Colts Regrouping After Rare Opening Loss

The Indianapolis Colts suffered their first opening-game loss since 2004 and first season-opening loss at home since 1998 when they dropped a 29-13 decision to the Chicago Bears Sunday night. The Colts will have to quickly regroup with a trip to up-and-coming Minnesota coming up this weekend.

"We hadn't one of those (an early-season loss) in a while. We were soundly outplayed and it's disappointing. It's disappointing to have opening night go like that. But I have to give the Bears all the credit. They played well, they played very hard, did the things they had to do to win and didn't do the things that cause you to lose. They outplayed us for four quarters and the score was kind of indicative of how the game went," Colts coach Tony Dungy said afterward.

Antoine Bethea takes down Desmond Clark
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

"What we have to do is make sure we come back to work (Monday) and improve and have a lot better performance (this week against Minnesota). There's not a whole lot we can do about (Sunday's game). It's disappointing to us and we have to rebound."

The 0-1 Colts, who will face the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at the Metrodome, were sloppy on both sides of the ball against the Bears. Physical and mental errors hurt Indianapolis, especially on defense.

"I thought the offense really put the defense in some really tough spots," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "What the Bears did is how they usually win. They create turnovers. And that's something that we've worked on not doing. The turnovers really hurt us. We put our defense in a tough spot.

"It's just sickening. It's a really disappointing feeling to lose a game. First game, new stadium. Fifteenth game, the same stadium. It's really disappointing to lose. We've got to go to work. Obviously there are some things that we need to work on. Offensively, we've got to protect the ball better. It just cannot turn the ball over in this league and win."

For the most part, Dungy agreed. And he wasn't going to pin the loss on the absence of offensive starters Ryan Lilja (offensive guard) and Jeff Saturday either. He thought that rookie center Jamey Richard played well in his first NFL start.

"I thought Jamey played well in there. We didn't have much leakage in the middle. It was not a game of Peyton not practicing or playing in the preseason or Jeff being out. They (Chicago) just outplayed us in every phase," the Colts coach said.

Manning wasn't going to use the excuse of players missing from the game either.

"It's part of the game. You certainly don't like it because you'd like to have all your good players out there. But when it does, there's really no time to feel sorry for yourself or to complain about it. All these guys are professional athletes and everybody's expected to know the person in front of him's job and be able to play that role," he said.

Now, with a big game against the Vikings, it's back to the practice field for Indianapolis.

"We've just got to come out (against Minnesota) and prepare a little bit better. And work on (improving)," Dungy said.


— QB Peyton Manning, who was seeing his first action of the year after missing training camp and all five of the team's preseason games, ended the night by hitting on 30 of 49 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown.

— WR Marvin Harrison had eight catches for 76 yards in his first regular-season game start since suffering a knee injury early last year.

— WR Reggie Wayne hauled in a game-high 10 passes for 86 yards. Wayne also scored the first Colts touchdown at Lucas Oil Stadium.

— TE Dallas Clark suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter. He did not return. An update on Clark's status won't be available until Monday.

— RB Joseph Addai left the game early in the fourth quarter after receiving a blow to the head. Addai was cleared to come back but was held out the rest of the way.

— CB Kelvin Hayden was poked in the eye in the first half but was able to stay in the game. He played the rest of the evening without any apparent problems.

— C Jamey Richard started for the Colts in replace of injured starter Jeff Saturday.

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