The Chicago Bears showed off their explosive offense in today's 41-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. It was an interesting afternoon at Soldier Field, with the Colts coming out of the gates firing. Let's take a look at some highlights in today's game, and finish up with the hero and the "zero".
On the opening drive, the Bears were rudely introduced to the 2012 NFL season as Jay Cutler was sacked by an all-out rush by the Colts. They ended up getting pinned back near their own end zone, and were forced to punt it away.
Then, after a Colts 3-and-out and a punt inside the Bears own five-yard line, Cutler threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Colts got off to an early 7-0 start, but from that point on, it was all Bears.
Bears' running back Matt Forte had an impressive day, collecting 80 yards rushing and another 40 yards receiving. He also had an over-the-shoulder, one-handed catch that surely will make all of the highlight reels later on tonight. The catch led to a 1-yard touchdown run by newly acquired running back Michael Bush.
The Bears defense did allow Andrew Luck to throw for over 300 yards, but overall they played a great game. The defensive line played very well, pressuring Luck all afternoon and never let him get settled into the game. Brian Urlacher looked good as well.
Urlacher came into this game after practicing a handful of times due to a lingering knee injury. He did not seem like he was slowed down or hampered by the injury today, but it will be just as important to see how the knee reacts after playing in today's game.
Their impressive defensive effort leads to our "hero" of the game. An honorable mention though goes out to Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He led the offense most of the day and had 119 receiving yards and a touchdown in his Bears' debut. Although the whole Bears team played outstanding today, the biggest playmaker on the field was cornerback Tim Jennings.
Jennings was all over the field today, and he had two outstanding interceptions as well. Last year, there were multiple plays where Jennings dropped an easy interception, and it was clear today that he worked very hard all offseason on making sure he would catch anything near him this season.
He also tipped a pass intended for Reggie Wayne in the end zone, which led to a Chris Conte interception. Leave it to one of the shortest players on the field (5-foot-8) in Jennings to have the biggest impact in the game.
It is difficult to find one player to label our first "zero" of the game, but after losing by 20 points, it seems that player must be on the Colts. Luck played well enough overall to avoid this label, although with 4 turnovers, he didn't escape it by much.
Colts running back Donald Brown was our "zero" of the game. Brown had some decent numbers (9 rushes, 48 yards, 1 TD), but it was the plays he didn't make that really put the Colts in some tough spots today. It may have been more of bad timing then anything for Brown, but early in the game, he dropped an easy pass on third down which would have led to a first-down conversion for the Colts. Instead, they had to punt. He also dropped another easy screen pass early on in the second half, stalling another promising drive for the Colts.
The Colts enter a rebuilding year and took one of the chin today. The Bears enter a promising season with a tricky start, but a very explosive finish. Look for gradual improvement from Luck and the Colts, but their season does not seem destined for anything too great. The Bears have a huge division matchup this Thursday against the Green Bay Packers, so it will be very interesting to see if they can build off of this impressive start to the season.