Preseason Week Four Game Notes: Colts 10, Bengals 27

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If you got bored during the game tonight, it's ok - we did too. But we still managed to make some observations about the fourth preseason game that saw the Colts without any Luck.

The Colts looked terrible tonight.  Just downright bad.  But don't worry (and don't tweet, Mr. Irsay) - it was only the fourth preseason game, the one that really doesn't matter!

The only person it really matters for is the backups trying to make the roster, and really, those are the only players that played tonight for the Colts.  And they didn't do much to impress.

Still, in the midst of my napping, I managed to jot down a few notes and observations from the game, and I also tried to look at where different players stand in regards to the roster. So all you need to know about the fourth (and final) preseason game is below, and just a disclaimer - there's not much need to know info in here.

  • Lee Ziemba looked bad.  He won't make the team.
  • Vick Ballard was one of the only starters to see any time on offense (in fact, he may have been the only one).  He made a nice play on a screen pass on 3rd and 9, breaking a tackle to get the first down.  He got one series, carrying the ball 3 times for 7 yards and catching 2 passes for 16 yards.  He's going to make the team.
  • Just another note on Ballard: don't read too much into him playing tonight.  Really, don't.  He was one of only 3 healthy running backs for the team; he's a young guy who can handle the 5 extra touches; and he's going to be a part of a running back by committee, even though he's going to be the official "starter."
  • Khaled Holmes started at center and Hugh Thornton started at right guard.  That's the combination that many fans wanted to see all along as starters, and that's the combination that may have been on the bench tonight instead of Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn had the two rookies not missed all of camp with injuries.  This was the first action for Holmes and the second game for Thornton, and I liked what I saw from both of them.  Unfortunately, the line was bad overall so they were just caught up in the middle of it.  But yeah, they both will make the roster.
  • I think that tight end Dominique Jones actually has a much better shot at the roster than many people think.  I'm not sure whether he ends up making the team or not, but he played well again tonight (catching 2 passes for 21 yards and a touchdown), finishing an impressive preseason overall for him.  With the big questions at depth for receiver and with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener both currently recovering from injuries (they are expected to be ready week one, though), Jones may be a guy who ends up making the roster.
  • Pat McAfee played well tonight.  Of course he did.  No surprise there.  He punted the ball well and even made a special teams tackle, shoving the Bengals' returner out of bounds around midfield.  I think McAfee will make the roster as well...
  • Delano Howell played very well tonight, concluding the preseason the very same way he began it - impressively.  He recorded 7 tackles tonight.  I still think he makes the roster, although Larry Asante may give him quite a competition after tonight.  Asante led the team with 13 tackles and recorded a sack and a tackle for loss.  He played a very good game.  It will be hard for the team to keep both of them, although, really, why not?  I said that Joe Lefeged needed to have a big game, and he didn't.  He didn't even play.  Why can't the team keep both Howell and Asante?  They absolutely can.  And they really might.  It will be interesting to see what they do.
  • Josh Gordy didn't look that good tonight.  I doubt he makes the team.
  • Mario Harvey followed up a very impressive game three with another very impressive game, notching 10 tackles (including a tackle for loss) and a forced fumble.  I had him on my latest 53-man roster projection and think he just improved his case tonight.  I think he makes the team.
  • Bjoern Werner recorded his first sack of the preseason.  Ricardo Matthews followed that up with a sack the very next play.  Werner will absolutely make the roster, although, as has been the case all preseason, he wasn't overly great tonight.  Matthews is a much more interesting discussion on whether he makes the team or not, and I'm going to say that he doesn't make it.  There's just too many other defensive linemen ahead of him.
  • Chandler Harnish can't make this team, right?  I saw absolutely NOTHING this preseason or training camp from him to make me even want the Colts to keep him one bit.  He got over 3 quarters to play tonight and managed to throw for only 55 yards.  55?  Really?  He completed 8 of 13 passes, but he also threw a terrible interception and had a play where a sack was totally his fault.  I have heard that the Colts want to keep him because they're afraid of another team signing him off of their practice squad, but really, I don't think that's much of a concern.  If another team signs him, big deal.  They can replace him.  But they cannot waste a roster spot on him.  He needs to be cut, signed to the practice squad, and then go from there.
  • Adam Vinatieri had a very impressive preseason.  He hit a 43 yard field goal tonight to extend his preseason total to 6-for-6, but then missed his last attempt of the game, a 52-yard try.  He finished the preseason 6-for-7 kicking and showed us all that the oldest player in the league still has a lot left.
  • Pat Angerer saw quite a bit of playing time tonight for a starter (he was still in there on the team's third defensive "drive" that lasted only one play), and he needs it after missing the first two games.  He will definitely make the team and he very likely will be starting week one.
  • Cassius Vaughn had a terrible play where he couldn't cover a fade route.  He turned his head around and then completely just misread the ball, looking silly while Marvin Jones caught the 7 yard pass for a score.  Here's a picture of the bad play, from Kyle Rodriguez:

  • Lawrence Guy, like Ricardo Matthews, might face an uphill climb to make the roster considering the other defensive linemen ahead of him, but I think, based on the overall body of work this training camp and preseason, Guy has a better shot than Matthews.  But he's still borderline to make the roster, and even if he does make it, he'll probably turn out to be nothing more than just another guy.
  • I hate halftime interviews with coaches while they're going into the locker room.  Hate them.  Really, really hate them.  But then add to that interview the question of what Chuck Pagano wants to see in the next 36 hours when he still has 30 minutes left in this game?  Now that's just plain dumb.  C'mon, man.
  • The Colts had four defensive penalties on the first drive of the second half.  Four.  On one drive.  Yikes.
  • The Colts couldn't cover over a Bengals receiver over the middle all night.  It seemed open almost every time they threw there.
  • Kavell Conner left the game with an ankle injury and was officially listed as questionable to return, although it's almost a given that no one returns to a preseason game, especially the fourth one.  Conner is a valuable guy to the Colts, because if Pat Angerer struggles or gets hurt (unfortunately a real possibility), Conner will be the one to step in and start.
  • Kerwynn Williams easily had the best game of his preseason.  He carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry with a long of 23.  He also returned 3 kicks, averaging 21.7 yards per return.  If there was any doubt entering tonight's game about whether or not he would make the team (I really didn't have any doubt, but some did), it was cleared up tonight.  He secured himself a roster spot, and rightfully so.
  • I found it funny tonight how people kept getting confused thinking that Daniel Adongo was in the game.  Adongo, if you forgot, was the South African rugby player the Colts signed this offseason who hasn't seen time in preseason or even camp for the most part.  And he wears the same number as Dominique Jones, who happened to be involved in the game a lot tonight.  Despite my best efforts on twitter, people continued to get confused, and it all culminated in ESPN's score alert after Jones caught a touchdown.

The final roster cutdown to 53-men is due this Saturday.  It's the hardest cut day of the year, and it won't be any different for the Colts this year.  We have a good idea of how it will turn out, but there are still a few questions.  Keep it here for the latest on the Colts roster moves.  And remember, that there's only ten more days until the Colts' kick off the regular season.  Almost there.
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