CINCINNATI — Who said a fourth preseason game couldn't be entertaining?
The Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals saw tremendous effort and competition out of their second and third stringers Thursday night, as the Colts escaped Paul Brown Stadium with a 13-10, last-minute victory to end their preseason with a 2-2 record.
All scoring in the game came in the second half, highlighted by an exciting fourth quarter that saw the Bengals jump out to a 10-6 lead with just 1:55 remaining.
But a final nine-play, 75-yard drive by Indianapolis, led by third-string quarterback Stephen Morris, paid off in the end, as Morris found wide receiver Tevaun Smith for a 25-yard touchdown pass on a screen play with 40 seconds left to take their final 13-10 lead.
An interception by the Colts' Chris Milton on the Bengals' final drive sealed the victory for Indianapolis.
With so many storylines — who will make the final roster; how the team will overcome injuries; or just the game itself — check out the Top 10 quotes from the Colts' victory over the Bengals:
• "With the way he has played, it's a discussion that's obviously worthy. He's played extremely well and gotten so much better from OTAs to training camp. He's been outstanding. He's made a ton of improvement. Brian Schottenheimer has done a real good job with those guys. Stephen reported back to training camp with a different mindset and a kind of sense of urgency f or him. He grew up a lot, and it has paid off." — Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, on the play, and growth, of quarterback Stephen Morris this preseason, and if the team would consider keeping three quarterbacks on its Week 1 roster.
• "I'll be by my phone, just waiting to see what happens and go from there. Go into the facility tomorrow, get a good lift, get a good workout in, and go from there." — Colts quarterback Stephen Morris, on his plans for the next 72 hours while the coaches and player personnel staff decide whether or not he makes the final cut for the 53-man roster.
• "It's out of my hands. I can control what I can control. It's in God's hands. Hopefully I'll be here next week. … The coach said I did a great job on special teams and on offense. Like I said, it's out of my hands." — Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers, an undrafted rookie and one of the primary candidates to earn a spot as the team's fifth receiver on the 53-man roster after a solid preseason performance.
• "We're definitely going to push each other. 'Pressure' probably isn't the word to use — say the 'hunger' or the 'anxiousness.' We were all excited to get our opportunity. We are definitely going to push each other and coach each other. Players coach players, and we feed off each other." — Colts running back Jordan Todman, on playing alongside three other running backs on Thursday with the "pressure" of making the final roster.
Photos from the final preseason game of the 2016 season.
• "I have been getting better each day. I'm getting a lot better in practice. I'm getting comfortable in the schemes and things like that. I've got great veterans teaching me a lot of things. I'm real thankful for that, and I've got a great coach." — Colts inside linebacker Antonio Morrison, a fourth-round pick out of Florida this year and one of the top tacklers for the team this preseason, on his development.
• "I've gotten a lot better each day. I would like to say that I didn't make the same mistake twice. Just growing and learning the players and how they play, and how I fit with the defense. … No regrets." — Colts cornerback Frankie Williams, also an undrafted rookie, on how he's developed with more playing time due to injuries at the position.
• "It's a grind, every single day. Those guys give 100 percent every day, and you know you've got to work your tail off every single day. And that's one thing I really took from it, and there's a lot of hungry guys — especially the preseason, there's guys trying to make a team in the NFL, and you can just tell everybody's hungry and that's one thing I really took away from this whole preseason experience." — Colts wide receiver Tevaun Smith, on what he's learned about being a professional football player since signing as an undrafted rookie in May.
• "Yeah, it's an old cliché: 'next man up.' Coach, he's preached that from Day 1. And we were dealt a tough hand from last year when 12 went down — when Andrew (Luck) went down. So we're accustomed to it, we're ready for it, and we're ready for the challenge. Anything worth working for isn't easy, so we understand what we have to do, whether it's my job as a veteran to lead these guys and get them in a routine and know how to prepare their bodies, prepare their minds mentally week in and week out. But I love our young guys — I love where their head (is). They love football; they're passionate about it, and it's a great starting point for us." — Colts inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, on the team being able to overcome injuries across the board the last couple seasons.
• "It's crazy. I mean, it started in college after my sophomore year. It just carried on, and I guess that means, 'Give me the ball.' So hopefully that's coming my way this season." — Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief, asked about the origin of the "Feed Moncrief" saying.
• "It's been fun, I feel like. Just kind of like starting over, seeing different things, seeing different people, different body types in there. Everything is a lot faster, but I feel like I kind of caught the learning curve pretty quick." Colts tackle Denzelle Good, on his transition to guard with the first-team offense in his second year in the league.