6:00 – A little halftime analysis, with the Colts up 16-14.
The Colts have left four points on the field because of their kicking units, but they’ve been taking it to the Bears for most of this game. Outside of big plays by Hester and Jones, their offense has done absolutely nothing. Grossman hasn’t made any mistakes (he may have a fumble, but that was a bad snap), but he hasn’t made any plays either.
The defenses for both side have been outstanding- but as the studio crew mentioned, both teams have to protect the football better, even in these bad conditions.
The Colts get the ball first in the second half, which is huge, especially with the missed field goal giving momentum to Chicago.
Dennis and I are ranting- we’re going to make it our project to get the NFL to pick someone that doesn’t suck for the halftime show next year. Prince (or The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince) fails on several levels.
One, he’s not current. Two, he’s not clean either, even with his recent conversion. Three (and this has something to do with one, methinks) he hasn’t been popular for… a long, long time.
6:07 – Dennis had two minutes as the over/under for our lasting on the halftime show. Actual time: 49 seconds. Flipping off the channel while we make some nachos.
6:32 – Back, and we missed a few minute while waiting for the halftime show to end. Doesn’t look like anything has happened, though Indy’s driving, in Chicago’s end of the field.
Seems like they’ve converted an awful lot of third downs, with Addai catching a short pass for another one. How many times has Addai touched the ball?
6:36 – Here’s a first- Indianapolis is challenging their own completed catch. Simms says it might be because they’re saying Chicago had 12 on the field, and sure enough, that’s what it is.
First replay says Chicago was fine- why would you challenge this?
Second replay shows Anderson and Scott, two Bears were jogging off when the clock was running down. Still seems a stupid challenge to me, in the second half of a game.
6:38 – And Indianpolis loses the challenge, and a timeout. What a weird challenge, and the Colts have to take three anyway. Foreshadowing would say this might come back to haunt them, as well as the points they left on the field in the first half, but we’ll see. The Bears just haven’t done anything offensively.
Vinatieri makes this one, after an awkward snap was saved by the holder this time.
Dennis says the timeout doesn’t come back to haunt them, but it always seems to at this time of year.
6:42 – The Colts are squibbing their kickoffs now. They have no respect for the Bears offense. I wouldn’t either, with the way they’ve played so far, but they’re still only five points down. That’s a weird number for a football game, but this has been a wild game.
6:47 – Two completed passes for Grossman, and then two sacks, and another Chicago possession ends in a punt.
6:48 – With the internet conversation I’ve heard about it, I’m amazed that today is the first time I’ve hard about the 300. Dennis seems intrigued by it, and the concept and story seems interesting.
6:50 – Big run by Dominic Rhodes, something of a forgotten man in the Colts backfield with the ascension of Joseph Addai. Both he and Addai been able to run on the Bears all game.
Rhodes gets another one, and draws a facemask. They’re close, but they need to get a touchdown here.
6:52 – What a catch by Wayne, but he was out of bounds.
After another incomplete pass, a run by Rhodes comes up short, and the drive stalls. Three points makes it 22-14 for the Colts.
The kick is good, but there’s a flag- Vinatieri was hit. An incredibly dumb play by the Bears.
Luckily it’s not a personal foul, which would have been an automatic first down- Indy takes the points, and they’ll move on with an eight point lead.
6:57 – Indianapolis has dominated this game, as Nantz mentions they’ve run 63 plays to the Bears 23, but only has an eight point lead. Still only one score.
And a dumb penalty by the Colts on the kickoff gives the Bears field position in their own territory. You can’t give them momentum right now, when they need it the most.
7:01 – A couple of runs puts them in field goal range, but the Bears haven’t strung much together all game. Even the touchdown was only four or five plays. Their defense must be exhausted, especially with that rain.
7:03 – The field goal attempt by Robbie Gould bounces off the left upright, but it’s good. They talk about Gould and Vinatieri being bad weather kickers, but they seem to be struggling with the rain. Colts still lead by five.
7:06 – They showed the clip of the Wayne catch out of bounds from an endzone camera, and it got bowled over. You always see cameramen getting hit on the sidelines in football, but it’s always something else to see it from their perspective. Puts a liittle fear of God into you.
7:07 – Harrison makes a catch on the sideline, dragging his feet and just staying in bounds- the first referee says yes, but he’s overruled by another one, who says no. I say it is.
Dungy challenges it. I like this challenge better than the other one, but it’s still a little strange to see it on the second half. He might need those timeouts.
7:09 – Dungy wins the challenge. I just don’t know if the gain was worth the risk- they still have a couple of yards to make the first down.
Nacho time, so updates will be sporadic. I’ve been at this a while.
(EDIT: Possession changed at some point here. I was making nachos, leave me alone.)
7:21 – Intercepted by Indianapolis, and that’s seven points. Might have stepped out of bounds on the runback, though. If it stands, it’s the ballgame right there.
Chicago is rightfully challenging this, because this is a huge play. I think he might have stepped out initially.
7:24 – After a quick review, the play stands. That surprised me a little, but it was very close. Might be 12 minutes left in the game, but the announcers- and I- think this game is over. Dennis is holding out hope for them (though I think he’s pulling for the Colts too), but I can’t see it. The Bears have done almost nothing offensively since starting the game off with that kick return.
Their defense was flying early, but they’ve just been on the field too long this game. Indy has worn them right out.
7:27 – “What is that?” “Ghost Rider, duh.” Well then. My question is answered.
How old is Nicholas Cage now? Feels like he’s been around forever.
Back from commercial, and they kick it past Hester. That’s how you do it.
7:30 – I go to inform Alex that we’ve put the nachos in the oven, and I miss a Bob Sanders interception. Has Chicago had a drive longer than six plays? I need to find this out. Flags are out, though.
Offsetting personal foul calls, but no change. Indy keeps the ball. Looks like Bad Rex came out today.
7:32 – Dennis and I agreed that Rex Grossman wasn’t a huge problem in the first half- he didn’t make plays, but he didn’t cost them much either. Second half, he’s made some dumb plays, though. Both picks were throws he either shouldn’t have made, or made better, in the case of the Sanders INT.
8:00 – Nachos consumed. Game over, and Dungy gets the Gatorade wash.
Indianapolis won this convincingly. Even a twelve point win doesn’t quite capture how bad it was for the Bears, who never really gave you the impression they were in this game. After forcing a couple of turnovers early, their defense never really got after the Colts, who were able to move the ball without a lot of resistance. Peyton Manning played a great game after throwing that pick early.
Indianapolis dominated time of possession (38 minutes to 22, or something lopsided like that), and you could see that the Chicago defense was sucking wind on the last few drives of both halves. The Bears were never really able to establish the run (take that long one by Jones off the board, and they had 59 yards rushing), and when they got behind, Rex Grossman failed to make any plays.
It’s easy to be happy for Tony Dungy, one of the great coaches and real gentlemen in football, and someone like Peyton Manning, who works as hard and prepares as much as anyone in football. It’ll be interesting to see what the Super Bowl win does to both of them, especially with some of their defensive stalwarts up for free agency now.
As for the Bears, I think they might not be back anytime soon. They had the benefit of the NFC’s softest schedule, and Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs is a free agent. And it’s anyone’s guess as to how Rex Grossman will take losing the Super Bowl, and the continued scrutiny of his mediocre performance that will lead to.
It’s amazing that their head coach, Lovie Smith, is the lowest paid in the league. One way or the other, that will change in the offseason. Defensive co-ordinator Ron Rivera could be a head coach himself somewhere, and that might lead to some more changes on what was an excellent defense.
And that’s it. I’m done. An exciting game early, but became one sided as the game went on.