Week 1 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Colts

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
5:00
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

When: Noon, Sunday | TV: CBS | RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM

Andrew LuckJustin K. Aller/Getty ImagesAndrew Luck makes his NFL debut against a veteran Bears defense that welcomes back Brian Urlacher.

CHICAGO BEARS (0-0)


Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 71-57 | Last week: No game

Career record vs. Chuck Pagano: 0-0 | Career record vs. Colts: 1-2

Key stat: Chicago’s 11 projected starters have combined for 23 Pro Bowls and played in a combined 962 regular-season games with 773 regular-season starts. In addition, each of the projected starters started in at least nine games last season for the Bears.

Offense rank in 2011: 24th (314.1 ypg) | Defense rank: 17th (350.4 ypg)

[+] EnlargeJay Cutler
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJay Cutler is quickly climbing up the ranks of the Bears' leaders in career touchdown passes.

Offensive leader: Quarterback Jay Cutler plays his first real game in 294 days when he steps on the field against the Colts. With Cutler at the helm, the Bears have posted a 19-8 record over the last 27 games. Cutler needs five touchdown passes to surpass Jim McMahon to move into third on the club’s all-time passing TDs list and six more to move to No. 2.

Defensive leader: Despite the recent problems he’s experienced with an injured left knee, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher remains confident he’ll be able to contribute at a high level against the Colts. With a start against the Colts, Urlacher moves into a tie with Keith Van Horne for the fourth-most starts (169) in franchise history.

Streaks

" A win and a Green Bay Packers loss would give the Bears the most opening-day victories of all time. The Bears and Packers are currently tied with 52 opening-day wins.

" The Bears have won 15 of their last 16 games in which they led after the first quarter.

" The Bears have won 11 of the last 13 games in which they finished on the plus side of the turnover ratio and are 42-9 since 2004 in that scenario.


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-0)


Coach: Chuck Pagano | Career record: 0-0 | Last week: No game

Career record vs. Smith: 0-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-0

Key stat: In the preseason, the Colts finished second in the AFC in passing yards (267.5 yard average) and total offense (343.8) while quarterback Andrew Luck completed 62.1 percent of his passes, and tied for second in the AFC in passing yards and touchdowns (3).

Offense rank in 2011: 30th (286.8 ypg) | Defense rank: 25th (370.9 ypg)

[+] EnlargeIndianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIREReggie Wayne returned to Indy and gives rookie Andrew Luck a veteran target.
Offensive leader: Receiver Reggie Wayne ranks second in Indianapolis franchise history in touchdowns (73), receptions (862) and yards (11,708) and leads all active receivers with 145 consecutive starts and 166 games played. Wayne has caught at least one pass in 96 consecutive games.

Defensive leader: Linebacker Dwight Freeney is a seven-time Pro Bowler and is Indianapolis’ all-time leader in sacks with 102.5. In 2011, Freeney became just the 26th player to surpass 100 career sacks, and he’s the only Colt to amass seven double-digit sack seasons. In addition, Freeney has put together 25 games in which he’s posted multiple sacks.

Streaks

" Kicker Adam Vinatieri has scored at least one point in 130 consecutive regular-season games.

" Wayne has led the Colts in receiving for five consecutive seasons.

" Mathis has posted 41.5 sacks in his last 61 regular-season outings.

" Freeney has posted 42.5 sacks in his last 61 regular-season games.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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