Colts claim Super Bowl title
The high-flying Colts secured their first NFL title since moving to Indianapolis by throwing early and often against a Bears defense that looked almost nothing like their previously-dominant selves, beating Chicago 38-27 in Super Bowl XLI.
Peyton Manning finally shook the label of "big-game choker" for once and for all, leading scoring drives of 81, 78, 76 and 71 yards while throwing for three touchdowns. His lone mistake was an interception late in the second quarter that led to a Chicago field goal, but otherwise the Colts' signal-caller was near-flawless, completing 28 of 36 passes and deftly managing the Indianapolis offense against a team that exhibited a stifling defense earlier in the season.
Manning got the Colts off to a roaring start by leading the team 76 yards down the field following the opening kickoff, ending the drive with a 17-yard strike to Marvin Harrison to put Indy on top early, 7-0. After the Bears picked up a couple of first downs before being forced to punt, the Colts moved down to the Chicago 25 for an Adam Vinatieri field goal to up the lead to 10-0.
Chicago responded with a nice drive as the oft-maligned Rex Grossman, who was solid for most of the day, picked up a couple key third-down conversions with nice completions. Thomas Jones capped the effort with a 12-yard run up the middle for the touchdown, but the Colts bounced right back with an 81-yard drive that ended with Joseph Addai's TD romp around right end.
Trailing 17-7, Chicago moved downfield and got a Robbie Gould field goal, and after Manning misfired a pass into the hands of Bears DB Nathan Vasher, the Bears needed only 15 yards to get into field goal range and boot a kick with three second left in the half to cut the Indianapolis lead to 17-13 at the break.
Chicago took the lead for the first time in the third quarter as the Bears moved 73 yards in just five plays, with Grossman finding Muhsin Muhammad from 23 yards away to give his team a 20-17 lead. The Colts were undaunted, however, and struck twice in a row, as Manning hit Dallas Clark for a 36-yard score just three minutes later, and then hooked up with Reggie Wayne for a 32-yard TD pass to make it 31-20 after the Bears punted.
Bernard Berrian made a circus catch of a Grossman pass for a six-yard score just three minutes into the fourth period to pull the Bears to within four, but after the teams traded punts, Manning and the Colts milked the clock on a 12-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Addai's second TD of the game. The Bears turned the ball over on downs deep in Colts territory on their ensuing drive, giving Indy the chance to run out the clock and celebrate their championship.
The Super Bowl game was simulated through the EA SPORTS Madden game engine in a CPU versus CPU format. The Madden game engine includes a multitude of variables, including real team playbooks, coach tendencies based on official NFL scouting reports, current rosters updated daily, and artificial player intelligence based on player rankings, scheme reactions, and individual and team matchups, and more.