INDIANAPOLIS – Sacking Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck five times was supposed to be the starting point for a win over the Colts. It wasn’t. And when the Bears needed to stop him at pivotal points, they couldn’t, which is the stuff of which losses in which a team allows 29 points are made.
The Colts scored the first four times they had the football, and it didn’t really ultimately matter that three of those four times they were forced to settle for field goals. None of those possessions lasted fewer than six plays and the Colts netted 396 yards – the third time in five games that the Bears (1-4) have allowed 340 or more yards, and the fourth time in five games that they Bears have allowed 23 or more points.
Including last season, the Bears have allowed nine of their last 10 opponents to score 21 or more points.
“We just have to keep plugging away,” said linebacker Willie Young.
Defensive line: D
Against an Indianapolis offensive line that has struggled this season, the lack of pass rush was glaring in the first half but got a little pickup when Akiem Hicks collapsed the pocket for a takedown of Luck in the third quarter. But no one was anywhere near Luck a play later when he converted a third down with a 19-yard pitch-and-catch.
And while Mitch Unrein contributed four tackles, no defensive lineman was consistently a factor stopping the Colts, who averaged 4.7 yards on 21 rushing attempts.
Hicks had a tackle for loss among his three tackles. Jonathan Bullard produced his first NFL sack on an ensuing third down to force a fourth Indianapolis field goal. Pressure on Luck improved dramatically in the second half but the Bears were unable to finish plays with wins up front.
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Young gave the defense a first-quarter sack in a series with the Bears sorely needing a stop, and added a second in the second half to force the Colts to settle for a field goal. Young finished with three sacks, the first three-sack day of his career.
Sam Acho and Christian Jones worked on the edges in nickel packages. Ex-Colt Jerrell Freeman, credited with seven tackles in initial statistics, hit and pressured Luck into a throwaway that was short of the line of scrimmage for a grounding penalty.
Danny Trevathan returned from thumb surgery wearing a plastic cast on his hand and totaled six tackles.
The Bears were beaten for a deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter when safety Chris Prosinski appeared to leave the deep middle open with no help for cornerback Jacoby Glenn on T.Y. Hilton’s 35-yard TD that broke the Bears back. But the Colts had schemed to draw Prosinski away and Glenn allowed Hilton an inside break that was virtually impossible to defend.
“[The Colts] drained the safety [Prosinski] with the ‘out’ route and left the corner singled up, and the quarterback made a great throw,” said coach John Fox.
Coverage was generally pretty good against a good Colts passing game but that was wasted because of absent pass rush. When the rush started getting to Luck in the second half, coverage had too many windows of Colts opportunity.
Prosinski was substituted in for Harold Jones-Quartey in nickel packages. “That was just on third down,” Fox said, “but it was performance-based.”
Prosinski finished with eight tackles. Cornerback Bryce Callahan was credited with six stops before leaving with a hamstring strain. Cre’Von LeBlanc was credited with two pass breakups.
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Special teams: D
Connor Barth was wide left from 49 yards, a crucial third-quarter kick when the Bears needed points to answer a Colts score, and he remains a significant concern with (2-4) field goals for a team that will be in close games all year. The miss left the Bears in the position of needing a touchdown at the end of the game rather than being able to get close enough for try at a tying field goal and getting into overtime.
Roy Robertson-Harris was flagged for running into the punter but the Bears were spared because the play still left them in fourth down. Deonte Thompson gave an early boost with a 32-yard runback of the opening kickoff to set up a possession that ended with Connor Barth’s 35-yard field goal.
Coverage allowed a 39-yard Colts kickoff return in the second quarter allowed a punt return of 20 yards. Colts kickoff returns averaged 24.3 yards.