If the Colts thought Matt Forte was tough to tackle, wait until they get a load of this guy.

If the Colts thought Matt Forte was tough to tackle, wait until they get a load of this guy.

Somebody forgot to tell the Indianapolis Colts the preseason is over. Sunday’s 29-13 shellacking from the Bears was the team’s most embarrassing defeat since the Jacksonville debacle in 2006 – when the Jaguars ran for 375 yards in a 44-17 trouncing.

“We certainly haven’t had one like that in a long time, where we got that soundly outplayed,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “It’s disappointing, disappointing to have opening night go like that.”

While it’s too soon to panic, Sunday’s loss was revealing. Most importantly, the Colts couldn’t run and couldn’t stop the run – a well-known recipe for disaster. All in all, they were soft.

The Bears pilled up 183 yards on 39 carries with a rookie – Matt Forte – leading the way in the backfield. Forte shredded the Colts for 123 yards, consistently giving new starting quarterback Kyle Orton manageable second-down distances. As a result Chicago converted 10-of-16 third-down conversions. Orton was the anti-Rex Grossman – efficient, smart, and turnover free.

Meanwhile, the Colts’ were completely one-dimensional offensively; throwing 49 times, while running just 15. Just like the game that ended their campaign last year, the Colts had no success the few times they did run, gaining 53 yards. They had just 44 rushing yards in last season’s playoff loss to the Chargers.

“We always expect to go out and run the football,” Colts running back Dominic Rhodes said. “I believe that if you’re on any team and you’re in this league, you’ve got to expect that whatever you do at your position, you have to be able to be dominant and today, we just didn’t do that.”

The Colts had a costly turnover, allowed a safety, dropped potential interceptions, and wasted timeouts – but those things will happen. The bottom line is, Indianapolis must improve in the trenches, or it will be a long season.

To pour salt on the wound, the injury bug continued to plague the Colts. Dallas Clark (knee) and Joseph Addai(head) both left the game with injuries.

All in all, it was a disastrous season-opener for the Colts in their new stadium, but there were a few bright spots. The Colts’ makeshift offensive line did a relatively nice job of protecting Peyton Manning, who was sacked only two times in 49 drop backs. Manning took a few good licks from the Bears, but never arose gimpy – another good sign. Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, and Marvin Harrison (aside from his costly fumble) all looked good, each explosive and effective.

Indianapolis won’t have to wait long to redeem itself in the trenches, as they travel to Minnesota on Sunday. The Vikings will drool when they watch the film of the Bears manhandling the Colts at the line of scrimmage and will come out with a similar gameplan. If the Colts don’t balance the offense and get tough up front, expect a similar result against Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.

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