Colts outclass Bears in one-sided affair

Chicago - The Bears needed a perfect performance to beat the Colts and came away with a 41-10 defeat in their poorest showing under Lovie Smith.

In previous weeks, big plays by the defense gave an inept offense a shortened field to work with, but that was not the case against the high-powered Colts.

"They dominated us in all three phases of the game, offensively, defensively and special teams," Smith said. "It was a game where we had some opportunities early, we missed some plays and from there it snowballed."

It was more like an avalanche.

In playing just three quarters, Peyton Manning completed 17-of-28 for 211 yards and four touchdown passes.

Manning had time in the pocket all day and when he needed a little help Edgerrin James obliged.

In the third most productive day by an opposing back against the Bears, James rushed for 204 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. It could have been more, but like Manning, he sat out the final period.

Indianapolis kept the defense guessing with a balanced attack, which tallied 486 yards of total offense (275 rushing and 211 passing) and in the process snapped the Bears three-game winning streak.

The defense had plenty of help in giving up a season-high 41 points.

Craig Krenzel, who had 103 of his 175 yards passing in the final meaningless drives at the end of each half, turned the ball over four times with two fumbles and two interceptions. In total, the Bears five giveaways led to 20 points.

Thomas Jones return to the lineup didn't give the Bears the jumpstart they hoped for after the running back had one carry over the previous three games. He gained 54 yards on 18 carries.

Trying to surprise the Colts defense, the Bears came out throwing three consecutive times to open the game. However, the plan backfired and quickly turned into one of five three and outs on the day.

Indianapolis came into the matchup with the NFL's highest rated passing game, but gave the ball to James on four of their first five plays. Manning then turned to the playaction pass to beat the Bears defense. He capped a 10-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to TE Marcus Pollard.

Throughout the day the Bears couldn't capitalize on Indy mistakes, while the Colts took advantage of the numerous errors made by the home team.

Midway though the first quarter, Lance Briggs dropped a sure interception that could have went for a touchdown and tied the game.

"I made a good read, made a break on it, had it in my hands and I was thinking touchdown and couldn't hold onto to it," Briggs said. "Just as an emotional team you make a big play and everybody rallies around it. It (would have been) a spark."

The offense needed a blowtorch. On the unit's only sustained drive of the day, they failed to move the chains on first and five and had to settle for a 51-yard field goal by Paul Edinger.

On the ensuing kickoff Adrian Peterson forced KR Dominic Rhodes to fumble, but Todd Johnson tried to pickup the ball and run instead of falling on the potential turnover deep in Indianapolis territory.

The drive ended with another Manning touchdown pass, this time a 35-yarder to Reggie Wayne.

In a 14-3 hole early in the second quarter the running game was abandoned, which brought about three turnovers over the course of four drives.

A Bobby Wade fumble allowed the Colts to tack on a Mike Vanderjagt 34-yard field goal.

Krenzel mishandled the ball trying to hand it to Jones. Two plays later Manning hit Marvin Harrison for a 10-yard touchdown.

Following a Krenzel interception, the Colts capped a 20-point second quarter with Vanderjagt's second field goal.

"I just need to take better care of the football," Krenzel said. "It was obviously something that was a big problem today. Against a team like the Colts with their offense, turning the ball over like that you're going to be hard pressed to win a game or stay in a game when things like that happen."

Nathan Vasher came up with the only turnover of the day for the Bears defense. The rookie corner stopped the Colts from scoring on their opening possession of the second half when he picked off Manning going to Brandon Stokley in the end zone.

However, the shift in momentum was brief.

A three and out by the offense was followed by an efficient four-play, 71-yard drive that included a 22-yard run by James, who also had gains of 40 and 35. Manning's fourth touchdown and second to Wayne made it 34-3 midway through the third quarter.

In a game that the running game was supposed to carry the offense, Krenzel was sacked four times. Anthony Thomas didn't get a carry after rushing for 280 yards in the previous three games.

"We're always going to play the guy that we think gives us the best chance to win," Smith said. "Once you get into the game things change. You have a game plan that you would like to use as far as game time, but that will change as we get into the game and that's what happened with him."

The Colts had a chance to hit the half-century mark, but pulled most of their skill players after an 11-yard touchdown run by James at the end of the third quarter.

Trailing 41-3 entering the fourth quarter it seemed like an opportunity to get Chad Hutchinson some work on the field.

However, Smith disagreed and stuck with Krenzel for the entire game, as he dropped to 3-1 as a starter.

"I didn't feel like it at the time," Smith said. "We wanted to get Craig Krenzel as much time as we could. He's a young quarterback still developing."

The Bears got their only touchdown of the day in garbage time, when Krenzel hit Dustin Lyman on a two-yard pass with 1:37 left in the game.


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