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Super Bowl XLI Recap: Colts 29, Bears 17

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Colts Win Super Bowl XLI
Matchup of 2 Half-Teams One of Worst

Some of the worst Super Bowls have been played since the turn of the millennium. This one ranks right up there with Baltimore over New York and Pittsburgh over Seattle. At least, unlike the latter, the officials didn't completely ruin this one.

Eight turnovers: five fumbles and three interceptions. Complete special teams incompetence for Indianapolis, complete third-down incompetence for both teams, complete quarterbacking incompetence for Chicago. A botched extra point. It went on and on.

Ultimately, the league and the media had their dreams handed to them .. I mean, fulfilled. The Colts walked away against a completely over-matched team and Poster Boy defaulted as Most Valuable Player.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting 17 - - - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting 29

It was a terrible, awful running defense against an awful, horrible quarterback.

Chicago may have had a chance, as Devin Hester scored on the game's opening kickoff, but the Colts got back into it when Peyton Manning found Reggie Wayne wandering through the Bears secondary with no defender within 20 yards. If the safety (Todd Johnson?) had at least covered Wayne, the pass may have been incomplete, and the Colts would have had to punt. Instead, it ended up 7-6 after Indy botched the extra point.

The broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms made lost of excuses, attributing the lousy play to a steady, but hardly driving rain.

The Chicago defense, like New England's two weeks ago, did its best under the circumstances. They were on the field for two-thirds of the first half, and indeed for the entire game. The Colts dominated time of possession, 38:04 to 21:56 and held a 19:56 to 10:04 edge at halftime. (Speaking of "edge", how's Edgerrin James feeling tonight?)

And those numbers were tempered by Indy allowing Chicago possession late in the game. In a breakdown by quarter, Indy led 9:16 to 5:44, 10:40 to 4:20, 10:55 to 4:05, barely relenting in the closing quarter, 7:13 to 7:47, with the game long sealed.

Rex Grossman was atrocious. His passer rating was 68.3, and he wasn't even that good (but, amazingly enough, it was better than Ben Roethlisberger's, who won Super Bowl XL). His 20 of 28 passes are no indication of his performance. He clearly is not a leader, and you can't win Super Bowls without leaders on the field.

Chicago appeared rudderless. The Bears had four drives in the first quarter, none more than four plays, though one ended in a touchdown, but that thanks to a 52-yard run by Thomas Jones.

Grossman's two interceptions were embarrassing -- very Drew Bledsoe-like. They were just heaved up for grabs, and there were a couple more that were nearly intercepted. Most of his 165 yards came late in the fourth quarter (54, a third of his total, on the last meaningless drive) with the game pretty much over -- also very Bledsoe-like. His 8.25 yards per completion is pathetic.

Jones had a great game, but not when it counted. He accumulated 112 yards on 15 carries (7.5 yard avg) and accounted for most of the Bears legitimate offense. Unfortunately for Chicago, Cedric Benson was injured late in the first quarter, and that likely crippled the Bears overall game plan.

Manning had an efficient game: 17 of 26 for 193 yards in the first half (84.3 rating), 8 of 12 for 54 yards in the second half (total 81.8 rating). Certainly not an MVP performance. Take away the gift 53-yard TD, and Manning was entirely unimpressive, and he wore a scowl and complained about everything to everyone until the clock read 0:00.

The real MVPs for Indianapolis were the running backs, Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, who wore down the Bears defense, torched the clock, and basically won the game. Rhodes had his first 100-yard game in several years, finishing the game with 113 yards on 21 carries (5.4 yard avg) and a touchdown.

Addai was even better: 77 yards on 19 carries (4.1 yard avg) and a team-leading 10 receptions for a team-leading 66 yards. He was everywhere he needed to be, and he bailed out Manning repeatedly.

It's amazing (read: suspicious) how the Colts were able to run so well against excellent run-defending teams, but I'm sure you all know my opinions there.

After kicking to Hester on the opening kickoff, the Colts kicked their other five kickoffs to four other players, avoiding Hester like .. something really bad.

Overall, it was a pretty forgettable Super Bowl -- but not for the media, who will coo incessantly for their hero until who knows when.