INDIANAPOLIS –The Colts lead Chicago 22-18 in all-time games played between the teams. Chicago served as the Colts' first game as a franchise in 1953, as the Colts won, 13-9, in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.
The teams have met only 10 times since the 1970 Merger. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984, the series has been renewed but six times during regular-season play and once in the playoffs.
The Colts are 11-9 overall in Chicago, including a 2-2 mark in Soldier Field. The last time the Colts visited the Bears in the historic venue was in 2004. That day in Chicago was a potent one for the Colts, a team that finished 12-4 by winning eight of its last nine games.
Colts 41, Chicago 10 – November 21, 2004 –In the midst of earning a perfect record during the months of November and December, the Colts put together an offensive and defensive onslaught in the Windy City.
A relatively quiet opening quarter saw the Colts lead, 7-3, but signs of the fireworks ahead may have been evident. On the club's first possession, quarterback Peyton Manning directed Indianapolis on a 73-yard march that ended with a 14-yard scoring strike to tight end Marcus Pollard.
After a Paul Edinger 51-yard field goal late in the quarter narrowed the margin, the Colts' offense rolled to 20 points on its next four possessions, aided largely by an opportunistic defense.
Operating from a no-huddle attack, Manning hit wide receiver Reggie Wayne on a 35-yard strike three plays into the second quarter for a 14-3 lead. Defensive back Joseph Jefferson forced a fumble on the ensuing play, and Indianapolis was in business at the Chicago 29.
An offense that amassed 6,475 yards on the season was stymied, and kicker Mike Vanderjagt hit a 34-yard field goal for a 17-3 lead 4:04 into the period.
Two possessions later, Chicago handed the Colts possession at its 13 with another fumble. This time, Manning hit wide receiver Marvin Harrison on a 10-yard strike to increase the lead to 24-3 with less than six minutes to play in the half.
The Colts' defense produced another takeaway three plays later as Jefferson swiped a Craig Krenzel pass. Vanderjagt hit a 20-yard field goal in the final minute to give the Colts a 27-3 halftime lead.
Though he did not have a direct hand in the scoring, Colts running back Edgerrin James rushed 15 times for 110 yards in the half. James had five carries for 33 yards on the club's first scoring drive. He peeled off a 35-yard burst in the second quarter on another possession.
The Colts had 232 net yards and 16 first downs in the opening half.
Manning atoned for a half-opening interception on the club's second third-quarter possession. He hit Wayne on a 27-yard touchdown pass 6:34 into the period. James had an 11-yard reception and a 22-yard rush on the 71-yard drive.
Defensive end Robert Mathis had a sack-fumble-recovery of Krenzel on the next possession, and James converted on an 11-yard run seven plays later to extend the lead to 41-3. He had 30 yards on five carries on the drive.
Indianapolis was able to drain 7:50 off the clock in the final quarter on an 11-play drive it relinquished on downs at the Chicago 17. The Bears scored a touchdown on a two-yard pass in the last two minutes for the final score.
James finished with 204 yards on 23 carries, the second-most single-game rushing yards in franchise history. He had 219 yards at Seattle in 2000, and those are the only times a Colt ever topped 200 rushing yards in a contest. It was the 37th 100-yard game of his career.
Wayne led Colts receivers with 106 yards and two touchdowns on his six receptions.
Defensively, the Colts forced five fumbles (recovering three) and had two interceptions.
Ends Dwight Freeney and Mathis each had forced fumbles and defensive tackle Montae Reagor had two sacks. Jefferson forced a fumble and had an interception, and safety Mike Doss also had an interception.
The Colts scored on seven of their first 10 possessions, many times operating on short fields.
Manning was 17-of-28 for 211 yards and four touchdowns, tying Dan Marino's NFL record with his fourth straight 4 -TD game. He moved past the 200-TD career mark of his career in just his 106th game, the second-fastest NFL pace behind Marino (89). (Manning had six touchdown passes the next week at Detroit to break the mark of Marino's that he tied in Chicago, and he had 19 scoring tosses against NFC North opponents during the season.)
Indianapolis and Chicago are non-traditional rivals who happen to be geographic neighbors. The next meeting between the teams proved just how non-traditional the series is – it occurred in Super Bowl XLI in Dolphin Stadium.
Colts 29, Chicago 17 – February 4, 2007 – Super Bowl XLI in Dolphin Stadium –This was not how the script was supposed to go for Colts fans.
The Colts' third trip to a Super Bowl, the first in 36 years, began with a little bit of adversity before things eventually turned around.
Bears wide receiver Devin Hester took the opening kickoff back 92 yards for a touchdown. The game was 14 seconds old.
The damage did not stop there as quarterback Peyton Manning threw an opening-drive interception.
However, like it had during the playoffs against Kansas City, Baltimore and New England, the Colts' defense rose to the occasion, forcing a three-and-out by the Bears near midfield.
Manning and the offense bounced back. Indianapolis converted a pair of third downs through the air before facing a third-and-10 from its own 47-yard line.
The offense made it three-for-three as Manning hit a wide-open Reggie Wayne for a 53-yard touchdown. In trying to tie the score at seven, the extra point failed in the rain, and the up-and-down first quarter continued on the kickoff.
Defensive end Robert Mathis forced a fumble on the return that linebacker Tyjuan Hagler recovered, but the Colts gave the football right back as defensive end Mark Anderson recovered a Manning fumble on the next play.
The Bears took advantage with a quick four-play drive that began with a 52-yard run by Thomas Jones. The drive was finished off by a Mushin Muhammad four-yard touchdown reception as the Bears took a 14-6 lead 10:26 into the game.
Starting a drive on the last play of the quarter, Indianapolis moved 47 yards and kicker Adam Vianteiri added a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
The Colts' defense forced another three-and-out, and the club took possession at its 42. Manning hit wide receiver Marvin Harrison for 22 yards, then tight end Dallas Clark for 17 yards. From the Chicago 11, it was time for running back Dominic Rhodes to make his impact in Super Bowl XLI.
On a third-and-two from the Bears' 11-yard line, Rhodes ran for three yards, then capped off the drive with two more carries, the final one a one-yard burst to give the Colts their first lead of the evening, 16-14.
The Colts never would trail again the rest of the season.
With a 16-14 to open the second half, the Colts made sure to get off to a much better start in the final 30 minutes.
A 13-play drive to begin the third quarter led to a field goal of 24 yards for Vinatieri. Indianapolis led, 19-14, with 7:34 elapsed in the period.
The third field goal of the evening, a 20-yarder for Vinatieri, came on the club's next drive, giving the Colts a 22-14 lead with 3:16 to go in the quarter.
Two straight Colts drives reached the Chicago six- and two-yard lines. The Colts had the lead and momentum, but it still was an eight-point margin.
Following the field goal, the Bears showed no quit as a short kickoff and a penalty set up the Chicago offense at the Colts' 40-yard line.
Indianapolis held strong and Bears kicker Robbie Gould booted a 44-yard field goal to bring the Bears to within 22-17 as the teams headed into the final quarter.
It would be the Colts defense once again that made the game-changing plays over the final 15 minutes.
On a first-and-10 from the Chicago 38-yard line, cornerback Kelvin Hayden intercepted Rex Grossman and returned the theft 56 yards to cap the scoring at 29-17. The Chicago native was able to stay in-bounds after the leaping grab, and he weaved his way past Bears defenders and Colts blockers, somehow managing to dive into the end zone to complete the play. The clock showed 11:44 left to play.
Safety Bob Sanders added another interception on the following Chicago possession, and any hope for a comeback seemed to dwindle.
With 5:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Colts stopped the Bears on a fourth-and-nine at midfield.
Rhodes and the offense then burned a little more than three minutes off the clock to help ensure the title. Rhodes finished the game with 113 yards on 21 rushes.
Fellow running back Joseph Addai added 10 catches and 143 yards of total offense to help a passing game that was stymied by rain throughout the entire game.
The Colts defense allowed just 10 points on the evening and forced four turnovers. For the playoffs, the Colts defense held three of their four opponents to 10 points or fewer.
Manning won the MVP honors, and the Colts gained their first World Championship since Super Bowl V.