INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts (0-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) continue their annual exhibition series Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium, where both squads will wrap up their respective preseason slates.
It's the 19th consecutive year that the Colts and Bengals have squared off in the preseason, with the Colts winning the last three dating back to 2016.
With cutdown day coming on Saturday — wherein teams must go from 90 players down to 53 — it's the final opportunity for nearly 1,200 players across the league to stick with their team or to put out good tape for a shot with another organization.
- Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. E.T.
- Cincinnati; Paul Brown Stadium
- TV: FOX59 (WXIN) — Greg Rakestraw (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color) and Larra Overton (sideline)
- Stream: Colts.com and the Colts mobile app
- To find out what games will be on in your area, check here.
- Radio: WFNI “1070 The Fan” and WLHK “HANK FM” — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Jim Sorgi (color) and Jeffrey Gorman (sideline)
- Colts lead, 17-12 (2-0 in the playoffs). In the preseason, the Bengals lead, 16-11.
- Last game — Week 1 of 2018. Bengals won, 34-23. The Colts won the last preseason matchup in 2018, 27-26.
- HC Frank Reich
- OC Nick Sirianni
- DC Matt Eberflus
- STC Bubba Ventrone
- HC Zac Taylor
- OC Brian Callahan
- DC Lou Anarumo
- STC Darrin Simmons
OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
- The Colts have moved on at the quarterback position after the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck, who announced his decision on Saturday. Luck's retirement has opened the door for Jacoby Brissett to lead the offense into the start of the regular season.
- Former starting receivers Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Inman both departed in free agency, and veterans Mike Mitchell and Al Woods also were not re-signed by the team. Offensive lineman Matt Slauson retired following a 10-year career.
- The Colts did do two big things through acquisitions, and that was to add dynamic playmaking on offense in the form of wide receivers Parris Campbell and Devin Funchess, and they added a ton of speed on defense with Ben Banogu, Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed.
- After 16 years, the Bengals have a new coaching staff. Marvin Lewis and the Bengals parted ways, and Zac Taylor replaces him. Taylor (former University of Nebraska quarterback) spent the last two seasons with Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams and was an intriguing offensive mind for Bengals general manager Mike Brown to find.
- Aside from Lewis and his staff, there were some familiar faces that left Cincy in the offseason, most notably polarizing linebacker Vontaze Burfict, tight end Tyler Kroft and offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi.
STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH
- Players' Final Chance — As we mentioned, this is the final opportunity for many of these guys to put out good game film in order to make a last impression on their team or to catch on with another once cutdown day comes. The Colts' roster is deep, but there could be a couple spots left on the 53-man roster that are decided in this game.
- Campbell's debut? — Exciting rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell has been sidelined the last three weeks with a hamstring injury. But the second-round pick out of Ohio State returned to practice on Monday, and Reich said there's a chance Campbell could make his NFL debut Thursday against the Bengals. "I feel back to my old self," Campbell said Tuesday. "I think I just need to get my feet wet, whether it's a couple series, but I'm leaving it up to the training staff and the coaching staff; they know what's right for me. But practice has been good."
- Escape Unscathed — Last year, the Colts lost a couple promising, young players to season-ending injuries during the preseason. Receiver Deon Cain went down with an ACL injury in the first game, and tight end Ross Travis suffered the same fate on the exact field the Colts will be playing on Thursday. Although the major players will likely all be held out on the sideline, no one wants to see anyone of playing status get injured. All that both of these teams can hope for is that all their players leave the field after the final whistle with a clean bill of health.
- More Than Just A Preseason Win? — Wins and losses in the preseason really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. But this has been an odd week for the Colts. Last Saturday following their loss to the Chicago Bears, Luck announced his stunning retirement at the age of 29. Now, the locker room has to adjust to life without its friend and teammate being around everyday. Although a win in the preseason doesn't matter and the Colts are very excited about what the future holds, a win over Cincinnati could bring some good vibes into the locker room.
INTRIGUING COLTS PLAYERS TO WATCH
- WRs Penny Hart, Krishawn Hogan and Marcus Johnson — This is a big opportunity for a few receivers on the roster bubble. All three play special teams as well, so that will also be a factor. Hogan and Johnson have been with the Colts for awhile and have shown good things throughout their tenure, but it is a numbers game at a position the team is very deep at currently. Hart is an undrafted rookie who was been banged up the entire offseason and much of training camp. His abilities as a return man could help him.
- TE Hale Hentges and Ross Travis — This has been a fun battle to watch all summer, as Travis returns from the ACL injury to look like his normal, exciting self, and Hentges came out of nowhere to make defenders look silly in camp. Hentges is more of the mold of a Jack Doyle while Travis is a closer playing resemblance to Eric Ebron, so the coaches will need to figure which traits they need more going into the season.
- OL Jackson Barton, Evan Boehm and Le'Raven Clark — The Colts are going to have some good depth on the offensive line this year, and it means facing some difficult decisions. They selected offensive tackle Jackson Barton in the seventh round this year, and Evan Boehm and Le'Raven Clark have combined to start 16 games for the Colts as important depth pieces. While they don't all have the same role, they're a few linemen to keep an eye on in this game.
- DEs Ben Banogu, Gerri Green and Carroll Phillips — Ben Banogu played in his second preseason game last Saturday and looked great, both as a run defender and especially as a pass rusher. In this, his third preseason game, expect to see him take another step forward. Veteran Carroll Phillips has had his own excellent preseason, tying for the team lead in sacks with two. The Colts drafted fellow rookie defensive end Gerri Green in the sixth round. He's not a flashy stat guy, but he has done a nice job of containing the run.
- LBs Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed — It seems like there's a good chance these two play extensively on Thursday. Both Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed received some first-team reps during camp but have been in more reserve roles during the preseason. With guys like Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker likely to sit for the game, it could be an opportunity for Okereke and Speed to rack up the tackles against the Bengals.
Since official pregame injury reports are not required until the regular season, these are simply players who have been declared to be out indefinitely, for a period of time beyond this game or have missed some practice recently. Whether or not they will play is not yet known.
- WR Devin Funchess (back), CB Kenny Moore II (thumb), DE Jabaal Sheard (knee), RB Jordan Wilkins (foot), RB Jonathan Williams (chest)
- TE Moritz Bohringer (not disclosed), QB Jeff Driskel (hamstring), WR A.J. Green (ankle), WR Stanley Morgan (not disclosed), WR Auden Tate (knee), RB Trayveon Williams (foot)
- Head referee: Land Clark (referee tryout, from Carl Cheffers' crew). Click here to see all referee assignments for preseason Week 4.
- Favorite: Bengals (-3.0)
- Over/Under: N/A
PRESEASON STATS LEADERS
- Passing — QB Chad Kelly (445 yards)
- Rushing — QB Chad Kelly (87 yards)
- Receiving — WR Deon Cain (169 yards)
- Touchdowns — WR Deon Cain, TE Eric Ebron, QB Chad Kelly, TE Ross Travis, RB Charcandrick West (1)
- Tackles — LB E.J. Speed (12)
- Sacks — DE Carroll Phillips, DE Kemoko Turay (2.0)
- Interceptions — S Isaiah Johnson (1)
- Passing — QB Ryan Finley (414 yards)
- Rushing — RB Jordan Ellis (68 yards)
- Receiving — WR Damion Willis (118 yards)
- Touchdowns — RB Jordan Ellis, WR Alex Erickson, WR Josh Malone, TE Drew Sample, WR Auden Tate, TE C.J. Uzomah, RB Trayveon Williams, WR Damion Willis (1)
- Tackles — CB Tony McRae (14)
- Sacks — DE Kerry Wynn (2.0)
- Interceptions — LB Hardy Nickerson (1)
PRESEASON TEAM STATS
- Total offense — 8th (348.0 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 22nd (17.0 PPG)
- Passing offense — 4th (253.3 YPG)
- Sacks allowed — Tied-23rd (10)
- Running offense — 16th (94.7 YPG)
- Third down offense — 25th (30%)
- Red zone offense — 28.6% (N/A)
- Total defense — 15th (299.0 YPG)
- Scoring defense — Tied-26th (24.0 PPG)
- Passing defense — 11th (189.7 YPG)
- Sacks — Tied-15th (7)
- Running defense — 23rd (109.3 YPG)
- Third down defense — Tied-12th (34%)
- Red zone defense — 66.7% (N/A)
- Time of possession — 4th (32:53)
- Turnover differential — 24th (-1)
- Total offense — Tied-12th (321.0 YPG)
- Scoring offense — Tied-11th (21.0 PPG)
- Passing offense — 2nd (273.7 YPG)
- Sacks allowed — Tied-20th (8)
- Running offense — 32nd (47.3 YPG)
- Third down offense — Tied-11th (40%)
- Red zone offense — 85.7% (N/A)
- Total defense — 19th (311.7 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 30th (25.3 PPG)
- Passing defense — 28th (235.0 YPG)
- Sacks — Tied-12th (8)
- Running defense — 7th (76.7 YPG)
- Third down defense — 15th (35%)
- Red zone defense — 77.8% (N/A)
- Time of possession — 8th (32:05)
- Turnover differential — 29th (-2)
NOTES AND QUOTES
- Last Saturday, Luck announced his retirement from the NFL, and the Colts put him on the Reserve/Retired List the following day. Other roster moves: the Colts signed free agent safeties Micah Abernathy and Jacob Thieneman and waived safety Matthias Farley.
- Will Chad Kelly get the start at quarterback again for the Colts? Here is head coach Frank Reich on what went into Kelly starting last Saturday against the Bears: “Yeah, not much other than we had kind of planned it – it just turned out that he got the start. But Phil (Walker) had went first in the rotation in the first two preseason games. As you guys know, originally I was thinking Jacoby (Brissett) would play a little bit in that third game. But we had already planned that Chad would come in second because Phil went in second in the previous two games. So when Jacoby didn’t play, we just bumped it up.”