Faster tempo allows Colts, Luck to hold off Bears 29-23

Andrew Luck threw a 35-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton with 3:43 left Sunday to lead the Indianapolis Colts past the Chicago Bears 29-23.

It's the first time the Colts (2-3) defeated the Bears in Indianapolis.

After hearing a clamoring for changes all week, Indy went to the hurry-up offense and Luck made the alterations look good early and late.

When the Colts opened up the passing game and took shots down the field, they were efficient. When they didn't, they bogged down.

The result: Indy had its first halftime lead of the season, 16-13, and when they fell behind midway through the third quarter, the Colts turned up the pace again. This time, Luck needed six plays to move 82 yards -- the last 35 coming on the TD pass to Hilton that gave Indy a 26-23 lead.

Luck finished 28 of 39 with 322 yards and two touchdowns. Hilton had 10 catches for 171 yards.

Brian Hoyer was solid in his third straight start and gave Chicago (1-4) a 23-19 lead by capping a 94-yard drive with a 24-yard TD pass to Jordan Howard to make it 23-19 with 7:04 to go. It was the Bears' longest drive in more than seven years.

Hoyer was 33 of 43 for 397 yards with two touchdowns.

But after a late Bears fumble led to Adam Vinatieri's fifth field goal, Hoyer couldn't convert on fourth-and-8 from Indy's 28-yard line.


When the Colts opted not to take their bye following last week's trip to London, NFL officials were eager to see how Indy performed after such a long trip. The Colts easily passed the test, performing even better than they did against the Jags. Instead of playing catch-up all day, the Colts only trailed twice -- at 3-0 and 23-19. The NFL could use Sunday's result as an example that teams wouldn't necessarily be at a disadvantage if there were more games, or a team, in London.


Frank Gore keeps climbing the NFL's career rushing list. On Sunday, the Colts' feature back passed Jim Brown for No. 9 overall with a 16-yard run late in the first quarter. Brown retired in 1965 with 12,312 yards, a league record that stood for nearly two decades. Gore had 14 carries for 75 yards Sunday, giving him 13,367. In five games, Gore has passed five Hall of Famers and Edgerrin James, the Colts' career rushing leader.


Howard has already established himself as a major force in the Bears' lineup, and he did it again against the Colts. The rookie ran 16 times for 118 yards and caught three passes for 45 yards and a score in his second straight start. Since Jeremy Langford, the starter went down with an ankle injury in Week 3, Howard has posted back-to-back 100-yard games.


Bears: After entering the game without Cutler (thumb), Langford or outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (calf), the only significant injury appeared to be backup cornerback Bryce Callahan, who left in the second half with an injured hamstring.

Colts: Defensive tackle Art Jones (returning from four-game suspension) and running back Robert Turbin (wrist and shoulder) were both inactive. Indy also lost inside linebacker Josh McNary (neck) and cornerback Darius Butler late with an undisclosed injury. Cornerback Patrick Robinson (knee) also left in the second half, but returned for the Bears' final series.