BEARS DEFEAT COLTS IN OPENER, 41-21

Colts cannot continue fast start and drop season opener 41-21 at Soldier Field.

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INDIANAPOLIS – An early interception return for a touchdown looked to be a promising afternoon at Soldier Field for the Colts, but that momentum would not last as the Bears knocked off Indianapolis, 41-21, in the season opener.

The Bears ran for three and passed for two touchdowns while forcing five Colts turnovers.

Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman got things started early for the Colts with a four-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving Indianapolis a 7-0 lead with 11:23 in the first quarter.

From there, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler bounced back from a 1-of-10 start to help the offense score 17 straight points.

The Colts would answer with their first offensive touchdown of the season as running back Donald Brown scored from 18 yards out to cut the lead to 17-14 with 3:17 left in the first half.

However, the Bears would not look back from there, driving 72 yards in 2:33 on the next drive and scoring on a Michael Bush one-yard run.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 37-yard field goal just prior to halftime and the Bears led 24-14 at intermission.

Any hope for a second half comeback was made even more difficult as the Bears scored 10 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw his first NFL touchdown pass in the fourth quarter on a six-yard toss to wide receiver Donnie Avery.

Luck finished the day 23-of-45 for 309 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Wide receiver Reggie Wayne had nine catches for 135 yards and tight end Coby Fleener had six grabs for 82 yards in his NFL debut.

Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis had two sacks with the defense forcing one turnover.

SCORING RECAP

FIRST QUARTER (11:23 remaining)

Making his first career NFL start, linebacker Jerrell Freeman intercepted Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and returned it four yards for a touchdown. Freeman stepped in front of a pass intended for Bears running back Matt Forte. The Bears were backed up on their own goal line thanks to a great special teams punt cover by Colts safety Joe LeFeged. Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri converted the extra point.

Colts 7, Bears 0

FIRST QUARTER (7:19 remaining)

The Bears answered the Indianapolis score with an 11-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by running back Michael Bush. Forte had two carries for 47 yards on the drive as the Bears converted two third-and-10s during the drive. Bears kicker Robbie Gould tied the score at seven.

Colts 7, Bears 7

* *

SECOND QUARTER (10:33 remaining)

Another long drive for the Bears with a 95-yarder finished off on a three-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The touchdown was set up on the previous play as Cutler, under duress, found Forte for a 31-yard reception. Midway through the drive Bears wide receiver Devin Hester had a 29-yard reception on a second-and-20. Gould added the extra point.

Bears 14, Colts 7

SECOND QUARTER (5:32 remaining)

Gould booted his first field goal of the season making a 35-yarder to give the Bears a two-score lead. The Bears received possession when former Colts cornerback Tim Jennings intercepted a deep ball by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The drive started off with Cutler once again finding Marshall, this time for a gain of 24 yards. Bears 17, Colts 7

SECOND QUARTER (3:17 remaining)

The Colts running game caught stride with running back Donald Brown scoring on an 18-yard run. Earlier in the drive Brown also had another 18-yard carry. The five-play, 77-yard drive was aided by a pair of spectacular catches by Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Vinatieri hit the extra point.  Bears 17, Colts 14

SECOND QUARTER (0:44 remaining)

Answering the Colts score, Bush leaped over the line from one-yard out to cap the first half scoring. Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett set up the touchdown with a 25-yard gain that put his offense down to the one-yard line. After starting 1-of-10 passing, Cutler finished the half with 228 yards and hit 14 of his last 17 throws. Gould made the extra point.  Bears 24, Colts 14

THIRD QUARTER (11:52 remaining)

Forte and the running attack dominated the Bears opening drive and he finished off the drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Bush ran for 20 yards on the opening play of the drive. Hester's 23-yard punt return gave the Bears prime field positioning at their own 45-yard line. Bears 31, Colts 14

THIRD QUARTER (10:02 remaining)

Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Bears took advantage of the short field with a 26-yard field goal from Gould. Bears linebacker J.T. Thomas forced the Brazill fumble and cornerback Kelvin Hayden recovered it at the Colts 12-yard line. Bears 34, Colts 14

* *

FOURTH QUARTER (10:20 remaining)

Luck's first career touchdown pass came via a four-yard toss to wide receiver Donnie Avery. Facing a fourth-and-10 during the drive, wide receiver Kris Adams made a 13-yard grab over the middle. Wayne made three catches on the drive and has nine for 135 yards on the afternoon. Vinatieri added the extra point. Bears 34, Colts 21

* *

FOURTH QUARTER (6:08 remaining)

Cutler threw a 42-yard touchdown to rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to spoil any comeback attempt for the Colts. The Bears appeared to be content to run the football and milk the clock before Cutler went over the top of the defense with a beautiful pass to Jeffery. Gould added the extra point. Bears 41, Colts 21

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