Colts Quarterback Looks Sharp in First Preseason Action
Earlier this week, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said there were certain things he wanted to get out of Thursday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
And although one of those things was most certainly a win—something the team did not get in the Colts' 38-7 loss—Caldwell did get something he wished for.
After missing most of training camp and the first three weeks of the preseason with a hamstring injury, Caldwell said Jim Sorgi needed to get some "good, quality work" in against the Bengals before the regular season started.
The Colts' backup quarterback got just that.
Starting in place of Peyton Manning, who sat out the game, Sorgi played the entire first half, completing 11-of-19 passes for a game-high 119 yards and a touchdown pass for a 94.0 passer rating.
"He hasn't had an opportunity to play much and he engineered a nice drive and did a very good job," Caldwell said. "He was one of the real bright spots."
Rather than looking hesitant in his first action of the preseason, Sorgi looked confident in the pocket, even rushing for 10 yards. His touchdown pass came midway through the first quarter to cap off a 72-yard drive in which he completed five of his six attempts.
On 3rd-and-3 from Cincinnati's 22 yard-line, Sorgi threw down the right sideline to wide receiver Taj Smith, who eluded a Bengal defender and sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game, 7-7.
Caldwell said it was valuable for the team's backup quarterback to experience "live action" before the regular season started.
"It was important not necessarily in what we thought about him, because we always knew what he could do and he has demonstrated it time and time again, but it was good for him to get an opportunity and get a little work because he hasn't had much this preseason," he said.
Sorgi's return was ultimately overshadowed by a night riddled with too many turnovers (three), opposing rushing yards (296) and mental mistakes.
"We did get some things accomplished, we just didn't perform the way we like to," Caldwell said.
Also returning for the Colts Thursday night was kicker Adam Vinatieri, who was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List.
Vinatieri converted an extra point and just missed a 48-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
"The key is kicking as much as you can without overdoing it," Vinatieri said. "You want to do as much as you can to get your timing back and get sharp again."
Vinatieri said he was eager to get some playing time before the Jacksonville game.
"The season starts now, so I wanted to get out there even if I wasn't perfect," he said.
• Rookie defensive back Jacob Lacey made the defensive play of the night when he intercepted a pass from Cincinnati's Jordan Palmer with 13:50 left in the second quarter.
• Colts running back Chad Simpson made a case to be the kick returner Caldwell and the team's coaching staff has been looking for. Simpson returned six punts Thursday night, one of which was for 45 yards and gave Indianapolis the ball at midfield. He finished with 174 all-purpose yards.
• Smith's touchdown highlighted a productive night from the first-year receiver out of Syracuse. Against Cincinnati, Smith reeled in four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
• Tight end Jacob Tamme continued his impressive preseason play with four catches for 35 yards Thursday night. "I'm trying to be the guy who can go in and do whatever the team needs me to do and play different positions like the tight end does in this offense," Tamme said after the game. "I always have work to do, but I feel like I'm improving in a lot of areas."