In what was a 35-7 beatdown of the Colts by the Bengals in Cincinnati, the team was able to learn some things. While none of aforementioned pertained to the starters, who didn’t play at all, it was a great opportunity for some of the back-ups to showcase their ability and really make a name for themselves in their last opportunity to do so before final cuts are due on Saturday.
-Pat McAfee: One of the few starters to not get the night off, McAfee had to punt the ball 8 times last night and still managed to boast a 53.5 average. If last night was going to be the trend, the Colts would’ve had to start considering carrying two punters because not only was “The Boomstick” used, he was used too often. Those 8 punts are really all you need to know about how last night went for the boys in blue.
-Zurlon Tipton: With the Top 3 RB’s for the Colts in TRich, Bradshaw, and Herron sitting this one out, it was a chance for Tipton to further his case to make the team. He did pretty well, rushing 7 times for 29 yards, as one of the few brights spots of the offense.
-Josh McNary: Had battled injury previously in the preseason, but he looked like he was 100% tonight. He finished with 7 tackles, 4 of which were solo, and delivered some punishing blows along the way, all over the field.
-Loucheiz Purifoy: The undrafted rookie free agent out of Florida is smooth and athletic, and while he’s still a bit raw as a DB, he showed good coverage. However, what may earn him a roster spot is his special teams return ability, which he demonstrated last night. While he can be a bit wild, he also showed some playmaking ability and versatility is key for those last few roster spots.
-Marcus Burley: He might get caught up in the numbers game at cornerback, which is a shame, because he’s quietly put together a very good preseason for himself when called upon. A former undrafted free agent out of Delaware in 2013 and teammate of Zach Kerr, Burley has played well and did so once again last night, finishing with 7 tackles and having good coverage.
-Jonathan Newsome: Newsome has shown a knack for getting to the quarterback all preseason, and last night was no different. He finished the game with 4 tackles and a QB hit, but his biggest play was a sack. With Mathis sitting the first 4 games out, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Newsome used as a situational pass rusher even in critical game situations early on.
-Da’Rick Rogers: He caught himself a TD on a 12 yard strike from Chandler Harnish, his 2nd TD of the preseason.
Da’Rick Rogers: It was good that he scored, but it was an immature decision to punt the ball after the score in celebration. A lot of people are using this act to demonstrate Rogers’ “character” concerns, but to me, this has more to do with maturity than character. It was a knucklehead decision, and if he ever did that in a regular season game, he might not play forever, but he’s only 23, and Pagano and his staff already gave him an earful.
Offense: It wasn’t all Harnish’s fault, but the offense had trouble sustaining drives and outside its lone scoring drive, it didn’t muster anything all night.
Offensive Line: It gave up 5 sacks, and when Harnish wasn’t running for his life, he was getting hit. With all of the injuries (including losing versatile back-up Joe Reitz to a high ankle sprain), the team even called on Rookie Undrafted free agent defensive end, Tyler Hoover, to play some left tackle for Harnish. Yeah folks, it was that kind of night.