Posted: 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013
By Jeff Gray
The Saints held a multi-possession lead for most of the game, but Chicago managed to make things interesting late. Jay Culter hit Brandon Marshall with a two-yard touchdown pass, then Matt Forte scored the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to eight with less than a minute remaining.
The Bears got the ball back with 21 seconds remaining after holding the Saints to a three-and-out, but failed to score.
The Saints moved the ball well in the first quarter, but settled for Garrett Hartley field goals on their opening two possessions. They finally broke into the end zone in the second quarter when Pierre Thomas took a screen pass from Drew Brees for a two-yard score to go up 13-0.
Chicago would answer with an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended in an Alshon Jeffery three-yard touchdown catch from Cutler. Thomas, who finished with 91 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, scored his second touchdown just before halftime on a 25-yard reception from Brees, giving the Saints a 20-7 lead heading into the locker room.
Brees finished with 288 yards through the air, 12 yards short of breaking his own NFL record of nine consecutive 300-yard passing games.
Chicago's best chance to get back into the game came late in the third quarter when they had a first and goal inside the Saint's five-yard line. A costly penalty and three consecutive incomplete passes ended the threat and forced a 27-yard Robbie Gould field goal.
Another promising opportunity for the Bears dried up when Earl Bennett dropped a pass that would have converted a fourth and two from the New Orleans 25-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Bears began the drive in solid position, but couldn't sustain the possession long enough to cash in. A 48-yard field goal on the Saints' next possession pushed the score to 26-10.
As usual, Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham were fantasy standouts on Sunday. Brees went for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Graham had his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game, grabbing ten balls for 135 yards.
Jay Cutler passed for 358 yards and two touchdowns while Alshon Jeffery piled up 218 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The Saints opened as 2½-point favorites, according to Oddshark.com, meaning they easily covered the point spread.
Thursday, Oct. 10, 8:24 p.m. ET: New York vs. Chicago
Sunday, Oct. 13, 4:25 p.m. ET: New Orleans vs. New England