Too Many Mistakes Prove Costly Against Bears, Manning Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Peyton Manning saw it pretty simply.
The Colts did a lot of things during the 2008 regular-season opener they don't usually do and the Chicago Bears did exactly what they do when they're playing well.
One result was the Colts made too many mistakes.
The other was they lost the game.
"What the Bears did is how they usually win – they created turnovers," Manning, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback, said after the Bears beat the Colts 29-13 in the first regular-season game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night.
The Colts, who have been one of the NFL's best teams in turnover differential since Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy's 2002 arrival, did not force a turnover, and the one they committed proved very costly.
"Coming into every game, you want to get turnovers and not turn over the ball," Colts safety Bob Sanders said. "That's one of the main things we'll definitely to look at.
Late in the third quarter, the Colts had cut a 15-6 halftime deficit to 15-13 and had possession at their 16.
On 2nd-and-10, Manning threw a short pass to eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who was stripped of the ball by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs picked up the ball at the Indianapolis 21 and returned it for a touchdown.
"It was disappointing," Manning said. "I felt like I was starting to get into it at the start of the second half. I thought we had a little bit of something going there at the beginning of the half with the touchdown."
Manning said he considered the safety a turnover, as well as a 4th-and-1 opunity the Colts failed to convert in the fourth quarter.
"That's something we thrive on not doing," Manning said. "When you turn the ball over against a team like the Bears, it's a credit to them for creating those and it's also our fault for giving them to them."
With just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter, Bears defensive end Marcus Harrison sacked Colts quarterback Peyton Manning for a 10-yard loss to the Colts 2. On the ensuing play, Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye tackled Colts running back Joseph Addai for a safety and a 12-6 Bears lead.
Following a free punt, the Bears drove 55 yards for a field goal and nine-point halftime lead they never fully relinquished.
"It doesn't matter whether it was the first game or not," Colts running back Dominic Rhodes said. "It was their first game, too. I think there was maybe a little rust, maybe we didn't concentrate. It could be a whole lot of things.
"I know for a fact we didn't play our best ball. We didn't do what we were supposed to do and that's execute and play Colts ball. It just didn't happen tonight."
Said Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, "Just turnovers and big plays. It's the NFL and you can't have that happen and expect to win. But, my hat goes off to the Bears. They played great. They had a great game plan coming into the game and they stuck to it."
SATURDAY, POLLAK OUT: As expected, three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday was among the seven players declared inactive by the Colts shortly before kickoff.
Saturday, who sustained a knee injury in a preseason game against Buffalo on August 24, was one of two offensive linemen declared inactive. Rookie guard Mike Pollak (knee) also was inactive.
The Colts' other inactives:
Cornerback Dante Hughes, wide receiver Pierre Garcon, tight end Tom Santi, defensive tackle Daniel Muir, defensive end Marcus Howard and defensive lineman Curtis Johnson.
RICHARD STARTS: With Saturday missing a start for the first time since 2004, rookie Jamey Richard started at center for the Colts.
Richard, a seventh-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, played between two other players who did not start at their position for the Colts a year ago.
Third-year veteran Dan Federkeil, who played 10 games in the last two seasons, started at right guard and Charlie Johnson – a third-year veteran who started 10 games at tackle last season – started at left guard.
"I thought Jamey played well in there," Dungy said. "We didn't have much leakage in the middle."
ZERO FOR TWO: Dungy challenged two critical calls on Sunday night, neither of which were overturned.
In the first half, he challenged a ruling that running back Joseph Addai had been tackled in the end zone for a safety.
In the second half, wide receiver Marvin Harrison fumbled after catching a pass over the middle from quarterback Peyton Manning. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs returned the fumble 21 yards for a momentum-changing touchdown.
Dungy challenged that, too, but – as was the case with the Addai call – the replay official upheld the ruling on the field.
"I don't think they could have overturned either one of them based on what you saw on the video," Dungy said.
CLARK, ADDAI LEAVE: Running back Joseph Addai left the game with a head injury in the second half and did not return, and tight end Dallas Clark also left the game with a first-half injury and did not return in the second half.
"Dallas was not able to return," Dungy said. "We don't know the extent of it. He was trying to keep himself loose and play, but we weren't able to get him back. We'll see how that is tomorrow (Monday)."
HOW THEY SCORED
BEARS 07 08 07 07 – 29
COLTS 03 03 07 00 – 13
COLTS 3, BEARS 0
Adam Vinatieri 39 FG, 5:52 remaining first quarter. Drive: 11 plays, 59 yards, 5:05. Key play: Marvin Harrison 19 pass from Peyton Manning on 1st-and-10 from Colts 32.
BEARS 7, COLTS 3
Matt Forte 50 run (Robbie Gould kick), 4:59 remaining first quarter. Drive: Three plays, 54 yards, :53. Key play: Garrett Wolfe 17 kickoff return to Bears 46.
BEARS 7, COLTS 6
Vinatieri 34 FG, 9:38 remaining second quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 66 yards, 4:04. Key play: Anthony Gonzalez 20 pass from Manning on 2nd-and-3 from Bears 42.
BEARS 10, COLTS 6
Gould 41 FG, 4:43 remaining second quarter. Drive: 10 plays, 43 yards, 4:55. Key play: Desmond Clark 20 pass from Kyle Orton on 3rd-and-6 from Bears 49.
BEARS 12, COLTS 6
Safety, Adewale Ogunleye tackles Joseph Addai in end zone, 4:05 remaining second quarter.
BEARS 15, COLTS 6
Gould 25 FG, :00 remaining second quarter. Drive: 10 plays, 55 yards, 3:59. Key play: .
BEARS 15, COLTS 13
Reggie Wayne 6 pass from Peyton Manning (Vinatieri kick), 9:18 remaining third quarter. Drive: Seven plays, 52 yards, 3:47. Key play: Two 14-yard passes from Manning to Wayne on back-to-back plays gives Colts 1st-and-10 Bears 19.
BEARS 22, COLTS 13
Lance Briggs 21 fumble return (Gould kick), 1:52 remaining third quarter.
BEARS 29, COLTS 13
Jason McKie 1 run (Gould kick), 8:56 remaining fourth quarter. Eight plays, 48 yards, 4:46. Key play: Clark 26 pass from Orton on 3rd-and-1 from Colts 27.