Saints remain undefeated over Bears
CHICAGO - The New Orleans Saints ended their Windy City woes and continued their perfect start to the season with a 26-18 victory over the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Saints had never won in Chicago in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era - losing twice in the regular season and once in the NFC championship game - until Sunday's victory.
The 5-0 Saints - off to their best start since the 2009 season - used a familiar formula to secure the win: tremendous play by Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham and an attacking defense that got on the Jay Cutler-led Bears early and held them off late.
Brees finished 29-of-35 for 288 yards and two touchdowns with 10 of those completions going to Graham, who finished with 135 yards, his fourth consecutive 100-yard game.
Pierre Thomas had nine catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 25-yard screen that put the Saints firmly in control at 20-7. He ran 19 times for 36 yards.
The Saints forced a turnover on the Bears' second possession as safety Malcolm Jenkins sacked Cutler and stripped the ball that Cameron Jordan recovered. Kicker Garrett Hartley then drilled the second of his four field goals.
Cutler kept the Bears (3-2) close but he only led his team into the end zone twice, scoring on a 3-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery, who led the Bears with 10 catches for 218 yards. Brandon Marshall caught a 4-yard TD pass late in the fourth quarter as the Bears fought to get back in the game.
Cutler finished 24 of 33 for 358 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Matt Forte ran 12 times for 55 yards and caught four passes for 40 yards.
Linebacker Curtis Lofton led the Saints defense with nine tackles while safety Kenny Vaccaro had six, including a sack. Jenkins and linebacker David Hawthorne had the other sacks for the Saints.
The Saints now head home to prepare for their next game, at New England on Oct. 13. The Patriots (4-1) lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.