Chicago Sun-Times

Bears show some mettle in 41-21 win over Colts

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The Bears impressively responded to adversity in their season-opening 41-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Soldier Field. On Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers will tell the Bears whether the adversity of falling behind 7-0 in the first four minutes or the response of outscoring the Colts 34-7 to take control was the defining facet of the game.

''My perfect scenario would be scoring the first time, getting a takeaway and scoring after that,'' Bears coach Love Smith. ''[But] throughout the course of the year you're going to have to fight through some adversity. You might as well get it out of the way early to see what you're made of.

''Things are going to be perfect for you and I thought they fought through it with no panic on the sideline or any of that.''

The Bears scored three rushing touchdowns inside the 10-yard line and Jay Cutler passed for 333 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears passed for 330 or more yards and rushed for 100 or more yards for the first time in Smith's nine seasons as head coach.

Cutler was 1-of-10 for 13 yards late in the first quarter but finished 21-of-35 for 33 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a 98.9 passer rating. Brandon Marshall had nine receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Alshon Jeffery had three catches for 80 yards and a 42-yard touchdown from Cutler in the fourth quarter.

After a huge buildup of high expectations in the offseason and preseason, the Bears' offense opened the 2012 season in comical fashion. Cutler was sacked by Robert Mathis for a 12-yard loss on the Bears' first offensive play of the game. Gabe Carimi was called for a false start on the second offensive play of the game. After Matt Forte gained three yards and a cloud of dust on an inside run, Cutler took a low-snap and threw incomplete for a discouraging three-and-out.

It got worse before it got better. Special teams contributed to the difficulty as Devin Hester let a punt go over his head, only to have the Colts' Joe Lefeged save the ball as it was bounding into the end zone and teammate Justin Hickman down it at the Bears 3-yard line.

On the next play, Cutler tried to throw a pass to Forte in the flat and it was easily picked off by linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who returned it four yards for a stunning touchdown and a 7-0 Colts lead with 11:23 left in the first quarter.

On the enusing series, Cutler finally found Marshall for a 13-yard gain on third-and-10. But it was the offensive line and ground game that put the Bears back on their feet. Forte gained 32 yards to the Cotls 35 and 15 yards to the 1 before Michael Bush scored on second-and-goal to tie the game.

It was all Bears from there as the defense contained and confused rookie quarterback Andrew Luck (23-of-45 for 309 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions) and Cutler started connecting with Marshall and the rest of his receivers.

''Well, we new if we didn't [get it together], you guys would have a field day, so we had to do something,'' Cutler told reporters after the game. ''We started off slow. I think that was a little bit of concern on my part. My feet were all over the place, missing some balls.

''I thought the offensive line did a great job all day long. In that fourth quarter we had all day to throw. Right before halftime we had all day to throw.''

The Bears had five takeaways and no giveaways after Cutler's pick-six. Cutler threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Marshall that gave the Bears a 14-7 lead. Cornerback Tim Jennings had a dazzling interception of a deep ball intended for Donnie Avery that helped the Bears take a 17-7 lead.

Jennings had another interception in the second half and tipped a pass in the end zone that safety Chris Conte intercepted. Corey Wootton forced a fumble with a sack of Luck that Julius Peppers recovered while on his back. And J.T. Thomas forced a fumble on a kickoff return that Kelvin Hayden recovered.

After Donald Brown scored on an 18-yard run to get the Colts to 17-14 with 5:32 left in the first half, Cutler drove the Bears to a touchdown, parlaying a 25-yard pass to Earl Bennett into Bush's second one-yard touchdown that gave the Bears a 24-14 halftime lead.

The Bears' victory ended up being so complete that the loss of cornerback Charles Tillman to a lower leg injury in the first quarter was barely noticed. Brian Urlacher, playing for the first time since suffering sprained knee ligaments in Week 17 last season, had two tackles and a pass defense and sat out most of the second half after the Bears took a 34-14 lead.

''We did some good things,'' Peppers said. ''We're not going to get too high. It's one game. We have a short week coming up. We have to prepare for the next game.''

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WOOH! Bring on the 0-1 Packers!

No please don't bring on the Packers. It's a division game on the road. Packers got beat by the 9ers at home and truth be told the Packers were pretty lucky to be in it. Cause the 9ers were laying the smack to the pack. But on the road is a totally different animal for this Bears offense. The Bears offense is not up to speed yet, it's going to take years. Not a joke, next year the offense will be better. They still don't know all the plays Davis screwed up on crossing rout he was not suppose to be running that almost cauused a pick and Marshall didn't bump, screen the LB on Cutlers int. Cutler didn't make a read he just went for the quick hit thinking it would be open.

Lots of little mistakes by the Bears, they still played really well, but the offense is not at it's best yet Mike. The good news is that Packers D gave up some points to 49ers offense and that is not a powerful offense. The Bears D is better than the Packers D, they gave up 14 points yesterday, could have been 17. But the Bears D stepped off the gas a couple of times and so did the Bears offense. 41 points? They could of easily hit them for more than 50. People forget that, Bears actually had the game in hand and kicked on the cruise control.

Good cautioning, Creighton. I'm picking the Bears to win but not with a great deal of confidence. Either way, I do not expect the score to be close. I think the loss or win will be by at least two touchdowns. Depends on who's hot and who's not.

Wow Creighton, when did you start being offensive QC for the Bears? The Offense is running in Tune, a pick 6 that the colts got, was what it was a bad throw, but to see Jeffery on that post, Marshall on any of his 9 catches, and Bennett, you can't help but HOPE that this is a new generation for Bears fans, running to set up the pass and being able to Pass to Setup the Run. That's heaven for ANY team.
The D is a bit of a question with Peanut out and Urlacher hurt, but gotta say seeing the #1 pick getting some hits on luck and melton having his good start, means that with 4 we might have a chance to keep pace with da pack

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on September 9, 2012 6:39 PM.

Tillman hurt, Urlacher rests as Bears take 34-21 lead was the previous entry in this blog.

Brian Urlacher doesn't take sitting down sitting down is the next entry in this blog.

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