Hello, Colts fans. This Saturday, February 4th, marks a special anniversary for our Colts. It’s the 10th anniversary of Super Bowl XLI, a day many of us will never forget. I remember waking up that day and feeling supremely confident the Colts would get it done. To be honest, I felt the same way prior to every playoff game that season, including the AFCCG against the hated Patriots. With all due respect to the Chicago Bears, the AFCCG *was* the Super Bowl. I mean, there’s no way the Colts were going to survive the game against New England and then lay an egg against an inferior Bears team, right? I don’t mean to diminish either the tall task that still sat in front of them after the AFCCG, or their eventual victory over the Bears, but sometimes in sports you just know. Sometimes a team is in the right place at the right time. For the 2006-07 Colts, this was their time. I apparently wasn’t alone in this thinking, as when the team put together its 2006-07 season highlights DVD for season ticket holders, they named it “It’s Our Time.” Indeed it was.
I’ve watched a lot of Super Bowls in my time – so many I won’t name the first one I remember watching out of fear of sounding really old – and one thing I did long ago was to shut myself off from the buzz surrounding the game. I rarely read stories. I don’t watch TV shows where they discuss the game. I hardly pay any attention to “media day,” which is probably the funnest part of the entire pregame experience. The whole thing is just so massively overblown I can hardly stand it. I don’t blame the media, who are just there to do their jobs – and there for the free booze and food, don’t let them fool you – but I can only handle hearing the story of the Manning family so many times. I can only handle hearing about Tom Brady being a 6th round draft pick so many times. And on and on and on.
There’s one thing I remember from Super Bowl XLI “media day,” and it’s this:
“This” of course, is Bob Sanders.
Do you know who took this picture? Bill Simmons. That’s right, the noted Patriot lover and hater of all things Colts took this picture of Bob Sanders looking like the baddest man to ever walk the planet (which, at that time, he was).
While I don’t regret missing most of the buzz around any Super Bowl, I do regret not collecting enough “artifacts” for the 2006-07 Colts. I have four I can think of: 1) the previously mentioned season highlights DVD sent to me by the team 2) the champions hat the team wore on the field following the game (it is ugly and I refuse to wear it) 3) the champions poster handed out to fans who attended the victory rally at the Dome the day after the game (I can’t be the only one still shivering from that day. It was COLD) 4) This:
This is a must have for any Colts fan. It contains uncut versions – in other words, no commercials – of all four playoff games that season, and is the source for my two columns. It came out in 2007, shortly after our heroes won the Super Bowl. Here I am ten years later, and the only game I’ve watched on this DVD prior to writing this was the AFCCG. Not the wildcard win over the Chiefs, not the division win at Baltimore, not the Super Bowl. Remember this, because it will come up again later.
Enough about me, though. Let’s get to it.
Pre-opening kickoff stuff
This was the official Super Bowl XLI intro. Watch it and remember how you felt when you first saw it. It gave me goosebumps at the time.
Please note: It may open in another window.
Some thoughts: 1) “Peyton, who’s your favorite football player?” “My dahyud” Awww. 2) Why on earth is Rex Grossman’s mom doing the Florida “gator chomp” for a Super Bowl intro? If you think about it, this explains so much about his NFL career. 3) “My son Jeffrey plays for me.” Jeff Saturday, unable to deny his mom (the eyes). 4) “Gary Brackett plays for my sister.” If you’re unfamiliar with Gary’s story, read up on it. After you finish reading this. 5) “Thomas Jones plays for us..us” as Mrs. Jones is just a second late with her “us” line. This is hilarious. Why didn’t they shoot it again?
CBS is carrying the game, which means we get Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. I was hoping they wouldn’t be as insufferable as they were during the AFCCG, except Nantz starts off by bringing up the fact that it’s lightly raining and the Colts are a dome team. Ah yes, the dreaded “dome team” stuff. Remember when that mattered?
Nantz turns his attention to his partner, pointing out that 20 years ago Phil Simms was MVP of Super Bowl XXI. That’s right, kids. Phil Simms not only won the MVP, he put on one of the most dominant big game performances you’ll ever see from a QB: 22 of 25 passing, 268 yards and 3 TD’s. He was unbelievable that day. Nantz asks Simms how players feel taking the field for the Super Bowl, and Simms finishes with “You dream about it as a kid, but in reality, when you take the field it’s better than you could ever dream.”
The team captains are introduced next. Representing the Colts are Peyton Manning, Gary Brackett, and Adam Vinatieri. They are introduced to moderate cheers from the 75,000 in attendance here at Dolphin Stadium. The Bears are represented by Brian Urlacher, Olin Kreutz, Patrick Mannelly, and Mushin “Moose” Muhammad. Based on the cheers, it’s a pro-Bears crowd.
Dan Marino and Norma Hunt are the honorary captains for the game. Everyone is familiar with Marino, of course, and Norma is the widow of Chiefs owner and Hall of Famer Lamar Hunt.
Tony Corrente is our referee. The Colts are the visiting team, and Adam Vinatieri makes the call on Marino’s coin toss. He calls tails, but it’s heads, and the Bears will receive. Nantz points out a fun fact: This is the 10th straight Super Bowl the NFC has won the coin toss, yet the AFC has won 7 of those games.
Simms: “In a game like this where nerves can be a factor, it’s always better to start on defense first.”
Yeah, about that…
Vinny puts his leg into it and drives it to the left of Devin Hester. Hester takes it right, cuts back through a wide open hole in the middle, and…he gone. Vinny wanders too far to the right, so his attempt at a tackle is a lost cause. It’s the 8th kick off return TD in Super Bowl history, and the first ever on the opening kick. It’s almost like Tony Dungy forgot all about Bethel Johnson.
We’re 14 seconds in, and already the Colts trail.
CHI 7, IND 0
2/10/30: After a first down pass to Dallas Clark is knocked away by Urlacher, the Colts go to the ground, and Joseph Addai rips one up the middle for a 14 yard gain. Terrific blocking up front, particularly by Jeff Saturday.
1/10/44: There’s a flag on the play. False start on Tarik Glenn. This is irrelevant to the eventual outcome of the game, but Tarik was known for his false starts and he didn’t commit one against New England, so I couldn’t pass this chance up.
1/15/39: Marvin Harrison is open but he slips and the pass is nearly picked by Nathan Vasher. Colts catch a big break here.
3/8/46: A 2nd down screen to Addai gains 7, but Jake Scott commits a false start on this play. The Colts look jittery in the early going.
3/13/41: Manning tries to hit Harrison deep but makes a terrible throw, and Chris Harris comes up with the easy interception. I’m not sure if the wet conditions had anything to do with the throw – it doesn’t look like it – but either way, this is one Manning would like to have back.
This is not an ideal start.
1/10/35: On their first offensive play, the Bears come out throwing, and Grossman hits Bernard Berrian for an easy 7 yard gain. Nick Harper’s on the coverage, and he’s been nursing a bad ankle. Something to watch for.
3/3/42: Grossman tries a deep pass left to Berrian off a double move and it’s nowhere close. Pressure from Freeney forces Grossman to throw it sooner than he’d liked, but it’s still a throw into double coverage. Keep on being you, Rex.
The light rain that was falling at kick off has now turned into a downpour.
1/10/20: Addai takes it off the left side for a nice 7 yard gain.
2/3/27: Addai takes it again for just a 1 yard gain. Simms notes the Bears are playing their safeties 20 yards off the ball. Even in a downpour, they’re respecting the big play potential of the Colts.
3/2/28: Manning hits Harrison on an in route for 7 yards and a first down. The key to success on this play is Dallas Clark. Lined up in the slot next to Harrison, he runs his route through the spot Harrison will run his, and in doing so, takes the extra defender with him, leaving Harrison open for the easy completion.
3/4/41: Everyone either runs a deep route or clears out to the other side, leaving Clark wide open left for an easy 6 yard gain and a first down.
2/10/47: A 1st down run by Addai gains nothing, and on this play Manning has Ben Utecht open…and it’s dropped. Maybe. It’s hard to tell. The Bears brought some heat on Manning this time.
3/10/47: The Bears bring pressure again, only this time Manning steps up in the pocket. He’s hit as he throws, and…Reggie Wayne is wide, wide open behind the Bears defense. Touchdown! It’s great pocket awareness by Manning, as he steps up rather than attempting to go left or right once he feels the pressure. Even so, if he’s a split second late throwing this pass, it’s probably a sack.
The key to success on this play is once again Dallas Clark. Lined up in the slot opposite Wayne, he runs a route to the middle. As he does, Chris Harris elects to follow him, leaving Wayne wide open.
I know Reggie is proud of his TD dance, but no. Just no.
Extra point: Normally we take these for granted, but not on a day where it’s pouring down rain. The snap from Justin Snow is good, but Hunter Smith botches the hold, and Vinatieri misses the kick. Ugh.
CHI 7, IND 6
Dungy appears to have learned his lesson, as this time the Colts kick it short. The kick is fielded by Gabe Reid, who is destroyed by Robert Mathis. Big hit. The ball is loose and Tyjuan Hagler has it! All of a sudden the Colts are in business at the Chicago 34.
1/10/CHI 34: Well, this didn’t last long. Manning attempts to hand it to Addai, who never secures the ball. Lance Briggs is in the backfield so quickly I’m not sure it even matters. Fumble! Mark Anderson of the Bears recovers. So much for prosperity.
1/10/43: Has anyone noticed the time and field position? We went from 6:43 left with the ball at the 34 to 6:34 left with the ball at the 43. Anyway, the Bears give it to Thomas Jones here, and he’s in the Colts’ secondary before they even realize what’s happening. Bob Sanders and Nick Harper both try to get there, but Sanders basically lays Harper out. Antoine Bethea saves the TD by bringing Jones down at the Colts’ 5.
3/goal/IND 4: The Bears go back to Jones on 1st and 2nd down, but the Colts limit him to just a yard. On this play, Moose Muhammad runs a quick in and beats Nick Harper easily. Touchdown.
CHI 14, IND 6
This starts with Terrence Wilkins running backwards and losing yards on the kick return, and doesn’t get any better from there. The Colts go 3 and out quickly. If there’s a bright spot, it’s that they limit Devin Hester to just a 3 yard return on the punt.
1/10/35: Chicago spreads out the formation, and Grossman finds Berrian for a 13 yard completion. Nick Harper knocks Berrian out of bounds as he’s coming down with the catch. In today’s game, the push out makes this incomplete. Nice throw by Grossman.
1/10/48: Cedric Benson checks into the game, immediately gets a carry, and is immediately thumped by Bob Sanders. Fumble! Dwight Freeney has it. Colts ball! It’s a tremendous hit by Sanders – a textbook “put your hat on the ball” hit – and you can hear the “thump” easily during live action.
It’s the 4th turnover of the game and we’re still in the 1st quarter.
Unfortunately for the Colts, they can’t take advantage of the opportunity created by the fumble.
3/8/CHI 41: The Colts try Harrison deep along the right side, he’s open, the throw is there, but Nathan Vasher makes a great play to break it up. Close.
4/8/CHI 41: The Colts line up to punt, but Adrian Peterson commits a neutral zone infraction. No, not that Adrian Peterson. I once jumped into a fantasy football draft at the last minute, mistakenly drafted this Adrian Peterson, and then promptly put him on waivers. Fortunately, I didn’t waste a high draft pick on him.
4/3/CHI 36: Peterson’s penalty sets up an interesting situation for the Colts, but Dungy never hesitates and sends out the punt unit. It’s probably the right call. You’ve already turned it over twice, plus you had a bad hold on your last kick. Manning is just 6 of 13 passing at this point. On a dry field Dungy tries the field goal or allows Peyton to talk him into going for it, but not today. It is pouring.
The Colts make Dungy’s decision look good, as Hunter Smith’s punt is downed at the 5.
1/10/5: Benson gets the carry, and takes it for 4 before once again running into Bob Sanders, but there’s more: Benson’s head also meets the knee of teammate John Tait. Benson stays down for several minutes, rain pelting him in the face, before slowly making it off the field. Spoiler alert: He will not return. Cedric Benson probably spent a lot of time dreaming about playing in this game. His career Super Bowl stats: 2 carries for -1 yard, 2 tackles by Bob Sanders, and 1 fumble caused by Bob Sanders.
2/6/9: Grossman tries a deep pass to Berrian off of another double move, and it goes nowhere even though Berrian is open. Grossman makes a terrible throw. I’ll let you decide if the weather has anything to do with it, or if it’s just Rex being Rex.
The Colts force the punt, and take over on their own 42.
1/10/42: Addai takes a swing pass and takes it 12 yards before being bumped out by Vasher. It’s a tremendous play by Addai, as he’s able to maintain his footing along the sideline long enough to get the first down.
In watching these last two games, I’m reminded again of just how good Joseph Addai was. The Colts were very fortunate in 2006. They already had a proven back in Dominic Rhodes, which allowed them bring Addai along slowly and keep his legs fresh. There were rumblings around Indy that Addai needed to be starting instead of Rhodes, but looking back on how his career played out, the Colts did the right thing in 2006. It sounds weird to say about a rookie who would go on to have a pretty decent career, but I think the AFCCG and SB in 2006-07 were peak Addai. He showed what he could do when he was truly 100%. In my opinion he should’ve been named MVP of this game.
End of 1st Quarter
1/10/CHI 46: Manning hits Harrison for an easy 15 yard completion in front of Vasher. Other than the TD by Wayne on the blown coverage, this is the easiest pass play the Colts have had so far.
2/4/CHI 25: After a 6 yard run by Addai on first down, Manning goes right back to him again, this time for 8 yards. Mark Anderson appears to have a shot at limiting the play to a minimal gain, but Tarik Glenn takes him right out with a great block.
I once had the pleasure of meeting Tarik, and I think he’s the largest human I’ve ever seen in my life. I swear when he walked towards me, he blotted out the sun. He was also every bit as nice as he was large. Good guy.
1/10/CHI 17: The give is to Addai again – notice a theme here? – on a stretch play left, but Lance Briggs will have none of it. Loss of 3.
3/9/CHI 16: The Bears bring a blitz, and Manning hangs in there long enough to find – who else? – Addai for a 5 yard gain over the middle. The once promising drive has stalled, however, so out comes Vinatieri to try the not-so-sure-field goal.
4/4/CHI 11: A little monsoon won’t hold Vinny down, and he nails the 29 yard kick.
CHI 14, IND 9
A bit of a strategy battle takes place on the kick off. The Colts had kicked short the last time in order to keep the ball away from Devin Hester, but this time Hester is playing way in and Rashied Davis is back deep. Vinatieri responds by kicking it deep to Davis, who takes it out to the 22.
The Colts let the Bears go nowhere on this possession. Rob Morris blows up a run by Thomas Jones on 2nd down, and on 3rd down Bob Sanders ruins a catch by Rashied Davis. Even better, on the punt Brad Maynard kicks the ball off the side of his foot. A 12 yard return by Terrence Wilkins sets the Colts up in great field position.
1/10/42: Harrison runs a crossing route here and Manning hits him for 22 yards. Manning has all day to throw. Jim Nantz points out that in 8 games at Dolphin Stadium, Harrison has never scored a TD.
1/10/CHI 36: Manning runs right on a designed roll out and hits Clark down the middle for 17 yards. Tremendous throw by Peyton. Daniael Manning makes the tackle. If you’re scoring at home – and I know you are – there are three Manning’s in this game: Peyton, Daniael, and Ricky.
3/2/CHI 11: Rhodes takes it on a stretch play right, Tank Johnson is there, but a tremendous 2nd effort by Rhodes gives him 3 yards and the 1st down. If you’ve forgotten about Tank Johnson, a month before this game he was charged with 6 counts of possession of a firearm without a permit. Authorities also seized over 500 rounds of ammunition, some weed, and some pain pills he didn’t have a prescription for. It’s his 3rd arrest since 2005, and he will be suspended by the league for the first 8 games of the 2007-08 season (source: ESPN). To his credit, Johnson has turned his life around, and now speaks at the league’s annual rookie symposium about the dangers of guns and drugs.
1/goal/CHI 8: Rhodes takes it straight up the middle for 7 yards, thanks to a tremendous block by Jeff Saturday. If this sounds familiar, it should. It’s the same play they ran when Addai scored the winning TD in the AFCCG.
1/goal/CHI 1: Rhodes takes it again and it’s a touchdown! There are no spectacular blocks on this play, but everyone upfront stood his guy up and held his ground.
After Vinny nails the extra point, CBS informs us that the Colts have scored in all 14 quarters of this post season.
The Colts have held the ball for more than 16 minutes.
IND 16, CHI 14
Hester is back deep this time, and Vinny does the correct thing and kicks it short, where it’s returned by Peterson for 10 yards.
The well-rested Colts defense has a chance to totally swing this game their way. They rise to the occasion by forcing a 3 and out, the highlight of which is a 3rd down run by Thomas Jones that is shut down by Gary Brackett and Booger McFarland.
Wilkins returns the punt out to the Colts 35.
There’s a great opportunity here to score some points and run the clock out. Remember, the Colts get the ball to start the 2nd half.
They put the ball in Addai’s hands…
2/7/38: Addai gains 3 on first down, then takes a pass here for 8 yards. Simms notes the Bears are still playing their safeties deep, and Manning is simply taking what they’re giving him.
2/11/45: Addai loses a yard on a 1st down run, but he’s the target here again. He takes Manning’s pass, shakes off a couple of tackles, and gains 10. CBS points out that since starting 1 of 4 for 7 yards, Manning is 13 of 17 for 162. Nantz: “Peyton is feeling it.”
3/1/CHI 45: Addai powers left for 2 yards and the 1st down. If you’re scoring at home, he’s now touched the ball on 5 straight plays. Nantz mentions Addai is the first rookie RB to start in a SB since Bobby Humphrey did it for the Broncos back in Super Bowl XXIV (17 years earlier).
2/10/CHI 43: Wayne drops Manning’s 1st down pass – thanks for the jinx, CBS – and on this play, Manning finds Bryan Fletcher open for a 6 yard gain. Charles “Peanut” Tillman is there as well, and he punches the ball out, then recovers it. So much for momentum. In looking back on his career, I feel like I saw Peanut make this kind of play a 1,000 times. Certainly one of the best ever at punching the ball out.
1/10/36: The Bears quickly learn that momentum is a fickle mistress, as Grossman immediately drops the snap. Fumble! Raheem Brock pounces on it. The Colts have a golden opportunity here.
If you’re scoring at home, we’re up to 6 turnovers now.
1/10/CHI 35: Jake Scott makes a great block, and Rhodes bursts through the middle for 10 yards.
2/10/CHI 25: Chicago brings pressure and Manning has nowhere to go. He starts to run, then basically flips it to Rhodes, who can’t be more than a yard in front of him. Rhodes takes it for 8, and the Colts call their first time out with 39 seconds left.
3/2/CHI 17: Judging by the call here, Dungy is either very confident in how the Colts are running the ball today, or he’s being conservative and trying to make sure they still get a chance at getting points. Either way, Addai tries the middle and goes nowhere. Brian Urlacher destroys the blocking on this one.
The Colts let the clock run down to 2 seconds before calling a time out. Dungy realizes just in time that no one on the field called for a time out, and he’s fortunately able to get the attention of the official.
4/2/17: With nothing really to lose, the Bears call their 1st time out as the Colts line up for the 36 yard field goal. I’m not sure it’s possible to “freeze” someone like Vinny, but somehow it works. The kick is wide left. Snap was good, hold was good, kick just wasn’t. Nantz mentions Vinny winning SB XXXVIII (the infamous “Janet Jackson game”) with a kick against Carolina, but also points out he’d missed two kicks earlier. I did not know this, probably because my hatred of the Patriots kept me from paying attention.
Halftime: IND 16, CHI 14
It’s halftime. This has been a long post. I need a break. You need a break. So….
Isn’t this incredible? A true musical master performing his signature song “Purple Rain” in the rain. It’s 10 years later and Prince has left us way too early, but I don’t think any SB halftime show will ever top his performance.
Terrence Wilkins gets things going by returning the 2nd half kick off 26 yards.
1/10/38: This is an odd play, as Manning fakes a hand off to Addai, then throws him a pass. Addai takes it for 6.
2/4/44: This time Addai runs the ball, and runs it well for a gain of 8. CBS points out that he’s up to 99 total yards now.
2/9/CHI 47: Clark catches one for a 1 yard gain, but this is irrelevant. Nathan Vasher was in on the tackles of the 3 previous plays, so Nantz takes the time to tell us this: Vasher’s dream is not only to meet Oprah Winfrey, but to marry her. Nantz tells us he asked Vasher if he was serious and the answer was in the affirmative. So yes, Jim Nantz just helped Nathan Vasher propose to Oprah on national television. Spoiler alert: She apparently said no.
3/8/CHI 46: Manning finds Ben Utecht over the middle for 8 yards and a first down. Utecht is slow to get up. I encourage you to read up on Ben’s story of how concussions have impacted his life. After you finish reading this, of course.
1/10/CHI 38: Jake Scott and Jeff Saturday pull right on this play, and Addai uses their blocks – along with that of Bryan Fletcher – to take it 10 yards for another 1st down. Terrific blocking.
1/10/CHI 28: Another hand off to Addai, he takes it for about 3, and…loses control. The ball is literally pinned between his knees before he regains it. I have no clue how this managed to not be a fumble.
3/5/CHI 23: After Addai carries it again for 2, he runs a slant route on this play and picks up 9. It’s a great play call, as the Bears do not expect Addai to run a slant.
2/8/CHI 12: Addai ran for 2 on 1st down to set up this play. It looks like vintage Manning, as he gets Lance Briggs to cross the line before the snap, but the officials call Jake Scott for a false start instead. I think either way would’ve been an acceptable call.
2/13/CHI 17: Another short pass to….Addai. Gain of 3. If you’re scoring at home, this is the 6th straight time Addai has gotten the ball. Remember what I said about those fresh legs?
3/10/CHI 14: Manning rushes the snap and finds Clark open for 8 yards. Manning rushes the snap because he thinks he’s caught the Bears with too many men on the field. There’s no flag thrown on the play, but before the next snap Dungy decides to challenge. Replay shows Mark Anderson and Ian Scott make it off the field in time.
4/2/CHI 6: Vinny trots out for the 24 yard field goal. The snap is bad but Hunter Smith does a great job of recovering in time to make a good hold. Money. This caps a 7 minute, 34 second drive by the Colts.
Nantz points out some other interesting tidbits:
Of the last 24 plays from scrimmage, 23 have been run by the Colts.
In real time, the Bears have had the ball for one play in the last 56 minutes.
IND 19, CHI 14
1/10/32: Grossman hits Jones over the middle for a nice 14 yard gain. Nantz points out this is the first 1st down for the Bears in nearly two full quarters. Ouch.
1/10/46: Moose Muhammad slips open for a 9 yard gain. He’s covered by Rob Morris, which can’t possibly be what the Colts intended.
2/1/IND 45: Grossman takes the snap and slips, leading to an easy sack and a loss of 11. Booger McFarland unleashed a terrific spin move here, and he was going to sack Grossman no matter what. Huge play.
3/12/44: It’s Grossman time. He fumbles the snap again, but recovers before being touched down by Mathis and Brock. Time to punt. Big stop by the defense.
1/10/36: Although he’s not in the game, CBS mentions Addai has 10 catches so far. He’s one shy of tying the SB record with 20 minutes still to go. On this play Rhodes starts left, cuts back to the middle, and breaks it for 36 yards. Fantastic run.
1/10/CHI 28: Rhodes takes it off tackle for 8 more yards. Daniael Manning makes the tackle but in doing so gets a whole bunch of face mask. Let’s tack 15 more yards onto this run.
1/10/CHI 10: It’s a fade route to Wayne, who makes the catch but is out of bounds. I only mention this play because as Wayne tumbles out of bounds, he sends the cameraman sprawling.
3/10/CHI 10: The Colts go back to the bread and butter run up the middle that produced the game winner against New England, only this time Rhodes is carrying. He looks like he’s going to score, but appears to get tackled by Reggie Wayne. Seriously, Reggie? Gain of 8.
4/2/CHI 2: Vinny nails the 20 yard field goal, and gets dropped in the process. It’s running into the kicker, so it will not be an automatic first down. Dungy elects to keep the points.
IND 22, CHI 14
The kick off is short and John Gilmore returns it for about 10 yards, where he’s hit out of bounds by Darrell Reid. It’s a costly penalty.
At this point, the Colts have ran 63 plays on offense. The Bears? 23.
Nantz mentions Dungy is vying to become the 3rd person to ever win the SB as both a player and a head coach. The others are Tom Flores and Mike Ditka.
2/2/IND 32: Jones follows up his 9 yard gain on 1st down with a 4 yard gain here. It’s Chicago’s 5th first down of the entire game. There’s less than 3 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.
1/10/IND 28: Under heavy pressure by Brock, Grossman throws it to no one in particular. Keep being you, Rex.
3/8/IND 26: Grossman rolls left and makes another terrible throw, this one intended for Desmond Clark. Jason David nearly comes up with an interception. It’s a good thing Grossman got rid of the ball, as Robert Mathis was about to smack him down.
4/8/IND 26: Robbie Gould nails the 44 yard field goal. Nantz points out an interesting fact: Just 18 months prior, Gould was in New England’s camp, where he was mentored by Adam Vinatieri.
IND 22, CHI 17
2/13/29: Manning hits Harrison on a sideline route, he taps his toes, and it’s ruled incomplete. Simms: “I didn’t think he had his feet down.” Dungy knows better, and tosses the challenge flag. He wins. It’s the kind of catch we’ve seen Harrison make time after time. Tremendous catch.
3/2/40: It’s 3rd down, and you know what this means: Reggie Wayne. He breaks free from Peanut Tillman and takes this for an 8 yard gain
End of 3rd quarter
Right now, the Colts lead the time of possession 30:51 to 14:09. They’ve picked up 21 first downs to 5 for the Bears. Yet this game is far from over, right?
The Colts really aren’t able to do anything on this drive. A false start by Ryan Lilja sandwiched around runs of 2 and 5 by Rhodes bring up 2nd and long. Rhodes is up to 82 yards rushing. Addai has 63.
3/8/50: Manning was just about to catch the Bears with too many men on the field when Lovie Smith gets the time out. When play resumes, the Colts throw a wrinkle by lining up both Rhodes and Addai in the backfield. It’s a pass, though. Harrison is open over the middle and…dropped? Replay shows it’s not a drop. Nathan Vasher made a terrific play to knock it free. Worse: the replay shows Harrison’s right leg bending awkwardly backwards as he goes to the ground. He limps off. This is not good.
Hunter Smith’s punt bounces into the end zone for a touchback.
Nantz mentions that despite the statistical dominance of the Colts, this game is very much still in doubt. Shut up, Jim.
1/10/20: Nantz is right. This game is far from over. Jones takes the carry here and breaks it out right for a nice 12 yard gain thanks to a good block by Fred Miller, but….holding, John Tait. Big penalty.
2/14/16: Moose Muhammad finds a spot in the middle and takes Grossman’s pass for a 22 yard gain. He was open enough where he was going to get a 1st down just on the catch, but Antoine Bethea’s tackle “attempt” lets him go for another 5-6.
1/10/38: It’s another double move to the outside by Muhammad, and it’s picked off! Kelvin Hayden snags it like he’s the intended receiver. He cuts back towards the middle, he cuts back towards the sideline, he’s got a convoy leading him, and…touchdown! What an incredibly athletic play by Hayden to keep from going out of bounds. As much as I’d like to give him all of the credit, Grossman deserves some as well. It’s a terrible throw. His receiver never had a chance. Lovie Smith has no choice but to toss the challenge flag and hope Hayden somehow was out of bounds. Replay after replay shows he never was. Touchdown! Fun fact: This is the 36th game Hayden has played during his NFL career, and this was his first interception. Way to make it count, Kelvin.
I know it, you know it, and I suspect Lovie Smith does too: This game is over.
Now, remember about 10 years earlier in this article when I mentioned the DVD collection? Again, this is literally the first time I’ve watched this particular disc. Guess what? After Hayden’s pick, CBS shows some replays, Lovie decides to challenge, CBS shows more replays, Tony Corrente comes back and confirms the TD, and…the disc freezes. Every single time. I am not kidding. It’s like the disc is saying, “Why are you watching this? It’s over.”
IND 29, CHI 17
After a run and two passes pick up a 1st down, the Bears have the ball at their 39
1/10/39: Berrian runs a deep route over the middle and appears open for a second, but Bob Sanders swoops in for the interception.
Sanders returns it 38 yards to the Chicago 41, then makes a statement:
Despite taking over at Chicago’s 14, the Colts don’t do much after a 12 yard run by Addai on the first play. With 9:04 left, the Bears finally sack Manning. After taking a delay of game penalty to give him more room to kick, Hunter Smith forces a fair catch inside the 10 by Hester.
With the Colts conceding the shorter routes, Grossman stats to connect on this drive. and the Bears gain 26 on 3 plays. His first completion puts him at 100 yards passing. Way to go, Rex! In comparison, the Colts have 94 yards of interception returns.
2/2/34: Jones runs right here, and picks up 12. It puts him at 100 yards on 14 carries, making him the first player to top 100 yards against the Colts this post season. About 6 weeks earlier, the Jaguars decimated the Colts with 375 yards rushing. The turnaround has just been amazing. As for Jones, he’s going home a loser today but he ran hard and ran well the entire game.
4/9/47: The Bears have no choice but to go for it here. Grossman has Desmond Clark open, but Matt Giordano unleashes the hit stick and separates Clark from the ball. Tremendous hit. Clark had no idea it was coming.
Not even a minute and a half of game time ago, CBS is lauding the performance by Thomas Jones, but prior to the Colts taking over here Phil Simms unleashes this gem: “The Bears’ best chance to win this game was to run the ball well. They did not do that.” But Phil, you were just…never mind.
This drive is all about Rhodes. He carries it on 8 straight plays, and in the process tops the 100 yard mark. It’s his first 100 yard game since 2001. His last carry is a 1 yard gain that results in a turnover on downs.
The fat lady is all warmed up and waiting for the Bears to fail here.
2/15/34: Jones breaks off another nice run that doesn’t count due to a hold, but this is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is CBS capturing Dungy getting a double Gatorade bath with 23 seconds left. Nantz mentions their conversation about Dungy possibly becoming the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl: “I may be the first. That doesn’t mean I deserve to be.” He makes a great point.
3/3/46: Grossman finds Clark…Cato June is there…it’s over!
Bob Lamey has the final word: “The Colts are World Champions!”
IND 29, CHI 17
Post game stuff:
Unbelievable. They finally did it. For someone like me who became a fan when the team moved to our fine state, it was hard to fathom what had just happened. Forget about winning Super Bowls, there were a lot years where a successful season for the Colts meant not losing 13 games. So many lopsided defeats, so many crushing losses, all wiped away on a rainy night down in Miami. I can’t lie. When it came time for the trophy presentation, I shed tears of joy. I know I wasn’t alone in this. This was more than a win by the Indianapolis Colts. This was a win for the entire state, and a win for every fan who ever suffered for this team.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reliving this with me. It was a lot of work putting this together, but I think it was worth it. And, in case you’re wondering, the DVD never did work again. I watched the rest of the game on YouTube.
See you soon, Colts fans.