Saints Stay Unbeaten, Defeat Bears 26-18
New Orleans scored on their first possession, as Garrett Hartley nailed a 47-yard field goal, capping off a 10-play, 39 yard drive, giving the Saints a 3-0 lead at the 7:42 mark of the first quarter.
Chicago then turned the football over on the very next play from scrimmage, as Saints safety Malcom Jenkins, who was blitzing, stripped Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler of the football, with New Orleans recovering at the Chicago six-yard line.
The Saints were unable to get the football into the end zone, and had to settle for a Hartley 19-yard field goal, making the score 6-0 at the 6:03 mark of the initial period.
New Orleans then scored the first points of the second quarter, and first touchdown of the game at the 6:02 mark of the second period, when quarterback Drew Brees connected with Pierre Thomas on a 2-yard touchdown toss, capping off a 6-play, 72-yard drive, and extending the lead to 13-0.
The Bears were able to get on the scoreboard for the first time at the 2:47 mark of the second quarter, when quarterback Jay Cutler hit Alshon Jeffrey with a 3-yard touchdown pass, cutting the New Orleans lead to 13-7.
The Saints came right back and scored, right before the end of the half, with Brees and Thomas hooking-up for another touchdown, this time on a 25-yard screen pass, giving them a 20-7 advantage with only :32 remaining in the half.
New Orleans took that lead into the locker room, out-gaining Chicago, in terms of total yards in the first half, 222-181, with Brees completing 17-of-20 first half passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Tight end Jimmy Graham had a big first half, catching seven passes for 106 yards.
The only scores of the third quarter came as the two teams exchanged field goals, with Hartley hitting his third of the day, a 36-yarder for the Saints, with Robbie Gould connecting on a 27-yarder for the Bears, giving the Saints a 23-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Hartley kicked home his fourth field goal of the afternoon, this one from 48 yards away, giving New Orleans a 26-10 lead at the 3:06 mark of the final quarter.
Chicago wouldn’t go away without a fight however, going 82 yards on 4 plays, and scoring on a 2-yard pass from Cutler to Brandon Marshall, and after a successful two-point conversion, the Bears had cut the New Orleans lead to 26-18, with just over two minutes remaining.
The ensuing onside kick attempt was recovered by the Saints however, who held on for the eight-point win, and their fifth-consecutive victory to begin 2013.
Chicago actually out-gained New Orleans, in terms of total yards, 434-347, but were minus two in the turnover margin, and lost the time of possession battle,36:00/24:00
Brees finished the game completing 29-of-35 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints, with Graham ending the afternoon with 10 catches for 135 yards.
In a losing cause for the Bears, Cutler completed 24-of-33 passes for 358 yards, with ten of those passes for 218 yards going to Alshon Jeffery.
With the win, New Orleans improved to 5-0, while Chicago dropped to 3-2.
The Saints will travel to face the New England Patriots next Sunday.