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Quick hits: Evolution; Porter only serious nick; Manning makes bid; McCalebb bolts

Posted Aug 28, 2014

There were preseason finales where Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has sat his quarterback. Three before this one. And there were finales where he worked the starters for only a series, like last year. And where he mixed and matched his lineups. But Thursday night's 35-7 victory over the Colts is the first time he's sat that many. All but rookie center Russell Bodine sat.

Which tells you Lewis feels really good about the No. 1s. They didn't need a final tuneup and he didn't want to tempt fate.

"You know, we’ve evolved a lot in my time here," Lewis said. "We came into this last game, and we put guys out there who were fighting for jobs and who are going to have opportunities to likely be backups on this team and at some point be pressed into duty. To give them the playtime tonight really — it satisfied us to do that." ...

A relieved Lewis said the Bengals suffered one serious injury Thursday night as he looked ahead to the Sept. 7 regular-season opener at Baltimore.

It belonged to star-crossed linebacker Sean Porter, the 2013 fourth-rounder who just can’t stay healthy. Porter played in just one preseason game last year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury and didn’t play in one this year until Sunday night in Arizona because of a knee problem. He played well enough that the Bengals were so excited about seeing him play most of the game Thursday that they started him at WILL linebacker in place of Vontaze Burfict.

Now they still don’t know what they really have with cuts less than 48 hours away when he had to leave halfway through the first quarter…

You see all kinds in preseason finales. Danieal Manning, the Bengals’ nine-year veteran, has played in a Super Bowl and started for two playoff teams, but he says he played in his first ever preseason finale Thursday. And he played a lot besides his 33-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the second half.

“He never should have thrown it,” said Manning of third-stringer Chandler Harnish’s against-the-grain wounded duck…

Cornerback Onterio McCalebb, one of the fastest men to ever participate in the NFL scouting combine in 2013, ended his second preseason with the Bengals returning his first kick of this summer. And he came within the kicker of breaking a 59-yarder for a touchdown. Colts punter Pat McAfee, their 240-pound kickoff man, hauled him down because of the angle on the sidelines

“It’s just like Coach Simmons said,” said McCalebb of special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons. “He said the kicker is one of the best tacklers on their team. I tried to get around him.

“I’ve been waiting to return one all year,” McCalebb said. “I was just thinking to run as fast as I could.” …

There were two TD celebratiions Thursday night. Colts wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers got penalized for kicking the ball in the stands after scoring Indy's lone TD. Bengals rookie running back Jeremy Hill, whose eight-yard TD run was later ruled a seven-yard run because his knee hit the half-yard line, got a few pats on the back for celebrating his score by acting out taking a selfie.

"It just popped up. I was having a little fun out there," Hill said. "The fans came out, they had a good time, they seemed like they were involved in the game...That motivates me all the time. I just try to connect wuth them and have fun out there while you can. You don't know howe long this opportunity is going to be."

 

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