The Indianapolis Colts defense came into Sunday’s contest with the No. 1 defense in points allowed and yards allowed, and they performed up to that level in a dominant 19-11 victory over the Chicago Bears — a game that really wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Indianapolis held the Chicago offense to just 269 yards, making the Bears one dimensional as they were held to just 28 yards rushing (1.8 yards per carry).
Nick Foles had a rough first start with the Bears, completing 26 of 42 passes for 249 yards with a touchdown and an interception, averaging 5.93 yards per attempt. The Bears offense failed to record a touchdown until late in the game, when the Colts defense went into soft coverage after controlling the ball midway through the fourth quarter to build a 19-3 lead. Philip Rivers and the Colts offense made enough plays to win, as a 13-yard pass from Rivers to Mo Alie-Cox on the Colts’ first possession gave Indianapolis the lead for good. Rivers, who entered the game leading the league in completion percentage, finished 16 for 29 for 190 yards with a touchdown. The Bears defense held the Colts to 289 yards and 4.3 yards per play, but Indianapolis did not turn the football over — which ended up being the difference in a defensive battle.
Indianapolis went into the game last in the league in third down conversion percentage (30.3%), but went 8 of 19 on the day (42.1%). The Colts were just 1 of 4 in the red zone, settling on three field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship to slowly extend their lead throughout the game. The Colts defense continued to pressure Foles — who had some inaccurate passes throughout the course of the game.
Why The Colts Won
This wasn’t too hard to figure out: defense. The Colts defense was excellent throughout the game, holding the Bears to 1.8 yards per carry and 4 of 14 on third down. Chicago had the ball for 27 minutes, yet could only put up 11 points. Foles had a few inaccurate passes, but the Colts cornerback group of Rock Ya-Sin, Kenny Moore, and Xavier Rhodes each had an important pass breakup in this game and took away the deep pass from Foles — limiting the Bears offense in the process. Chicago entered the game averaging 368 yards per game on offense, but had only 269 Sunday with seven possessions under 20 yards. That’s the Colts’ No.1 ranked defense in full force.
Why The Bears Lost
The Bears’ rushing performance was abysmal. They finished with just 16 carries for 28 yards, throwing the ball 72.9% of the time. That’s not a formula for success no matter if Foles or Mitchell Trubisky is the quarterback. Chicago rushed for over 130 yards in each of its first three games, so Sunday’s performance was very disturbing. The Bears miss Tarik Cohen and need a No. 2 running back — not Corrdarrelle Patterson — if they want to have a chance to win the NFC North.
The Bears defense couldn’t capitalize on big plays in the first half, even though they played well enough to keep the offense in the game. Khalil Mack will never have an easier interception opportunity than the one he had in the first half. Rivers had a pass tipped that landed in the hands of Mack — who was in coverage. The Pro Bowl pass rusher dropped the ball that would have resulted in a Colts turnover as the Bears would have had possession in Colts territory. Roquan Smith also appeared to pick off Rivers in the end zone with the Bears training 7-3, but he stepped out of bounds when intercepting the pass and the ruling was reversed. Missed opportunities cost Chicago.
Play Of The Game
Allen Robinson scored the Bears’ lone touchdown with 1:41 left and the game out of hand, but this was the most impressive reception of the afternoon. Robinson is lobbying for a new contract from the Bears, and this one may state his case.
Nice throw from Foles to set up Robinson, who finished with seven catches for 101 yards.
“Some fun back and forth. Made it a little bit more like a backyard pickup game.” – Philip Rivers on trash talking with Bears linebacker Roquan Smith before a timeout in the fourth quarter. Rivers was clearly having fun with his team in command of the game.
Decipher what he said below.
The Colts (3-1) will travel to FirstEnergy Stadium and face the Cleveland Browns (3-1), who are off to their best start since 2001. The Bears (3-1) host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) on “Thursday Night Football” this week.