Bears Edge Colts, 27-24, in 2007 RCA Dome Preseason Opener INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts didn’t get exactly what they wanted Monday. What they wanted in their 2007 preseason opener was a victory in a game that featured the teams that met in Super Bowl XLI this past February.
But the Colts did get some things they wanted, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said.
They got good play from several players.
They got a good drive from their starting offense.
And they got physical play from the starting defense.
What they didn’t get yet again was a preseason victory. Instead, the Chicago Bears – the team the Colts beat in Super Bowl XLI last February – beat Indianapolis, 27-24, in the teams’ second preseason game in front of 56,769 at the RCA Dome Monday night.
“It was a situation where I thought we saw some good things, but not enough good things,” Dungy said afterward. “Obviously we still have some work to do.
“It helps that we have two games left to get those bugs worked out.”
The Colts, 0-2 in the preseason, who have the NFL’s best regular-season record since the beginning of the 2005 season, are 1-10 in the preseason in that same span.
They have lost 11 of their last 12 preseason games dating to 2004.
The Colts have two preseason games remaining – at home against Detroit Saturday and at Cincinnati next Friday – before opening the season at home September 6 against the New Orleans Saints.
“It’s great,” Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said. “It’s good to get these preseason games done. I’d rather have them all the same week. At the end of the day, it’s definitely an opportunity for these young guys to get better.”
The Colts’ starters are expected to get their most extensive action of the 2007 preseason against Detroit Saturday.
“I’m excited to go out for three quarters, even though the stats don’t really count,” Freeney said.
Against Chicago, the Colts’ first-team offense had three drives, picking up a first down on the first two, then driving 46 yards on seven plays at the end of the first quarter and start of the second.
The last play for the Colts’ first-team offense?
A four-yard touchdown run by running back Joseph Addai on the first play of the second quarter.
“Hopefully, we can build on some of the momentum that the starters finished the game with,” said Manning, who completed 5 of 8 passes for 61 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions and a passer rating of 85.9.
The Colts, after rallying from a 10-point deficit to tie the game, 17-17, at halftime, fell behind, 27-17, after the third quarter.
Running back Adrian Peterson gave the Bears a 24-17 lead with a 1-yard touchdown run, capping Chicago’s first drive of the half with 10:21 remaining in the third period.
Two plays later, Bears safety Kevin Payne intercepted Colts reserve
quarterback Jim Sorgi and returned it six yards to the Colts 47.
The Bears then drove 30 yards on eight plays, with Nick Novak’s 35-yard field goal with 4:35 remaining in the quarter giving Chicago a 27-17 lead.
A 4-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Josh Betts to reserve wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe pulled the Colts to within three, 27-24, with 2:01 remaining in the game.
The first quarter ended scoreless, as the two teams that played in last year’s Super Bowl couldn’t quite finish drives. That wasn’t a problem in the second quarter.
The Colts took the lead when running back Joseph Addai scored on a 4-yard run with 14:58 remaining in the half. Chicago then scored the game’s next 17 points, taking advantage of big plays on special teams for each score.
The Colts, who allowed Bears returner Devin Hester a 92-yard return for a touchdown on the opening play of the Super Bowl last February, allowed a 72-yard return by Danieal Manning in the second quarter Monday night.
That set up a 32-yard field goal by Bears kicker Robbie Gould.
The next series ended with a Colts punt, which Hester returned 50 yards to set up a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Rex Grossman.
“We’ve got to improve that,” Dungy said of the special teams coverage.
The Bears’ second touchdown was set up by a Colts special teams error, too. Returner T.J. Rushing fumbled the kickoff after Grossman’s touchdown, and cornerback Ricky Manning recovered.
Bears quarterback Brian Griese passed nine yards to Bernard Berrian four plays later for a 17-7 Chicago lead.
With 3:02 remaining in the second quarter, Colts backup quarterback Jim Sorgi passed nine yards to reserve wide receiver Aaron Moorehead to make it, 17-14, Bears.
Sorgi then drove the Colts 39 yards on seven plays in the half’s final minute, with kicker Adam Vinatieri’s 36-yard field goal with no time remaining in the quarter tying it, 17-17.
Chicago drove 41 yards on the game’s first series, a drive that reached the Colts 25 before defensive end Robert Mathis sacked Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, forcing a fumble that Colts rookie defensive tackle Ed Johnson recovered.
Later in the quarter, Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson intercepted Bears quarterback Rex Grossman and returned it four yards to the Bears 17. The Colts’ ensuing drive ended when quarterback Peyton Manning threw incomplete to Addai on 4th-and-goal from the Bears 1.
“That was disappointing,” Dungy said.
The Colts drove 54 yards on eight plays on their ensuing drive to take the lead, but the Bears scored 27 of the game’s next 37 points to take control.
“We didn’t quite make the plays we needed to make to win,” Dungy said. “There were some disappointing things we could work through, but all in all, we saw some good things, some good performances, and we can build on that.”