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Bears Lose to Colts in Super Bowl XLI

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 5, 2007 2:08PM


There was no late-night shopping for championship T-shirts on the way home from our Super Bowl party. We had our intended course home charted out — one that would give enough time for the delivery trucks to drop off the first of the Super Bowl Champs apparel by the time we passed the Sports Authority on the way home from a party in the 'burbs. But there was no need to stop, because the Indianapolis Colts defeated our Bears 29-17 in Sunday night's rain-soaked Super Bowl XLI.

The game started out so well for the Bears, too. We won the coin flip. We chose to receive. And then Devin Hester took the opening kick-off back 92 yards for a touchdown. Fourteen seconds into the game, and we were already on top 7-0. A certain blowout!

The Colts scored on a 53-yard TD catch by Reggie Wayne but then blew the extra point. Bears still had the lead, 7-6. Could that point be the difference maker?

A drive punctuated by a 52-yard run by Thomas Jones resulted in the touchdown from Rex Grossman to Muhsin Muhammad and a 14-6 lead. We were again feeling pretty good about this game.

Unfortunately, that was about the last of those feelings. A field goal and a touchdown in the second quarter gave the Colts a 16-14 lead at the half — and it remained that close only because Adam Vinatieri missed a gimme field goal as the half expired.

The Colts added two field goals to take a 22-14 lead, before Robbie Gould closed the gap with a field goal of his own. At the end of the third, the Bears were still only down by five despite being clearly outplayed on both sides of the ball.

The final quarter saw the return of "Bad Rex" as Grossman threw two interceptions, the first one run back 56 yards for a touchdown. That capped the scoring at 29-17, as Grossman was unable to mount anything resembling a comeback down the stretch.

In reality, the score and box score for the most part fail to show how thoroughly the Colts beat the Bears on Sunday night. The Colts controlled the ball on offense for 38:04 and marched the ball up and down the field almost at will, while the Bears were never able to get their offense moving at all. Much of their total yardage came on just a couple plays, and the few times they could move the ball, a fumble or interception ended the drive. They did lose Cedric Benson to injury early on, but would having him have made a difference?

The fact that the Bears held the Colts to field goals on a couple of their scoring drives, and that Vinatieri missed one he shouldn't have, were the only thing that kept the Bears in the game as long as they were in it. This game could have been an absolute blowout.

The Colts were the demonstrably better team on Sunday night. We congratulate them on their Super Bowl victory. We're also glad that we will never have to hear the media talk about Peyton Manning's legacy, inability to win the big game, etc., ever again. On the other hand, how many more commericials with him as the star will we have to endure next football season?

As for the Bears' next season, we'll probably have to wait and see whether this team can hope to try for the Lombardi Trophy again in Super Bowl XLII or not. There are questions about the coaching staff, and whether some members may be lured elsewhere for bigger bucks. There are the free agents — most importantly, Lance Briggs. Can the Bears afford to pay him what he's worth? And how would his departure hurt the defense? Perhaps most importantly, the Bears need to really take a look at the QB situation and determine whether Rex Grossman is the QB of the future. We really don't think he is — while he plays as well as anyone at times, he seems to lose focus way too often. Even during the Super Bowl, he seemed to zone out at times, including one of his fumbles on the snap that turned into a sack for a big loss. If you can't get your head into the game in the Super Bowl, then you just don't have what it takes to win it all. But the answers to these questions will no doubt take weeks or month to answer.

For more, here's complete Super Bowl coverage by the Tribune and Sun-Times.

Photos via AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian and AP Photo/Amy Sancetta.