Anthony Morgan might not know the difference between a zone and man-to-man defense, but with his speed, it probably doesn’t matter.
On only one play Sunday, the Chicago Bear rookie almost doubled his career reception yardage and doomed the Indianapolis Colts’ hopes for a second consecutive upset.
Morgan hooked up with quarterback Jim Harbaugh for an 84-yard touchdown pass play that helped the Bears beat the Colts, 31-17.
“They were in a zone defense. When I caught the ball, I split the seam, and when you’re playing a zone, things like that happen,” said Morgan, a fifth-round draft pick from Tennessee who entered the game with 90 yards on eight receptions.
“That’s what I want, to go out and prove to the people in the NFL that Anthony Morgan can play football. I’m a 4.3(-second) guy (in the 40-yard dash), and that’s a lot of speed. I want to use it. I just don’t want to be out there with speed and not using it.”
The Colts’ zone defense that Morgan saw, however, wasn’t the one Indianapolis Coach Rick Venturi was looking at.
“We were in man-to-man coverage and blitzing the linebackers,” Venturi said. “Morgan split it and just broke it.”
Harbaugh, who passed for 287 yards, also ran for a touchdown of six yards and passed 13 yards to Brad Muster for another touchdown for the Bears (9-2).
Muster rushed for a season-high 101 yards and scored the final touchdown on a nine-yard run with under two minutes left.
The Colts (1-10), who got their first victory of the season a week earlier against the New York Jets, managed a 10-10 tie at halftime after a fumble set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Jeff George to Jessie Hester.
But the touchdown passes to Muster, his first since 1989, and Morgan, the second of his career and the second in the past two weeks, gave the Bears a 24-10 lead.
“We were excited,” George said. “We thought we could play with these guys. We had the momentum, but they put it to us in the second half and we couldn’t move the ball.
“It’s a sign of a good team, which they are, that they responded.”
The longest Indianapolis drive went 80 yards late in the third quarter, and George gave the Colts their second touchdown on a nine-yard pass to Bill Brooks seven seconds into the final quarter.
George completed 16 of 33 passes for 176 yards but was sacked five times for losses of 36 yards.
“We came out sluggish early, and they were putting quite a bit of pressure on,” George said. “There wasn’t a lot of time out there (to pass). They did that early and continued to do that the whole game.”
Even with Eric Dickerson out for the second game of a three-game suspension, the Colts managed their first 100-yard rushing performance as a team.
Ken Clark, filling in for Dickerson, had 67 yards in 11 carries, and eight rushes by Tim Manoa and George produced another 44 yards for a total of 111.
Before Muster’s final touchdown, the Colts had forced the Bears to punt.
But Indianapolis was penalized for having 12 men on the field, giving Chicago the ball at the Colts’ 43. It took five plays to score.
Mark Green, starting for injured Neal Anderson at running back, fumbled at the Chicago 22 in the first quarter, and the Colts’ Keith Taylor returned the ball to the Bears’ eight.
Two plays later, George passed four yards to Hester for the touchdown, the Colts’ first touchdown in the Hoosier Dome in eight weeks.