As part of our look back at the 2016 season for the Indianapolis Colts, we’re taking a look at each game the team played this season. We know that won’t be the most fun experience for Colts fans, but we’re taking a look back at each game within the context of the entire season. Today we continue the series with the week five win over the Bears:
The Colts returned home from London to host the Bears in a game that wound up being a competitive matchup. The first half saw both teams score a touchdown and both teams hit multiple field goals, but the Colts hit three compared to the Bears’ two to enter halftime up 16-13. The Colts added to their lead in the third quarter with another field goal (19-13), but the Bears then went on a ten-point run to start the fourth quarter and take a 23-19 lead. All of the sudden, the Colts trailed by four points midway through the fourth quarter facing a potential 1-4 start to the season. That was where Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton stepped up one last time, just like they had all day. On the critical drive Luck and Hilton connected three times for 48 yards, including the go-ahead 35 yard touchdown pass with just under four minutes left. The defense then finally did their part, forcing and recovering a fumble on the Bears’ next play. That led to a fifth Adam Vinatieri field goal, but the Bears had one last chance. They got into Colts territory with just over a minute left, but ultimately couldn’t convert on fourth down to keep the drive going. Final score: Colts 29, Bears 23. It wasn’t a pretty game, especially for the defense: they gave up 522 yards, the most allowed in a win since moving to Indianapolis. Brian Hoyer had a terrific game against the defense, and it was a black eye on the unit’s already rough record. But the Colts did have Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Adam Vinatieri, who made the difference. Luck completed 71.8% of his passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover; Hilton caught ten passes for 171 yards and a touchdown; and Vinatieri hit all five field goal attempts, including two from beyond 50 yards.
What We Said at the Time:
Facing another fourth quarter deficit and staring a possible 1-4 start in the face, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton did it again. They connected for the game-winning score in week three against the San Diego Chargers, and they connected on the game-winning 35-yard score against the Chicago Bears today with 3:43 left to win it 29-23.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games (then again, it’s likely no Colts game this year will be), but Luck and Hilton really rose to the occasion. Luck played phenomenal football as he notched his third 300 yard passing game of the season (through five games), while Hilton was a dominant force once again by catching ten passes for 171 yards and a score. Luck on the day completed 28 of 39 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover.
What We’re Saying Now:
This was a win the Colts absolutely had to have, as they couldn’t afford to drop to 1-4 on the season. Their best players stepped up and carried them to a much-needed home win, but that didn’t mask how bad the defense was. It’s hard to imagine that in a year in which the Colts went 8-8 and had a completely terrible defense, the most yards they allowed in a game was in a winning effort against the Brian Hoyer-led Bears. In fact, they allowed 52 more yards in that game than they did in any other game this year, a season in which they allowed more yards per game than in any season in the Indianapolis era. Give them credit for holding Chicago to just 23 points, but they were bad against the Bears. Luckily for them, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton were very good against the Bears, while Adam Vinatieri was as automatic as ever. In many ways, there was nothing that special about this game - because it was the same story that fans had become used to: bad defense, a close game, and good performances from the best players that make it look better than the game actually was. But a win is a win, and the Colts got a much-needed one against the Bears entering a crucial week five matchup against the Texans...