Sunday, September 9, 2012
Wrap-up: Bears 41, Colts 21
By Paul Kuharsky
Thoughts on the Colts’ opening day 41-21 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field:
What it meant: That the 0-1 Colts are a lot like we thought they’d be -- a team in transition that can have a tough time being competitive. The offense gave the ball away five times, which meant the defense was on the field for 35:48. The Colts gave up 428 total yards. The Bears’ top two backs combined for a 4.3-yard average and Jay Cutler posted a 98.9 passer rating.
What I didn’t like: Andrew Luck’s preseason and training camp didn’t presage such a tough start. He threw three picks and lost a fumble in his first career game. He underthrew Donnie Avery on one Tim Jennings’ pick and saw a pass for Reggie Wayne in the end zone tipped by Jennings to Chris Conte on another. Remarkably, his four giveaways turned into only three points.
Top targets: The Colts were without two injured receivers who figure to be factors, Austin Collie and T.Y. Hilton. Without them, rookie Luck threw primarily to Wayne (targeted 18 times) and former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener (10 times). That’s 28 of Luck’s 45 throws. Wayne had a huge game with nine catches for 135 yards. But Luck’s first career touchdown went to Avery.
Eerily similar: Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star points out that Peyton Manning’s first start with the Colts produced a similar stat line to Luck’s. Manning was 21-of-37 for 302 yards with a TD and three picks. Luck was 23-of-45 for 309 yards with a TD and three picks.
What’s next: The Colts host the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium in the first home game for coach Chuck Pagano, Luck and a slew of others.