Chicago ended up with only 19 rushing attempts, 12 fewer than their regular-season average.
"It's not that they really controlled our running game," said Jones. "We just couldn't really get into a rhythm. We didn't convert on third downs. That's the major thing that hurt us in the game on offense."
And Cedric Benson's first Super Bowl appearance turned out to be one to forget.
The Bears' second-year running back left the game in the first quarter when he injured his left knee on a 4-yard run. It was Benson's second carry of the game. On the first, Benson fumbled when he was hit by safety Bob Sanders, and Dwight Freeney recovered for the Colts.
Incidentally, Bears tackle John Tait also was slow to get up on the play where Benson was injured, but he stayed in the game.
Where'd ya go?Bears rookie Devin Hester should not have been surprised the Colts kicked away from him after he returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, but that didn't make it any less difficult to handle.
"It's very frustrating," he said. "It can't get any better than this; the NFL is the highest football there is. For teams to kick away from you is very hard to take."
On one kickoff return, Hester lined up in front of deep man Rashied Davis and the two quickly switched places as Adam Vinatieri approached the ball. But backup running back Adrian Peterson wound up fielding that kickoff.
On his only kickoff return, Hester became the first player to open a Super Bowl with a touchdown.
"It was just setting up the blocks," Hester said. "My teammates always do that, they made great blocks. It wasn't anything more than just hitting it up in there and trying to get to the end zone."
The 430 yards allowed by the Bears represented the most yards they'd given up all season, except for the Monday night game at St. Louis, when they allowed 433.
"We just couldn't make the plays we needed to make and we didn't do a good job of tackling," said linebacker Brian Urlacher. "We played the Cover Two, and one of the weaknesses of a Cover Two defense is the checkdowns, and Peyton (Manning) knows that and he executed well. He threw a lot of checkdowns, but really we needed to do a better job of tackling."
The Bears turned their thoughts to next year right after the game, and cornerback Charles Tillman provided himself with a little extra motivation by staying on the field and watching the Colts' postgame celebration.
"I wanted to see what it looked like because I obviously don't know what it feels like," Tillman said. "Disappointment is my personal trainer. The feeling that I have right now is more than enough to motivate me so that we can get back and win the Super Bowl."
The guys from Chicago weren't about the blame the weather for their sloppy performance.
Said wide receiver Bernard Berrian: "We get nasty weather in Chicago. This is nothing for us."
Missed you Backup linebacker Rod Wilson, who sustained a hamstring injury, during the Bears' Friday practice, was inactive for the first time since being promoted from the practice squad on Sept. 26.
Odds and ends The Bears failed to get a first down on their last four possessions of the first half. ... Bears WR Muhsin Muhammad became the third player to score Super Bowl touchdowns with two different teams. He joined Ricky Proehl and Jerry Rice. ... The Bears became the 14th different losing team in the last 14 Super Bowls.
Sweetness Walter Payton still holds a special place in the hearts of Bears fan.
Fans held up a sign with a picture of Payton that read, "This one is for Walter."
Emotional support The Bears had a decided advantage in terms of crowd support, and any showing of a Chicago player or highlights on the high-definition scoreboard drew loud cheers.
When team captains were introduced before the pregame coin toss, Muhammad was greeted with a loud "Moooooose."