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Luck-less Colts' quarterback situation still unclear

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver JoJo Natson, right, fumbles as he is hit by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Bene Benwikere (23) during the first half of a preseason game in Indianapolis Thursday. (By The Associated Press)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver JoJo Natson, right, fumbles as he is hit by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Bene Benwikere (23) during the first half of a preseason game in Indianapolis Thursday. (By The Associated Press)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Roster uncertainty looms for Indianapolis

Friday, September 01, 2017 12:15 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — Phillip Walker's fourth-quarter, 29-yard touchdown pass to Justice Liggins was enough to give the Colts a 7-6 win over the Bengals in a fourth and final preseason game full of position battles.

With less than 48 hours until rosters will be cut to 53, both Cincinnati and Indianapolis had key spots undecided. Each team walks away with a lot of uncertainty still remaining.

Walker got Indianapolis its second win of the preseason, but the focus was on Scott Tolzien and Phillip Morris — two quarterbacks fighting for the right to be Andrew Luck's backup and the de facto Week 1 (or longer) starter. Luck is recovering from January shoulder surgery that's left him on the physically unable to perform list throughout training camp. While he is expected to be removed from the PUP list by Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline, his status for the Sept. 10 season opener at the Rams remains in doubt.

Tolzien and Morris each led the Colts on two drives before Walker entered, playing the entire second half and finishing 2 for 9 with one interception and the game's only touchdown. Tolzien completed 4 of 5 for 24 yards; Morris hit on 2 of 5, including a 51-yard long ball to JoJo Natson.

Bengals kicker Randy Bullock is trying to shake mishaps from a season ago and cement his spot in Cincinnati. Bullock missed what would have been a winning kick against Houston in 2016, and on Thursday night, whiffed on a potential 47-yard go-ahead kick with 1:50 left in regulation. But Cincinnati's Jake Elliott didn't do himself any favors, either. Despite the distance, Elliott missed a would-be 60-yarder as time expired.

Cincinnati started AJ McCarron, ensuring QB Andy Dalton a clean bill of health when the Bengals host the Ravens on Sept. 10. McCarron was forced to come back in after his backup, Jeff Driskel, left with a thumb injury. Driskel was 2 of 3 for 21 yards. McCarron ended the night 20 of 30 for 216 yards.

Bengals first-round wide receiver John Ross caught one pass for 6 yards before leaving with a knee injury.

PLAYING IT SAFE

Cincinnati and Indianapolis didn't let most of their starters see the field. Fantasy Football owners can rest easy knowing the Bengals' A.J. Green, Dalton and rookie RB Joe Mixon were just a few of Cincinnati's starters who stayed put on the sideline. Indianapolis Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Frank Gore also didn't see action.

BAD TIMING

Earlier this week the Colts announced that Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis will miss time due to a groin injury. That opened the door for second-year safety T.J. Green, Indianapolis' 2016 second-round pick still trying to solidify a spot in the Colts' secondary after being moved from safety to cornerback during training camp. However, Green (shoulder) did not dress, missing his opportunity to prove he is a viable fill-in for the injured Davis.

UP NEXT

Bengals: Host Baltimore on Sept 10.

Colts: Visit L.A. Rams on Sept. 10.

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