Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Harnish Makes His Case ; COLTS 20, BENGALS 16 Last Pick of Draft Takes Best Shot at Landing Indy Roster Spot

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Harnish Makes His Case ; COLTS 20, BENGALS 16 Last Pick of Draft Takes Best Shot at Landing Indy Roster Spot

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Mr. Irrelevant might have earned himself an NFL roster spot with a win that didn't even count. At least it's given him a chance.

Chandler Harnish, the last pick in this year's draft, threw a 42- yard touchdown pass to Dominique Jones with 6:54 left in the game and gave the Colts a 20-16 victory over Cincinnati in Thursday night's preseason finale.

Now comes the hard part - determining if Harnish will be one of three quarterbacks on Indianapolis' opening day roster.

"Chandler's played well all along," coach Chuck Pagano said, dropping no hint of his thoughts heading into Friday's cuts. "He's had some rough starts when he gets in there, but once he calms down, he's been able to move this team and be productive."

Harnish got his most extensive action of the preseason because the starting quarterbacks - and the backups - for both teams made early exits.

Top overall draft pick Andrew Luck ran only three official plays before following the script and heading to the sideline for good. He was 1 of 2 for 8 yards, easily his lightest work day since finishing classes at Stanford and returning to the Colts' complex for minicamp in early June.

Andy Dalton lasted twice as long as Luck, but left earlier than anticipated, too, after giving the Bengals a real scare.

On Cincinnati's sixth offensive play, the young offensive line broke down, allowing Robert Mathis to hit Dalton on his throwing arm. Dalton stayed down briefly at first, then got up, walked toward the sideline and dropped to the ground again where trainers appeared to look at his right elbow.

The team said it was a bruised arm. Fortunately for the Bengals (2-2), the injury wasn't as bad as it looked.

"It was a stupid thing where my hand went a little numb, kind of like getting hit in the funny bone," Dalton explained. "I wish it didn't happen, but it did. I'll be ready to go (for the season opener)."

With the starters out and the second-string guys seeing limited action, too, Harnish and the other players got a chance to prove they could play.

At times, Harnish dazzled the home-state fans with his strong throws. At other times, Harnish struggled mightily. …

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