Starting QBs don’t play as Bengals romp past Colts

Published 2:45 am Friday, September 4, 2009

CINCINNATI — At least Peyton Manning dressed for the dreary occasion.

Unlike two years ago, when the Indianapolis quarterback came to Cincinnati and watched the final preseason game wearing a polo shirt and jeans, he was in uniform on the sideline Thursday as the Colts found out about his backup. Jim Sorgi gave a reassuring performance, throwing for a touchdown before the reserves took over, the game degenerated and the Bengals rolled to a 38-7 victory.

These two teams have ended the preseason together for the last seven years, watching their backups slog it out. Neither Manning nor Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer left the sidelines Thursday.

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Sorgi missed most of training camp with a pulled right hamstring. Rookie Curtis Painter impressed in his absence and raised questions about which one of them would be Manning’s backup. In his only preseason appearance, Sorgi went 11 of 19 for 119 yards with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Taj Smith.

‘‘I thought it was pretty solid,’’ Sorgi said. ‘‘I got a little winded out there but all in all, I thought I saw everything real good and got us into the right plays. The hamstring responded pretty well tonight.’’

First-year coach Jim Caldwell liked what he saw.

‘‘He hasn’t had much playing time,’’ Caldwell said. ‘‘I thought he found his way out there. He put a pretty good game together and showed some flashes of what he can do.’’