In a game that nobody outside of Bears fans thought Chicago had a realistic chance of winning the Bears went into Lucas Oil St The Big Spaghetti Warehouse and manhandled the Indianapolis Colts.
Can I have some breadsticks?
This was an all around good job by the Bears. Every aspect of the team contributed one way or another. Let's go through the numbers and see what all went right and what might not have.
Kyle Orton came out in his first game as the new Bears starter and played the perfect game for what the Bears planned on. He was efficient, smart, he moved well and didn't turn the ball over, but let’s not sell Orton short. While his numbers weren't anything special totaling 150 yards on 13/21 passing, he made a number of big throws. The two most obvious were the ones to Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark to setup scores.
Orton used the time he had well, he got out of the pocket when he needed, threw the ball away when called for and did not force his throws.
B+ - The game will come when Orton is called on to do more, but the game plan for this game only called for certain things from Orton and he achieved them.
Matt Forte made old what's his name, a distant memory real quick like. Forte ran hard, he ran smart and he made some really good moves. Forte had 123 yards on 23 carries for a 5.3 average including the big one for a 50 yard TD. There were a number of other carries where had he not be brought down by a last second shoestring tackle he would have gone for more.
Forte also proved to be a big weapon in the receiving game. His numbers aren't spectacular only gaining 18 yards on 3 catches. This was more about the timing of the catches. He picked up first downs and proved a safe place for Orton to dump the ball.
Kevin Jones had 35 yards on 13 rushes.
A - There was some yardage left on the field, but Forte kept the chains moving, something we haven't seen a lot of recently. Jones had some quality runs, but showed a lack of vision at times. He made some bad decisions in his running.
Seven receivers tallied 150 yards. These guys were not called on to make many plays or go very far. Olsen's longest pass play was for 29 yards, but really given the field position they had that was all that was needed.
B - They had a few drops, but also came through with some key catches. Aside from Olsen and Clark's catches, Lloyd, Booker, Hester and Davis all had catches to keep drives moving.
The game plan against the Colts is the same for most teams. It is to keep their offense off the field and limit their chances. The Colts did have some chances and they missed some opportunities, but with an effective run game and some timely catches the Bears tallied very few 3 and outs. At one point they were 8/13 on 3rd down conversions. They ate up clock when needed.
A - Against the Colts you cannot expect to shut them down. They have the best QB in the league (Brady's out, so he no longer counts) and too many talented players at skill positions to shut out, but the Bears offense took advantage of their opportunities and grinded down the clock.
The defense worked the bend; don't break theory almost to perfection. The Colts moved the ball a lot between the 20s, but their offense bogged down in the Red Zone. The Bears kept the Colts receivers in front of them and did not give up many yards after the catch. The longest Colts completion was for 20 yards.
After signs of potential early the Bears stuffed the Colts run game. The Colts tallied 53 total yards. They stopped Colts runners on more than one big 3rd or 4th downs.
Everything the Bears weren't in the pre season they were here. In a 5 questions session with the Colts blog, I said this when asked what the Bears need to do to win:
The Bears need to come hard and often. We have the horses to do it. We have big time speed and power on our defense. I don't know how easy it is to rattle Manning, but I have seen him get a little flustered when he is consistently pressured. I hate to say go man to man in the secondary, because that could be scary with your receivers, but bring the lumber early. Corner blitzes, linebackers, safeties whatever you have bring it, get in his face.
Oh yea and we need to learn to tackle.
I'm not saying I knew something that anybody else didn't, but the Bears sure made me look good here. The Bears were coming hard on almost every play. I haven't seen the Bears defense this creative in some time. Almost every play somebody non defensive line player was on the line showing blitz. Sometimes they came, others they didn’t', but somebody always come. The Bears sacked Manning twice, but they were in his face all night. The Bears controlled both lines all night long. I haven't seen frustrating in Manning's eyes like that since come games with the Patriots years back.
The Bears proved to be opportunistic as ever. Not so much as in turnovers, though Tillman did strip the ball from Harrison and Briggs ran it in for the TD, but the Bears took advantage of what was put before them. When the Colts went for an ill advised 4th down the Bears stuffed them. When the Colts were deep in their own territory the Bears sacked Manning on the 1 and then got the safety the next play. Tackling was also much improved.
B - Despite the good play all around there was some missed tackles and Nathan Vashar got used a number of plays. He was juked by the Colts run game a couple of times and looked lost and slow on a few shots the Colts missed downfield.
A - Again, bend, don't break. Give Manning all the 5-10 yard plays he wants. It kills the clock; he gets frustrated and gives our guys more opportunities to get after them.
Let's get the biggie out of the way first. Devin Hester is either getting too big of a head or is getting restless not getting kicked to. When he brought the ball out of the end zone after stalling the Colts special teams were still coming hard and still heading toward him. He must not have even checked the whole field, because he didn't even see the guy who tackled him. Gould went 2/2 and Maynard had 5 punts for an average of 35.6.
C- - Gould was solid as usual, and the Bears coverage was very good, but Hester's bone headed play and a few not so great punts from Maynard bring the overall performance down.
When was the last time you felt the Bears knew what they need to do and knew how to do it on both sides of the ball? Outside of a few points where it looked like the Colts were coming around the Bears dominated the game. The Bears only had one obvious miscue or moment of confusion when instead of burning a time out they let the clock run down and ended up with a FG when a TD was a possibility.
We can't get ahead of ourselves. We played very well, but the Colts did shoot themselves in their foot on a number of occasions. They completely misused their timeouts. They challenged plays that they shouldn't have.
But we could not have asked for more. A number of people thought a 0-4 start was a very real possibility. The Bears have gotten off to a great start. There are not many more teams on their schedule who can match the combination of the Colts offense and defense. The Bears need to keep their noses down and continue to improve.