Walter Payton, playing despite the flu, rushed for more than 100 yards for the ninth straight game and scored a touchdown, leading the Chicago Bears past the surprisingly tough Indianapolis Colts, 17-10, in a National Football League game today at Soldier Field.

Calvin Thomas added a three-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to help the Bears (13-1) post an 8-0 home record. Chicago had not beaten the Colts since 1966. The Colts (3-11) lost their sixth straight.

"The most important thing we did today was we did what we had to do to win," said Chicago linebacker Mike Singletary.

Payton scored with 1:53 left in the third quarter, bursting 16 yards up the middle for a 10-3 lead. He had 15 yards on six carries in the first half, but finished with 111 yards.

In the fourth quarter, a Colts punt from their end zone gave the Bears possession on the Indianapolis 45. A grinding drive ended with Thomas' run up the middle for a 17-3 lead with 6:49 left.

The Colts' Albert Bentley returned the kickoff 48 yards to their 49. Two plays later, Mike Pagel threw a 61-yard bomb to Wayne Capers, cutting the lead to 17-10.

Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, starting for the first time in five games, was four of 11 passing for 78 yards in the first half. He finished 11 of 23 for 145 yards. Pagel completed 10 of 24 for 143 yards.