The New Orleans Saints’ defense deserves the credit for the win against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Oct. 29. The Saints’ biggest liability over the last few seasons has been the reason that they have now won five games in a row. It has been a long time since New Orleans has been able to rely on its defense to help win games instead of worrying that it would let games get away.
In fact, it was the offense that nearly lost the game, with running back Mark Ingram fumbling twice on consecutive positions in the fourth quarter, nearly helping Chicago get the win.
Ultimately, the Bears’ mistakes were one of the biggest factors that cost them a chance to defeat the Saints. On New Orleans’ opening drive, Chicago stopped the Saints and forced a field-goal attempt, but a Bears’ player was in the neutral zone, which give the Saints a first down.
New Orleans used the new set of downs to score the first touchdown of the day, as rookie running back Alvin Kamara broke a few tackles to get into the end zone. Chicago answered back with a field goal in the second quarter to cut the Saints’ lead to 7-3.
As the game neared halftime, the Saints’ offense got on track again with Ingram capping off an eight-play drive with a touchdown to go up 14-3. Chicago tried to get a score before halftime, but a field-goal attempt flew wide left, leaving the Saints with a 14-3 lead at the break.
Trubisky and the Bears thought they had a touchdown late in the third quarter when the rookie quarterback found tight end Zach Miller. A replay review overturned the touchdown, though, forcing Chicago to kick another field goal to cut the Saints’ lead to 14-6 with over 20 minutes left in the game.
New Orleans kicked a field goal to go up 17-6, which set up a would-be wild finish, which the Saints’ defense snuffed out.
Ingram’s first fumble occurred with the Saints leading 17-6. The Bears drove down the field as the Saints’ defense stiffened near its own goal line. Chicago got a break in what seemed to be a phantom facemask penalty on New Orleans, which set the Bears up for a touchdown to cut deficit to 17-12.
That left the Saints clinging to a 17-12 lead late in the fourth quarter when Ingram fumbled on the second New Orleans possession in a row. The Saints’ defense was able to hold Chicago’s offense to just nine yards on four plays to force a turnover on downs.
The next Saints drive saw Wil Lutz kick a field goal to extend their lead to 20-12, leaving the Bears in need of a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Bears return man Tarik Cohen broke free for a 46-yard return, with an additional 15 yards due to a horse-collar tackle on Lutz.
Chicago started the drive with first down at the Saints’ 43 yard line with one minute and 35 seconds left in the game. The Bears then had a false start and a play for no gain. On second down, Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore picked off Chicago rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky to seal the win for the Saints.
The victory gave the Saints their first five-game winning streak since 2013. Quarterback Drew Brees also had a landmark moment, as he completed 23 of 28 passes for 299 yards and became the fastest player to 6,000 completions by reaching the achievement in his 240th game. Ingram finished the game with 75 rushing yards on 18 carries, and wide receiver Michael Thomas finished with 77 receiving yards on seven catches to lead the Saints’ ground and air game.
New Orleans will try to win their sixth game in a row this Sunday, Nov. 5, against NFC South foe Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game will air on FOX at noon.