Bengals beat Colts 35-7 in game devoid of starters

Indianapolis Colts running back Zurlon Tipton (37) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers (53) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Indianapolis Colts running back Zurlon Tipton (37) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers (53) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton practiced some drop kicks in shorts before the game, the most activity he got all night.

Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Danieal Manning (38) is congratulated by Sam Montgomery (70) after returning an interception for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Danieal Manning (38) is congratulated by Sam Montgomery (70) after returning an interception for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

And he was in the majority when it came to spending time standing around.

Rookie Jeremy Hill ran for 70 yards and was Cincinnati’s top receiver as well on Thursday night, leading the Bengals to a 35-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a game devoid of starters.

Dalton and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck sat it out, as did most of the starters for both teams. Dalton didn’t even pull up his black socks, leaving them around his ankles on an 85-degree evening — he knew there was no point.

Cincinnati (2-2) pulled off three big plays in the second half against the backups of the Colts (0-4).

Dane Sanzenbacher returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown. Safety Danieal Manning intercepted Chandler Harnish’s pass and ran it back 33 yards for a score. Cobi Hamilton turned a short catch into a 50-yard TD.

Hill, a second-round pick who backs up Giovani Bernard, carried 20 times and had a team-high six catches for 70 yards. He hurt his right elbow late in the first half but returned. End Margus Hunt had three sacks.

Harnish played the entire game and went 13 of 24 for 102 yards with five sacks. He threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Da’Rick Rogers, who kicked the ball in celebration and was penalized.

Colts linebacker Robert Mathis didn’t play, heading quietly into his four-game suspension. Mathis was suspended for breaking the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances and can’t be with the team for the next month. He said he took a fertility drug to help his wife get pregnant.

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict sat out a day after he signed a three-year contract extension that will pay him a maximum $20.05 million through 2017. Burfict strained his right hamstring on Sunday during a preseason game in Arizona.

The game drew 42,020 fans — leaving more than 23,000 empty seats — and was sloppy with so many backups on the field.

On one play, Harnish overthrew receiver Donte Moncrief so badly that the ball flew behind the helmet of Rogers, who was getting ready to block on the play. The Colts had a fourth-and-2 at the Cincinnati 10-yard line and went for it, only to have Zurlon Tipton tackled in the backfield.

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