Indianapolis Colts

Luck again covers Colts’ warts, pulls out 29-23 victory over Bears

September 25, 2016: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) sits on the field after a sack during the NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Despite the Indianapolis Colts’ secondary getting shredded by a replacement-level quarterback like Brian Hoyer, as well as Andrew Luck’s offensive line falling to sleep in the second half, the Colts moved up to 2-3 following a 29-23 victory over the Chicago Bears.

In the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, the Colts appeared to have gotten a couple major issues cleaned up since their embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. Specifically, the offensive line was giving Luck plenty of time to get the ball to his playmakers, Frank Gore was chewing up big yardage on the ground and – aside from one big 57-yard run from Jordan Howard – the Colts’ defense largely played well against the Bears’ rushing attack.

However, in the second half, the Colts largely failed in all of these areas, which allowed the Bears – namely Hoyer and Howard – to dominate the second half and nearly pull out the win in Indianapolis. Hoyer went for 255 yards through the air, the Colts allowed three sacks and numerous QB hits, and they never could stop Cameron Meredith, who racked up 130 yards receiving on 9 catches (6 for 75 yards in the second half).

Once again we see what Luck can do when he’s given time in the pocket to dissect a defense. Luck was 18-of-24 for 195 yards and a touchdown in the first half and was only legitimately sacked once (the other was a dropped snap in the shotgun). But, when under constant pressure in the second half Luck could only muster 53 yards through the air until his final two significant possessions of the game in which he went 5 for 6, 74 yards including the 35-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton.

There’s very little question as to how special Luck can be with just a little bit of help from his teammates. Additionally, this roster has shown how much their poor play can bring down the entire ship when they don’t contribute on the defensive side of the ball.

The Colts’ defense allowed 522 total yards to a Bears offense that was being captained by a career backup at quarterback, again, failed to notch a sack in 44 dropbacks and allowed 23 of the Bears’ first downs on first- or second-down plays.

In the end, despite Luck’s fantastic performance, the Colts still needed some additional luck to pull this one out – or at least keep the game out of overtime. With 4:01 left on the clock in the third quarter, Bears kicker Connor Barth missed a 49-yard field goal attempt despite having two tries at it, and cornerback Rashaan Melvin was able to force a Meredith fumble with 3:29 left in the game which turned out to be the only turnover of the game.

The Colts failed to get into the end zone, settled for another Adam Vinatieri field goal (5 on the day) and the defense was again shredded by Hoyer on their final possession, but the Bears failed to punch it across the goal line due to a pivotal holding penalty on Logan Paulsen and Hoyer’s only poor throw of the day on fourth down.

The Bears couldn’t notch their second win of the season, but the Colts managed to fall into a victory despite Luck being largely left on his own to pull it out. It appears that giving Luck whatever he wants in his contract is well worth it, regardless of what his delusional general manager says to try to save his job.

Matt Danely (@MDanely_NFL) is an Indianapolis Colts Analyst for Today’s Pigskin (@TodaysPigskin), and host of the Locked On Colts Podcast (@LockedOnColts).

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