"We need to come out and we need to sustain drives," said QB Craig Krenzel. "We need to put together some 10-, 12-, 13-play drives. We need to convert on third down and get the ball in the end zone and score some points, but we also take some time off the clock as we're scoring."
That has been a rarity in the three games that Krenzel has started and the three that Jonathan Quinn started before that. The Bears have gone three-plays-and-punt on nearly half of their possessions, and that would be fatal against the No. 1 scoring and passing team in the NFL.
"We need to be able to give our defense a rest and put them in situations to play their best," Krenzel said.
Defensively, the Bears desperately need to get pressure on Peyton Manning with the front four, even if they are unable to sack him, which has happened just six times this season. But the Bears have accumulated 13 sacks in the last three weeks and are ranked No. 12 in sack percentage.
If the Bears are forced to blitz linebackers and defensive backs, which they did with success against the 49ers' inexperienced Ken Dorsey, the Giants' immobile Kurt Warner and Titans backup Billy Volek, the fear is that Manning will pick apart the secondary or RB Edgerrin James will have a big day against a defense missing LB Brian Urlacher.
BEARS MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Colts QB Peyton Manning vs. a Bears secondary that has played very well this season but is nevertheless without its best cornerback, Charles Tillman, and Mike Brown, who was the brains of the operation for four-plus seasons until his season-ending Achilles injury in Game 2.
BEARS INJURY IMPACT
Running back Thomas Jones (questionable, sprained toe) practiced Wednesday and expects to start Sunday. "I did pretty much everything," Jones said. "We still have two more days of practice left, but I definitely feel better than last week. It's still a little bit sore."
Linebacker Lance Briggs (questionable, foot) was able to go through most of practice and should start Sunday. Tight end John Gilmore (probable, chest) practiced but was limited. Safety Bobby Gray (questionable, groin) returned to practice on a limited basis. Cornerback Charles Tillman (doubtful, knee) participated in some non-contact work but will not play Sunday.
COLTS GAME PLAN
Keep the offensive flow going and look for continued improvement from the defense is the key for the Indianapolis Colts.
Indianapolis may face its toughest test offensively since the New England game. Chicago's defense is the strength of the Bears' team. The Colts will try to, as always, establish the run game first in order to set up play-action.
Defensively, Indianapolis hopes to put together an improved performance for a third-straight week. No major changes are expected from last week's win against Houston.
COLTS MATCHUPS TO MATCH
--Colts QB Peyton Manning vs. the Bears defense -- Manning is on a roll but he will be tested by a Chicago defense that lives on the big play.
--Bears QB Craig Krenzel vs. the Colts defense - Krenzel isn't spectacular but he is a winner. Undefeated as a starter with the Bears, the Colts hope to rattle him early much like they did Houston QB David Carr last week.
--Colts WR Marvin Harrison vs. the Bears pass defense -- Harrison had just two catches against the Texans, so he would like nothing better than to break out at Solders Field.
COLTS INJURY IMPACT
--OG Rick DeMulling is questionable as he continues to recover from a bruised chest.
--OG Tupe Peko will not play this week due to a right high ankle sprain.
--OT Makoa Freitas injured his back while lifting weights on Monday and is questionable for Sunday.
--CB Nick Harper continues to be bothered by a sore right shoulder. He is expected to play this week.
--SS Mike Doss remains questionable for Sunday's game with a strained groin.
--DE Robert Mathis has been bothered by a strained groin. He is expected to play this week.
--WR Troy Walters is not expected to play this week. He suffered a broken right arm in the second preseason game.
--LB Gary Brackett should be able to play this week despite a sore shoulder.
--LB Gilbert Gardner will not play Sunday due to a strained hamstring.
--CB Joseph Jefferson continues to nurse a sore right knee. He is expected to play Sunday.