Bengals Drop Preseason Finale, 27-26

Colts Bengals Football
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Mason Schreck runs the ball in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

The Bengals' failure to run out the clock with a 26-14 lead early in the fourth quarter allowed quarterback Phillip Walker to throw two touchdown passes in the final six minutes. The last one went to old friend Cobi Hamilton on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 72 seconds left for the Colts' 27-26 victory.

The Bengals finished the preseason 3-1.

That's because they were so decimated at safety that Miami of Ohio wide receiver Jared Murphy was playing there and the Colts went right at him. Murphy had to make a game-saving tackle when Walker hit a 39-yard pass on fourth-and-sixth to tight end Ross Travis at the Bengals 25.

Before a crowd of 39,520, Jeff Driskel seemingly won the back-up quarterback job staking them to a 20-7 half-time lead before handing the ball to rookie Logan Woodside in the second half. Woodside, the seventh-rounder from Toledo, hit six of his first nine passes for 80 yards to lead them to two field goals for a 26-14 lead with about 13 minutes left in the game.

Images from the fourth and final preseason game in 2018.

But the Bengals were keeping more tabs on injuries than points as they prepare for the final roster cut on Saturday and even though they sat the front end of the roster they still took some nicks on the back end with a heart-breaking twist in the final 2:38.

With the Colts driving for the go-ahead score, rookie safety Trayvon Henderson capped off an impressive training camp when he dropped into coverage and picked off Colts quarterback Phillip Walker at the Bengals 20. But when Henderson returned the ball to the Colts 33, he appeared to suffer what could be a devastating non-contact knee injury.

Henderson, undrafted out of Hawaii, had been locked in a battle with Brandon Wilson for the fourth and final safety spot. Or, if he'd been impressive enough, it may have forced them to keep five cornerbacks and five safeties. But as they carted Henderson off the field, it looked like he wouldn't be figuring in the weekend's moves.

After quarterback Matt Barkley (knee) and H-Back Cethan Carter (shoulder) left during the first half, two guys that look to have roster spots exited during the second half when rookie running back Mark Walton (shoulder) and veteran cornerback KeiVarae Russell left. But Russell only needed an I.V.

Running backs Brian Hill and rookie Quinton Flowers combined to rush 50 yards on nine carries in the third quarter as Hill makes things interesting in the cut-down talks. He's been their most prolific rusher of the preseason (he came in averaging 5.4 yards per his nine carries), but he'll have a tough time moving out Tra Carson after an impressive first half. Carson and Walton look to be backing up Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.

Late in the third quarter, two draft picks that figure to have roster spots on Saturday, came up with three straight nifty passes defensed. Linebacker Malik Jefferson, the third-round WLL linebacker from Texas who had a fourth-down stop in the first half, went stride-for-stride with tight end Ross Travis on a deep pass down the left sideline and although he didn't turn his head back to the quarterback he had his hand up all the way.

Then Darius Phillips, the fifth-round cornerback from Western Michigan, got in the way of wide receiver Seantavius Jones on a deep out and then Jefferson dropped back in a zone down the middle to make a leaping defection of a deep ball headed to old friend Cobi Hamilton.