INDIANAPOLIS – The Bears held 28 key players out of Saturday night's preseason game in Indianapolis. But their reserves delivered an inspired performance in a 27-17 comeback win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Bears scored the game's final 20 points to erase a 17-7 second-quarter deficit. The defense scored two touchdowns and Eddy Pineiro made all four of his kicks—two field goals, including a 58-yarder, and two extra points.
The Colts took a 3-0 lead on Adam Vinatieri's 49-yard field goal on the game's opening possession. The kick was set up by Chad Kelly's 36-yard pass to tight end Mo Alie-Cox on the game's first play from scrimmage.
The Bears defense followed by forcing back-to-back three-and-outs, highlighted by third-down sacks by nose tackle Nick Williams and blitzing inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.
The Colts increased their lead to 10-0 on Charcandrick West's 10-yard touchdown run around right end late in the first quarter. Kelly completed 4 of 4 passes for 56 yards on the 7-play, 85-yard drive.
The Bears mustered just five yards on 12 plays in the first quarter, going three-and-out on all four of their possessions.
The Colts were driving for another score when safety Deon Bush made a huge play. As tight end Hale Hentges was being tackled by Kwiatkoski after a short reception, Bush alertly ripped the ball out of Hentges' arms. Bush rolled over, got to his feet and returned the interception 91 yards for a touchdown, cutting back near midfield to avoid Kelly.
The Colts answered, widening the margin to 17-7 on Kelly's 46-yard TD pass to receiver Deon Cain with 3:52 left in the first half. Cain stiff-armed cornerback Michael Joseph to gain separation, caught the ball over the middle and then spun away from Joseph at the 27.
After Cain's touchdown, the Colts held decisive advantages in total yards (242-5) and first downs (13-0).
Running back Ryan Nall then energized the Bears offense, busting loose for a 69-yard gain to the Colts' 21. Nall followed by powering into the end zone for an apparent 4-yard TD run. But the play was negated by a holding penalty on rookie tight end Ian Bunting.
The Bears were eventually forced to settle for Pineiro's 21-yard field goal, cutting the deficit to 17-10 with 1:16 remaining in the half.
In the first half, Chase Daniel completed 3 of 9 passes for 21 yards and a 42.4 passer rating. He was replaced by Tyler Bray to start the second half.
The Bears scored 10 points in a 3:02 span late in the third quarter to grab a 20-17 lead. First, Pineiro drilled a 58-yard field goal, much to the delight of Bears nation.
The Bears extended their lead to 27-17 as rookie tight end Jesper Horsted made a sensational leaping catch in the corner of the end zone with a defender draped all over him for a 17-yard touchdown from Bray midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bears held most of their key players—including all 22 starters—out of Saturday night's game. Those who didn't play on offense included quarterback Mitchell Trubisky; running backs Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery and Mike Davis; receivers Allen Robinson II, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Cordarrelle Patterson; tight ends Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker; and the entire starting line, which is comprised of left tackle Charles Leno Jr., left guard Cody Whitehair, center James Daniels, right guard Kyle Long and right tackle Bobby Massie.
All 11 defensive starters were held out of the game as well: Tackle Akiem Hicks, nose tackle Eddie Goldman and end Bilal Nichols; outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd; inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith; cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara; and safeties Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Nickel back Buster Skrine also did not play.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night in the third game of the preseason.