Created on Friday, 30 August 2013 Written by JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — A few smooth minutes on the field left Andy Dalton in a good mood.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Dalton completed his only pass and led the Bengals to a touchdown in his only drive — one that took four minutes to finish — and the Cincinnati Bengals ended the preseason with a 27-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
The third-year quarterback wanted a crisp drive to finish the preseason. He got it.
"We did what we wanted to do," Dalton said of the seven-play drive.
"We drove down and scored — had some good runs mixed in there and some conversions on passes. We did what we wanted the first offense to do."
Cincinnati (3-1) has a few decisions left before starting the season, none bigger than picking Dalton's backup.
Josh Johnson followed Dalton for the second straight game and had a solid showing. He led the Bengals to a touchdown and a field goal in three possessions before halftime.
Johnson scrambled twice for 38 yards on a touchdown drive that culminated in his 3-yard pass to Marvin Jones, showing his main advantage over John Skelton in the competition for the backup job.
Overall, Johnson was 7 of 13 for 67 yards with three sacks.
"I feel good," Johnson said. "I feel I've improved weekly on everything I've been asked to do and we've been able to get results on the field. We've been able to put scoring drives together, finish drives.
"But you never know. All you can do is put your best foot forward."
Skelton, who was behind from the start of the competition to replace Bruce Gradkowski because he'd never run a West Coast offense, played the second half and was 6 of 10 for 99 yards with one touchdown drive.
The Bengals played most of their starters on offense and defense for one series only. Dalton's brief appearance ended in Giovani Bernard's 1-yard touchdown run.
The Colts (2-2) rested most of their starters, including quarterback Andrew Luck. He and Dalton joked with each other on the field before the game.
"One of the goals is to come out as healthy as you can and we did," coach Chuck Pagano said.
Matt Hasselbeck started for Indianapolis and led a 12-play drive against most of the Bengals' starters. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 43-yard field goal to complete it. Hasselbeck played two series and went 5 of 9 for 49 yards.
Vinatieri also was wide left on a 52-yard attempt.
Indianapolis' starting defense hadn't allowed a touchdown the past two games. With the play-it-safe approach on Thursday, the results were less pleasing.
"We didn't play very well at all," linebacker Pat Angerer said. "But we'll play better."
The Bengals' starters moved the ball easily against a Colts defense of mostly backups during their one series on the field.
All-Pro receiver A.J. Green, who missed the first three weeks of camp with a bruised knee, played the series and drew an interference penalty from Josh Gordy in the end zone, setting up Giovani Bernard's 1-yard run.
Receiver Brandon Tate made more of an impact as a kick returner. Tate's 51-yard kickoff return set up the touchdown. Tate also had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the previous preseason game at Dallas.
Both teams had reserves get hurt.
Colts inside linebacker Kavell Conner and offensive tackle Emmett Cleary were treated for ankle injuries but returned. Receiver David Reed left with a concussion. Cornerback Daxton Swanson pulled a hamstring and didn't return. Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur dislocated his right shoulder in the first quarter and was taken off the field on a cart. Guard Mike Pollak suffered a knee injury, but coach Marvin Lewis said it wasn't serious.
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