CHICAGO (AP) — That Drew Brees-to-Jimmy Graham connection for New Orleans was simply too much for the Chicago Bears.
Brees threw two landing passes, Graham tied an NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE record with another 100-yard game and the Saints beat the Has 26-18 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.
Brees was 29-of-35 passing for 288 yards in his first victory in four career games at Soldier Field. Garrett Hartley matched a career high with four field goals as Brand new Orleans (5-0) picked up its initial win in Chicago since the 31-10 victory on Oct. 8, 2000.
Graham continued his torrid start for the Saints, catching 10 balls for 135 yards in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game — matching an NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE record for a tight end. Tony a2z Gonzalez was the first to accomplish the particular streak in 2000, and Graham matched the surge in 2011.
Hartley’s third field objective gave the Saints a 23-7 lead with 8: 03 still left in the third, but Robbie Gould responded with a 27-yarder for the Has. Chicago was driving in the 4th quarter when Earl Bennett slipped a fourth-down pass deep within New Orleans territory to give the ball back to the Saints with 8: 40 to go.
Trailing 26-10 with three minutes still left, Jay Cutler led the Has on one last scoring drive. This individual passed to Brandon Marshall for any 2-yard TD, and Matt Stand out point ran it in for the 2-point conversion.
The Has got the ball back with 21 seconds left and no timeouts. Cutler then passed to Alshon Jeffery in the middle of the field for twenty one yards, but time expired before they could run another play.
Cutler was 24 associated with 33 for 358 yards plus two touchdowns for Chicago (3-2), which has lost two in a line after a perfect start. Jeffery had 10 receptions for a career-high 218 yards and a score.
It took a while for Brees to get started, but New Orleans’ protection made sure he had plenty of time to get heated up.
The Saints sacked Cutler twice while limiting the particular Bears to one first down in the first quarter. Chicago had simply 51 yards when it got the particular ball back with 5: 57 left in the first half.
After two field targets by Hartley — including a 19-yard chip shot after Cutler fumbled on a sack by Malcolm Jenkins deep in Chicago territory — Brees started to find his rhythm. He connected with Graham on move plays of 29 and 38 yards to get New Orleans towards the 7 with 7: 23 still left in the half.
This time around, the Saints got into the end zone.
Brees rolled out on second down and flipped the particular ball to Pierre Thomas, who also fought through D. J. Williams’ tackle attempt and extended his right arm over the goal range for the 2-yard touchdown that managed to get 13-0 with 6: 02 outstanding.
Brees’ 11th landing pass of the season seemed to get up the Bears, who responded with a seven-play, 80-yard drive. Cutler made a beautiful throw into double insurance coverage for a 31-yard pass to Jeffery, and then found Jeffery again for any 3-yard TD.
However the Bears gave the ball back to Brees with 2: 41 still left in the half, plenty of time for the celebrity QB to direct another rating drive. Thomas had a big 2-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Chicago 27, and then went 25 yards for the score on a screen play with thirty-two seconds remaining.
Thomas’ second TD reception made it 20-7 and was the result of a perfect call by coach Sean Payton, who nevertheless has a deft touch when it comes to play-calling after missing last season due to the bounty scandal. Thomas captured the ball in the flat with a couple of blockers in front of him, plus cut back around the 10-yard line to obtain the end zone.
Brees was 17 for 20 with regard to 195 yards at halftime, which includes seven receptions for 106 yards for Graham. The Saints had just 34 yards rushing in the break, but it hardly mattered with Brees operating with his usual accuracy.
The Bears had only 24 yards on the ground in halftime, a much bigger problem for an offense that relies on a balance associated with run and pass plays to work. They finished with 94 yards rushing.
NOTES: The particular Saints also won a road game against the Bears in 2002, but that victory came in Champaign because Soldier Field was being renovated…. Bears DT Nate Collins harm his left knee in the 3rd quarter and did not return…. Has DT Stephen Paea was non-active due to a toe injury. Landon Cohen got the start just 10 days after he was signed off waivers…. Bears TE Martellus Bennett has been shaken up after he has been upended in the second quarter, yet returned to the game…. WR Puncture Moore (right hand injury), RB Mark Ingram (toe), S Roman Harper (knee) and DL Brodrick Bunkley (calf) were among the inactives for the Saints.
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