INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Chicago rediscovered its winning formula Sunday night.
Play tough defense, control the ball and make no major mistakes.
No, it wasn't enough to win a Super Bowl 19 months ago against Indianapolis, but it was the perfect scenario to ruin the Colts' grand reopening of the new Lucas Oil Stadium 29-13.
Chicago's win ended Indy's remarkable streak of 21 consecutive victories in September and October, the league's longest run since the Green Bay Packers won 23 pre-November games from 1928-32. It's also the first time since 2004 the Colts won't start at least 7-0.
How did the Bears do it? With an old style and a new look.
Matt Forte, the first Chicago rookie to start at running back since Walter Payton in 1975, ran for 123 yards – 50 on a first-quarter TD run in which he broke one tackle and then outran Bob Sanders, last season's Defensive Player of the Year, to the end zone.
Meanwhile, two-time league MVP Peyton Manning wasn't himself. He burned timeouts to save the play clock and didn't have that precision timing with his receivers after missing six weeks of practice. It was Manning's first game action since having surgery to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee in mid-July.
And the Colts defense, which allowed the fewest points in the NFL last season, couldn't get off the field.
Heck, head coach Tony Dungy even lost two replay challenges.
The combination led to a predictable result.
Chicago's defense limited the Colts to 53 yards rushing, which forced Manning to win it with his arm.
Problem was Manning was just 30-of-49 for 257 yards with one TD, and instead of scoring touchdowns inside the red zone, the Colts settled for field goals by Adam Vinatieri on their first two trips inside the Chicago 20.
It wasn't what Indy fans expected from what is traditionally one of the league's best offenses.
But the Bears followed the game plan perfectly.
Forte erased an early 3-0 lead with his TD burst, and when the Colts closed to 7-6, Orton led the Bears on a drive that ended with the first of Robbie Gould's two field goals.
The second came as time ran out in the first half, after Orton hooked up with Greg Olsen on a 29-yard completion with 10 seconds left.
But the Colts nearly recovered in the second half, thanks in part to Devin Hester.
The Pro-Bowl returner took the opening second half kickoff about 7 yards deep in the end zone and waited a few seconds before coming out. He was tackled at the Bears 3.
When the Colts got the ball back in good field position, Manning converted with a 6-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne – making it 15-13 with 9:18 left in the third quarter.
That's when the Bears took control.
Charles Tillman slapped the ball away from Marvin Harrison at the Colts 21, Lance Briggs scooped up the fumble on a bounce and rumbled into the end zone. And Jason McKie scored on a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter to close it out.
BEAR REPORT: The only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears
Bears Dominate Colts in Season Opener
Bear Report Top Stories
Bears 2017 Camp Preview: Tight EndWith Chicago Bears 2017 Training Camp less than a week away, we take a closer look at each tight end the team will bring to Bourbonnais, including a pair of new faces who could…
Bear ReportYesterday at 11:22 AM
Bears 2017 Camp Preview: Offensive TackleWe take a detailed look at the Chicago Bears offensive tackles heading into 2017 Training Camp, where a set of serviceable, albeit unspectacular, set of starters top the depth…
Bear ReportFriday at 10:03 AM
Bears 2017 Camp Preview: Interior OLWe dive deep into the interior of the Chicago Bears offensive line heading into 2017 Training Camp, which features a starting trio that is considered one of the best in the NFL, if…
Bear ReportThursday at 10:40 AM
Bears 2017 Camp Preview: Wide ReceiverWe dive deep into the Chicago Bears receiving corps heading into 2017 Training Camp, a fresh-faced unit relying on two unproven youngsters to carry the heavy load.
Bear ReportWednesday at 10:20 AM