INDIANAPOLIS -- Statistically, the Chicago Bears were good enough to win Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium. Statistics, however, don't always tell the complete story in the National Football League, as was the case when the struggling Indianapolis Colts rallied in the final 3:43 for a 29-23 victory. Chicago (1-4) ran 62 plays for 522 yards (8.4 yards per snap), including 397 passing yards from Brian Hoyer, 118 rushing yards from rookie Jordan Howard and 130 receiving yards from Cameron Meredith. "We should have won the game," frustrated Bears' offensive guard Kyle Long said. The Colts (2-3), however, got 322 passing yards and two touchdowns from Andrew Luck, 10 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown from T.Y. Hilton and five field goals from 43-year-old Adam Vinatieri, who has made 38 in a row, to overcome an offensive explosion from the defensive-minded Bears. Luck's 35-yard touchdown pass to Hilton with 3:43 remaining proved to be the game-winner in the Colts' come-from-behind victory. Vinatieri's fifth field goal, a 46-yarder with 2:28 to play, extended the lead to 29-23. The Colts then held off one final Bears drive when Hoyer failed to convert on fourth-and-8 from the Indianapolis 28 with less than a minute to play. "That's a play you'd like to have back," said Hoyer, pointing out that he thought Alshon Jeffery would be double-teamed on that play when Jeffery wasn't. Luck finished 28 of 39, while Hoyer was 33 of 43 for two TDs. "T.Y. did a heck of a job creating space, and (tight end) Jack Doyle kind of drew the safety out of the middle of the field," Luck said of the game-winning touchdown pass to Hilton. "Chicago has a really good front seven and made it difficult for us all day. "We really needed this game to get the bad taste out of our mouths. And Adam Vinatieri ... you almost take him for granted. He is simply the best, although I wish we would have done a better job scoring touchdowns in the red zone. I also thought we did a nice job running the no-huddle offense, which helped us." Hoyer's 21-yard touchdown pass to Howard capped a nine-play, 96-yard drive with 7:04 remaining, giving the Bears a 23-19 lead before Indianapolis scored the game's final 10 points. "We knew this was going to be a physical game," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. "Somehow, we found a way. We were very fortunate to get a huge win. T.Y. had a big game for us, and at 43, Vinatieri is amazing." Colts running back Frank Gore picked up 16 yards on a first-quarter run to pass Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown (12,312 yards) on the all-time rushing list. The 33-year-old Gore had 75 yards on 14 carries to raise his career total to 12,368. "I am so happy for Frank, because he is a warrior who really loves football," Pagano said. "In my opinion, Frank just passed the greatest player ever to play the running back position in the NFL." Connor Barth's third field goal -- a 24-yarder with 13:31 to play in regulation -- sliced the Colts' lead to 19-16. Chicago had a first-and-10 at the Indianapolis 11 but could advance the ball only to the 6 before settling for three points. Indianapolis extended its lead to 19-13 with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter on Vinatieri's 41-yard goal. Vinatieri's third first-half field goal -- a 26-yarder with 11 seconds left in the second quarter -- gave the Colts a 16-13 lead through 30 minutes. Indianapolis gained 243 yards during the first half, including 195 passing yards from Luck, who was 18 of 24, including a 1-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen with 12:58 remaining in the second quarter that gave the Colts a 10-3 lead. A Vinatieri 53-yard field goal with 6:08 to go in the half extended Indianapolis' advantage to 13-6. Including Sunday, Vinatieri has five field goals of 50 yards or more this season. The NFL single-season record is eight. Chicago pulled even at 13 with 3:35 left in the second quarter on Hoyer's 15-yard touchdown pass to Meredith, capping a five-play, 75-yard drive that included a 57-yard run by Howard to the Colts' 18-yard line. Chicago coach John Fox praised Hoyer for a solid start on the road in place of injured starter Jay Cutler but wouldn't discuss the future. "I'm not going to get into speculation," Fox said, "Jay (thumb injury) is not healthy." Barth kicked 35- and 49-yard field goals to account for the Bears' other six first-half points. Vinatieri's 54-yard field goal with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter tied the game at 3-3. NOTES: Bears CB Bryce Callahan left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. ... Colts LB Josh McNary suffered a third-quarter neck injury and did not return. ... Colts CB Patrick Robinson suffered a fourth-quarter knee injury and did not return. ... This was the first time since Sept. 7, 2008 that the Colts and Bears played in Lucas Oil Stadium (Chicago won that game, 29-13). ... Indianapolis WR T.Y. Hilton caught six passes for 117 yards during the first half Sunday. ... Colts P Pat McAfee's 74-yard punt pinned the Bears at their 4 with 11:49 to play, but Chicago drove the length of the field for a go-ahead TD.
Vinatieri, Colts leg out 29-23 victory over Bears
The Sports Xchange | Oct 9