A little later than we like, we get to some final thoughts on the game Sunday night in Indianapolis. Like the team, we've got to put this one behind us and move on to the next one at Carolina, and we'll do that starting Wednesday morning. Here are some notes and quotes coming out of the game:
*** Maybe defensive tackle Tommie Harris didn't get as much rest as you thought during the game. Harris was on the field for 44 of the Colts' 66 offensive plays, the most of any interior lineman. Of course, that's not at the 74 percent clip Harris wants to be at for the end of the season. His de-escalating roster bonus is contingent on making the Pro Bowl and being on the field for 74 percent of the snaps for the season. He would have needed an additional five snaps in the game to be at that pace.
Israel Idonije had 35 snaps at defensive tackle followed by 33 for Dusty Dvoracek, who started. Rookie Marcus Harrison had 18 snaps and while the sack of Peyton Manning got great publicity, don't forget about another play he made. Harrison drove center Jamey RIchard clear into the backfield on the fourth-and-one play from the 50-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter with the Bears leading 22-13. That blew up the play right there and allowed Lance Briggs and Adewale Ogunleye to easily stuff running back Dominic Rhodes for a two-yard loss.
Speaking of the sack by Harrison ... defensive end Adewale Ogunleye had dropped off the line on that play waiting for tight end Dallas Clark. Clark never left the backfield. Defensive end Alex Brown deserves an assist on the safety, too. He closed down the front side by defeating Tony Ugoh, allowing Ogunleye to swarm in and bring down Joseph Addai.
*** As for the division of the play time for the defensive ends ... Ogunleye was tops among all linemen with 50 snaps. Brown had 46 and Mark Anderson got 34.
*** The Colts might want to think about keeping the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium closed for future games. Visitors on occasion had accused them of piping crowd noise into the RCA Dome it was so loud in there. The Bears prepared to go with a silent count but it wasn't loud at all. The roof being open as well as the huge picture window at the North end had to have something to do with it.
*** The Bears fell short in their goal to get Devin Hester on the field for 30 offensive snaps. He had just 21 of the 61 (we're not counting the spike by Kyle Orton just before halftime to kill the clock and set up Robbie Gould's field goal). Orton didn't try Hester deep once either. You have to believe that will happen this coming week at Carolina. They have to show it to keep the Panthers and future opponents honest, right?
*** Rashied Davis didn't start but he led all receivers in snaps. Davis was on the field for 48 plays. Brandon Lloyd was next with 39 and then Hester. Marty Booker had seven plays.
*** The division of action for the tight ends was just about even. Desmond Clark had 48 snaps and Greg Olsen got 45. Rookie Kellen Davis was on the field for two plays in a jumbo package at the goalline that produced Jason McKie's one-yard touchdown score.
Some postgame interviews:
FREE SAFETY MIKE BROWN
WHAT WENT WELL TONIGHT?
We got some big plays, we played aggressive. It was a great game plan we put in and we put in some good stuff to kind of get after them a little bit. It worked out for us. We played with enthusiasm and energy and our front four played unbelievable today. That's the product of, our defense, when they play well we usually have a pretty good game.
WHAT SPECIFICIALLY DID YOU PUT IN TO ATTACK THE COLTS?
We wanted to get a lot of people at the line of scrimmage. We gave them a lot of looks, ran a lot of different things out of those looks, you know, we were in zones, zone pressures, we were in man, pretty much everything. We tried to make everything look the same and we tried to keep them guessing because when he knows what you're in, he'll cut you up. He puts them in the right plays. But we were able to make everything look the same and hopefully we kind of confused them a little bit. He called a couple timeouts, we got a delay of game. I'm not sure if it confused him, but he wasn't quite sure what we were in.
THAT'S A PRODUCT OF MONTHS OF WORK NOT ONE WEEK?
Like we've been telling you guys, we were playing pretty vanilla in the preseason. That package that we have is a pretty good package. It helps us play aggressive, it helps us play with a lot of energy, and it was a good night for us tonight.
WAS IT IMPORTANT TO STAY CONFIDENT THROUGH THE PRESEASON?
I think we have a lot of veteran guys on the defensive side of the football. We knew that we were gonna have a good game plan going in, we've been working on it for a while, been working on the Colts for a while and we didn't show any of that stuff in the preseason, that package that we had in there pretty much the whole night. Good to come out and play with some energy and enthusiasm and we made some big plays on defense to help us win the ball game.
NICKEL BACK BRANDON MCGOWAN
WHAT WAS THE KEY FOR THE DEFENSE?
It's all about looks and disguising stuff. Pre-snap if you can get the quarterback confused, that's great. Manning is so patient and he tries to eat up the play clock so you will finally come out and show him what you are in.
AT THE END YOU HAVE TO SHOW YOUR CARDS THOUGH, RIGHT?
Yes. But just timing it and knowing when he has to snap the ball, that helps us out a lot. If the play clock is five, you know he has to snap the ball. He can't check no more,
ARE YOU BUMMED YOU WERE BENCHED AS STRONG SAFETY?
No, I am glad. [Kevin Payne] went in there and did a good job. I still got some reps, still got some plays, made some plays. I'm still happy. That's the only thing I care about, playing.
DID YOU SPLIT THE NICKEL ROLE SOMEWHAT WITH BRANDON?
No. It's hard to say. Brandon is still the starting nickel. I guess they just wanted to get me some reps, get me in the game. I guess he got tired and he was playing a lot of reps on special teams and I am too, so just give him a breather.
YOU ARE 4 PHASE ON SPECIAL TEAMS NOW?
HOW MANY REPS DID YOU GET ON DEFENSE?
Maybe about 15, maybe. Here and there.
DID THEY TELL YOU WHAT WENT INTO THE DECISION?
No. As far as it is, Brandon is the starting nickel. That was the confusion. The confusion was I wanted to know my role. I'm backup and a four-phase starter on special teams, backup at safety and nickel.
DID THEY SAY WHY?
They told me they needed to make a change. I said OK.
THAT HAS TO HURT?
No. I'm still out here and I have the opportunity. If the opportunity I had and I didn't prove I was the starter, let that take care of itself.
HOW DID YOU GUYS FLIP THE SWITCH ON DEFENSE?
How does it happen? Get on the field. Our group has been doing this for a long time. Been doing this together for a long time. Next week is another week, we have to go out and do what we have to do in order to get our W.
SURPRISED AT ALL BY THE PERFORMANCE?
This group? Right here? No, not at all.
HOW MUCH DID YOU AND BRIAN STACKING THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE HELP?
I think it helped. You don't see a lot of teams do that the whole game against Peyton and the Colts, but we did, we believed in our scheme, we believed in our game plan and we stuck to it.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR STIFF ARM ON THE TOUCHDOWN RETURN?
Oh man, I learned that way back in the day. Back in high school days, back when it was still working. I wanted to see if it still worked, but it had a little rust on it. It was nice. It's been a while since the stiff arm worked.