ReFo: Colts @ Bengals, Preseason Week 4
This wasn’t the most thrilling game in the world as relatively few expected contributors saw the field and the Bengals ran away with a 35-7 victory. A glance at the box score shows the two teams combining for 266 yards passing and the Colts’ offense gaining fewer than 200 yards in total in this wrap-up-the-preseason display.
We did, however, get an opportunity to see players making their final bids for roster spots, or perhaps successful (or unsuccessful) auditions for other teams. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts.
Indianapolis Colts – Performances of Note
Ricky Jean-Francois, DL: +1.5
Breakdown: It took just 12 snaps for the Colts to see what they needed to see from Jean-Francois, who was sent to the bench midway through the first quarter. Those 12 snaps included a pair of tackles (one held to a short gain) and a near pressure rushing the passer as he beat right tackle Will Svitek.
Signature Play: The aforementioned stop in the run game came at 11:12 of the first when Jean-Francois spun off the block of the tight end to grab the running back for a 1-yard gain.
Matt Hall, OT: -5.8
Breakdown: Hall ended the preseason the way he started it, looking overmatched on an NFL field. The lowlights against the Bengals included two sacks and four hurries (one nullified by penalty) allowed in pass protection and an equal number of plays on which he was beaten in the run game. One of many examples is 4:01 of the fourth quarter when he provided little resistance to the inside rush of Dontay Moch.
Signature Stat: The 6-foot-9 undrafted free agent ended the preseason with a cumulative grade of -15.1, the second-lowest rating among all offensive linemen.
Jonathan Newsome, OLB: -3.2
Breakdown: Unlike Hall, Newsome had played reasonably well in the team’s first three preseason games. The fifth-round rookie didn’t help his cause to make the roster, however, with his worst performance thus far. There were positives, including a sack, a QB hit, and a few nice plays in the run game. But he largely negated those with little impact in his other 18 snaps rushing the passer, a dumb penalty, and missed tackle.
Signature Play: At 7:54 of the fourth, Newsome disrupted a pair of blocks to help stop a run for no gain, beating the block of the fullback and occupying the pulling lineman.
Cincinnati Bengals – Performances of Note
Margus Hunt, DE: +4.5
Breakdown: A stellar end to a stellar preseason for Hunt, who was largely unblockable in his 34 snaps, benefiting from his matchup with Hall. Hunt led the way for the Bengals with five stops in run defense, but really made his mark rushing the passer as he notched three sacks and four hurries. None were better than the play at 5:08 of the third when he bullied the tackle, driving him back and beating him inside for the sack.
Signature Stat: Hunt led all 4-3 defensive ends for the preseason with a Pass Rushing Productivity rating of 17.7.
Victor Hampton, CB: +2.6
Breakdown: Known for his aggressive style of play in college at South Carolina, Hampton doesn’t appear to have changed much in the few short months he’s been in the NFL. That aggressiveness was on full display against the Colts, as the corner blew up three screen passes. He stopped one for a loss, one for a short gain, and stopped the third by knocking the ball out of the receiver’s hands as it arrived.
Signature Stat: Hampton allowed just 4 total yards on three catches in 39 snaps in coverage in the preseason, though he benefited from a pair of drops.
Jeremy Hill, RB: +0.0
Breakdown: With the release of Benjarvus Green-Ellis, it looks like the Bengals will turn to Hill to complement Gio Bernard at running back this season. If the game against the Colts was any indication, Hill is up to the task. In this one, he carried the ball 20 times for 90 yards and added six catches for 70 yards. He’ll want to work on his pass protection, though, as he allowed a sack on one of his four pass blocking snaps.
Signature Play: At 6-foot-1 and 238 pounds, Hill has the body type of a bruiser. But as he showed off on several plays, including 9:50, 4:50, and 4:24 of the second quarter, he complements that size with some impressive speed.
PFF Game Ball
Margus Hunt earns this one for filling up the stat sheet and making life rough for the Colt QB. If this preseason is any indication, Hunt is primed to break out in his second NFL season.
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