Colts win Super Bowl XLI

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

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The Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears in a 29-17 victory at a rain-soaked Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Quarterback Payton Manning was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

Colts coach Tony Dungy became the first African American to coach an American football team to Super Bowl championship, now in its 41st year. He also became the third person, after Mike Ditka and Tom Flores, to win a Super Bowl as both a coach and as a player: Dungy was on the 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers team that won Super Bowl XIII.

Colts coach Tony Dungy

Indianapolis did not look like a winning team early in the game. After Chicago won the coin toss, Devin Hester returned the opening Indianapolis kickoff for a 92 yards for a touchdown, giving Chicago the fastest lead in Super Bowl history.

On the Indianapolis first drive of the game, Peyton Manning threw an interception to Bears defensive back Chris Harris. However, Chicago could not capitalize on the turnover and punted back to Indianapolis.

Manning seemed to get comfortable on the next possession, and burned the Bears defense with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. Indianapolis did not convert the touchdown, after punter/holder Hunter Smith fumbled the snap on the extra point attempt.

This was the first of many weather-induced errors for both teams. Indianapolis's Robert Mathis forced a turnover after Chicago tight end Gabe Reid fumbled Adam Vinatieri's bouncing kickoff. But on the next play, Indianapolis gave it back when running back Joseph Addai fumbled a handoff and defensive end Mark Anderson recovered it.

Chicago scored the next touchdown when Rex Grossman threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to receiver Muhsin Muhammad, giving his team a 14-6 lead. After forcing a punt, Chicago lost another turnover when Cedric Benson's fumble was recovered by Colts lineman Dwight Freeney on the Bears 43-yard line. Indianapolis subsequently advanced to the 36-yard line, but decided to punt rather than risk a 53-yard field goal attempt.

Following a Chicago punt, Indianapolis drove 47 yards and scored with Vinateiri's 29-yard field goal to make the score 14-9. Chicago was forced to punt again on their next drive. On the next Indianapolis drive, Dominic Rhodes took the ball to the end zone with three consecutive carries, the last, a 1-yard touchdown run to give his team a 16-14 lead with 6:09 left in the second quarter.

After another Chicago punt, the Colts advanced to the Bears 36-yard line before defensive back Charles Tillman ended the drive by forcing and recovering a fumble from receiver Bryan Fletcher. But on the next play, Grossman fumble a snap and defensive back Raheem Brock recovered the ball. Manning then led the Colts to Chicago's 17-yard line. With 2 seconds left, Vinateiri attempted a 36-yard field goal, but his kick sailed wide left and the score remained 16-14 at halftime.

Vinatieri redeemed himself in the second half, kicking two field goals in the third quarter to make the score 22-14. Chicago kicker Robbie Gould made a 44-yard field goal to cut the score to 22-17, but they were the last points Chicago would score in the game. On Chicago's next drive, Colts defensive back Kelvin Hayden intercepted a pass intended for Muhsin Muhammad and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown, to make the score 29-17.

The Colts managed to tame the Bears offense for the remainder of the game. Colts defensive back Bob Sanders intercepted Grossman's pass on the next Chicago drive. After trading possessions, Chicago got the ball back one last time with 1:42 in regulation, but it was not enough for Grossman.

Rhodes finished with 113 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Addai rushed for 77 yards and caught 10 passes for 66 yards. Wilkins returned 4 kickoffs for 183 yards and 3 punts for 42 yards. Jones was the Bears top rusher with 112 yards, while also catching 4 passes for 18 yards. Tight end Desmond Clark was the Bears top receiver with 6 receptions for 64 yards. Grossman completed 20 of 28 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, with 2 interceptions. The Colts finished with 430 total net yards while the Bears only had 265.

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