players accompanied Luck on his fast move to the sideline Thursday night. As planned by Coach Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis reserves took over -- many with hopes of showing their mettle as the final roster cutdown looms.
With backups going the rest of the way, the Colts toppled the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16, and ended the preseason at 2-2.
Cincinnati outgained the Colts in total yardage, 338 to 253. The Bengals had 20 first downs to Indy's 15. Third downs hurt the home team as it converted only 2-of-10.
Clearly, there is work to do as the Colts prepare for their regular-season opener at Chicago. But Pagano said Thursday night's final preseason game set the stage nicely in one important way.
"In the end, our guys played their tails off," Pagano said. "The effort was outstanding. And they found a way to win a game. Ending on a positive note was big for us."
For the Colts, quarterback Chandler Harnish completed 9-of-16 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Kris Adams grabbed two passes for 55 yards. Tight end Dominique Jones caught a Harnish pass and took it 42 yards for the Colts' winning score in the fourth quarter.
Colts linebacker Moise Fokou, perhaps, was the most impressive of all. He totaled a game-leading 13 tackles and added another stop on special teams.
"He was like a blur out there," Pagano said. "He played his tail off. It's like we told these guys, 'This is your last opportunity to make a case for yourself.' He took advantage of this evening to do that."
NFL teams must trim their active rosters to 53 players by Friday night. Pagano wishes it could be different.
"Having to call in 22 guys tomorrow at some point and let them know you're going in a different direction is extremely tough," the Colts coach said.
FIRST QUARTER (8:09 remaining)
The Bengals opened scoring with a 37-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. Cincinnati used a nice run-pass mix to put together a 12-play, 69-yard drive that consumed 5 minutes, 18 seconds. The bad news for the Bengals, however, was that starting quarterback Andy Dalton left the game on the drive after suffering a bruised throwing arm. Bengals 3, Colts 0
SECOND QUARTER (11:05 remaining)
With Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback, the Bengals offense mounted another push. Cedric Peerman provided the big plays, catching a pass for 17 yards and bolting up the middle for a 13-yard gain. The Bengals scored a touchdown on a 10-yard toss from Gradkowski to Marvin Jones, who circled around Colts cornerback Josh Gordy to reach the end zone. Nugent hit the extra point. Bengals 10, Colts 0
SECOND QUARTER (2:28 remaining)
The Colts got on the scoreboard with some quick-strike offense. Rookie quarterback Chandler Harnish connected with Andre Smith for 16 yards and then hit Kris Adams for a 32-yard gain. With first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Deji Karim zipped up the middle for the TD. The drive required 50 seconds. Adam Vinatieri hit the extra point. Bengals 10, Colts 7
SECOND QUARTER (45 seconds remaining)
The Colts benefited from a pass interference penalty flagged on Cincinnati's Chris Lewis-Harris to gain a first down at the Bengals 1-yard line. Darren Evans scored from there to give Indy the lead. Harnish's pass to Adams for 23 yards proved to be the drive's big play. Vinatieri hit the extra point. Colts 14, Bengals 10
SECOND QUARTER (2 seconds remaining)
Nugent concluded the scoring in a first half that saw 16 penalties flagged by the officials. The Bengals kicker connected on a 48-yard field goal on a drive aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty against the Colts' Drake Nevis. Colts 14, Bengals 13
THIRD QUARTER (6:11 remaining)
The Bengals, with Zac Robinson at quarterback, ate up 8:49 with a scoring drive that brought them the lead. Nugent's 22-yard field goal completed the 16-play, 83-yard march. Robinson competed 6-of-7 passes for 51 yards. Bengals 16, Colts 14
FOURTH QUARTER (6:54 remaining)
Harnish's pass to Dominique Jones went for a 42-yard touchdown thanks to an electrifying run after the catch by Jones. LaVon Brazill did a nice bit of blocking for Jones, knocking two defenders from his path near the sideline. The drive went 73 yards in eight plays. A Harnish pass attempt for a two-point conversion fell incomplete. Colts 20, Bengals 16