Bears Offense Lives Up To Hype, Rout Colts 41-21
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 10, 2012 4:00PM
For the first five minutes of Sunday's season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Bears fans feared that the revamped offense couldn't live up to the hype. Quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked for a 14-yard loss on their first play from scrimmage. On the team's next possession, Cutler's first down pass was picked off inside the Bears own five-yard line and returned by Jerrell Freeman for a quick pick six that gave the Colts an early 7-0 advantage.
After that, the team Bears fans hoped for started showing signs of life and ultimately exploded for 428 total yards on their way to a 41-21 victory over Indianapolis.
Following the Colts' defensive score, the Bears' offense mounted an 80-yard, 12-play drive—assisted by two pass interference calls against the Colts—to knot the score. Matt Forte broke open runs of 32 and 15 yards to help move the ball down to the one-yard line before Michael Bush punched it in for the TD.
By the end of the first quarter, Cutler finally found his groove and the offense began chewing up yardage. Brandon Marshall caught a 3-yard touchdown pass to complete an 11 play, 84-yard drive that put the Bears ahead for good. An Andrew Luck pass intercepted by Tim Jennings set up a Robbie Gould field goal and gave the Bears a 17-7 lead before a Colts TD cut the lead to three. However, the Bears offense responded with a touchdown of their own highlighted by an Earl Bennett catch that moved the Bears to the one yard line before Bush rushed for another score, giving the Bears a 24-14 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Bears extended their lead with a quick drive capped by a Forte touchdown, followed by a field goal after the Colts fumbled the kickoff. Less than five minutes into the second half, the Bears extended their lead to 20. The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth, with the Colts driving downfield for a score before the Bears struck back. Cutler hit rookie Alshon Jeffery on a 42-yard bomb to cap the Bears' scoring on the day.
Cutler finished the afternoon completing 21 of 35 passes for 333 yards and two TD passes to go along with that early interception. Having completed one of his first 10 passes, Cutler hardly missed after those early struggles. He connected with six different receivers, five of whom caught passes for 20 or more yards. Brandon Marshall lived up to the hype, catching nine passes for 119. Jeffery caught three for 80 yards. Matt Forte caught three passes for 40 yards to go along with his 80 yards rushing, for a total of 120 yards from scrimmage. Michael Bush proved his talent for goal line scores while carrying 12 times for 42 yards. While Cutler was sacked on the first play from scrimmage of the season, he was only sacked once more in the game as the line overcame early issues.
On defense, the Bears showed Colts rookie Andrew Luck just how much faster the game is in the NFL. Luck was sacked three times (twice by Henry Melton) and was picked off three times, twice by Tim Jennings. Brian Urlacher did play, recording two tackles before spending much of the second half on the sidelines. Urlacher was none too pleased, but with a short week leading up to Thursday night's match-up in Green Bay, Lovie Smith was smart to give his starters a rest given the team's second half lead.