INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts improved to 3-1 on the year Sunday with their 19-11 victory over the Chicago Bears in their 2020 Week 4 matchup at Soldier Field.
It was another dominant defensive effort for the Colts, who held the previously undefeated Bears (3-1) to just 28 total rushing yards on 16 carries (1.8 avg.), the fewest rushing yards allowed by an Indy defense since Sept. 27, 2009, against the Arizona Cardinals (24); it's only the 10th time in franchise history that the Colts have held an opponent to 28 rushing yards or less. Chicago, in all, had just 269 total net yards of offense on the day.
The Indy offense had its own struggles at times against a stout Bears defense, but would at least end four drives with field goals and do just enough to come away with a third straight win.
"Great team win," head coach Frank Reich said. "That's what we just talked about in there (the locker room): coming on the road, coming up here to Soldier Field against an undefeated team and in their place, we wanted to come in here and play good in all three phases and felt like this was — we didn't play perfect, but we played good."
Here are the FIVE THINGS LEARNED from Sunday's victory over the Bears:
» STUFFED: One of the main storylines heading into Sunday's game was how Nick Foles was going to be making his first start at quarterback for the Bears after replacing Mitchell Trubisky in the second half last week against the Atlanta Falcons and leading Chicago to a dramatic come-from-behind victory. But the Colts' defensive focus remained first and foremost on stopping the run, which would free up the back end to make some plays in the passing game when needed. That plan worked to perfection on Sunday, as the Bears couldn't even muster two yards per carry on the ground, with starter David Montgomery finishing with 10 carries for 27 yards. Foles, meanwhile, could never get anything going through the air, as he was picked off once by rookie safety Julian Blackmon and was able to convert just 4-of-14 opportunities on third down. "We feel that we have to control the game," said linebacker Anthony Walker, who finished with a team-high 11 tackles on Sunday. "Up front we have to stop the run and we have to be able to run the football. Our job is to stop the run, so you make a team one dimensional, have to beat you throwing the ball, that's tough on them. So we feel that we're able to stop the run and allow the D-line to eat on third down and we feel that we have the cover guys to get the job done and we'll be successful."
» BLACKMON SHINES: Perhaps one of the more remarkable parts about Sunday's win over the Bears was that the Colts' defense played so well as a whole without an abundance of splashy plays. Indy had three interceptions and forced a safety in each of its last two games heading into Sunday's game, but would log just one sack and one interception on Foles in this Week 4 matchup. But that doesn't mean there weren't standout defensive performers for the Colts, and once again it was the rookie safety Julian Blackmon who found himself near the top of the list. In his second-career start, Blackmon was credited with one tackle, one interception — the first of his career — and three passes defensed, a couple of which he jarred loose with bone-crunching hits. The Colts raved about Blackmon's ability to always be around the ball coming out of Utah, and through his first three NFL games that's certainly proven to be the case. "Very excited about Julian's progress physically, mentally, in every way in our scheme, just the way he is in the huddle, his presence," Reich said. "You feel the confidence from him, he's making plays, he's playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of conviction right now and I just think that it will keep getting better. So it really adds a lot to our defense."
» TOUGH SLEDDING: The Bears' defense came to play, too, on Sunday, making things difficult at times for Philip Rivers and the Colts offense, which had just 289 total net yards of offense on the day, as Philip Rivers completed 16-of-29 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown, while Indy ran the ball 38 times for 103 yards for an average of 2.7 yards per carry. While the Colts did see improvements on third down on Sunday (8-of-19 conversions; 42 percent), they struggled to score touchdowns as they got closer to the end zone, as Indy converted just 1-of-4 red zone trips into touchdowns and was 0-for-2 in scoring TDs in goal-to-go situations. Reich, though, isn't too concerned about the offense moving forward. "We've got to get better," Reich said. "They're a good defense. They schemed us up a couple times. … I'll go back and look at the film and we had a hundred yards rushing or whatever we did and I think we left some out there. So I'm not concerned. I know how good our offensive line is. We just got to keep working at it."
» 'SPECIAL' TEAMS: You want to set the tone from the start? How about blocking a punt on your opponent's opening drive? That's exactly what rookie linebacker Jordan Glasgow did, as he was able to dive all-out to get a hand on Pat O'Donnell's first punt of the day, which was downed at the Indianapolis 47-yard line. Six plays later, Philip Rivers found Mo Alie-Cox for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Colts a 7-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Colts' special teams units, as a whole, were on point once again on Sunday, as Indy not only constantly won the field position battle and didn't let dangerous Bears returner Cordarrelle Patterson get any daylight whatsoever, but rookie Rodrigo Blankenship nailed all four of his field goals, which ended up being the difference in an eight-point road victory. "Rob was 4-for-4 in field goals, made some plays," Reich said. "We're going up against the best returner in the league. We get a couple tackles inside the 20, so great job by our special teams unit."
» NOTES OF INTEREST:
— The Colts have held their last three opponents to 11 points or less. The last time Indianapolis did that was from Weeks 15-17 of the 2013 season.
— Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship became only the third rookie in franchise history to have two games with four or more field goals converted.
Click here to check out more stats and notes from Sunday's win over the Bears, courtesy of Colts Communications.
Colts fans can catch the re-air of Sunday's Week 4 win over the Chicago Bears on WTTV4.2 this Wednesday at 8 p.m. presented by POWERHOME SOLAR.