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3-and-out: Bears vs. Saints

Published: Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

3 Quotes

1. Sean Payton on defending Jay Cutler: “From a schematic standpoint, we did a few things that really helped us. We got home on a number of pressures where there was an unblocked guy four or five times and we got some sacks.”

2. Tim Jennings on Drew Brees: “He’s a smart quarterback. He didn’t force anything. That’s why we weren’t able to get any takeaways.”

3. Martellus Bennett on his post-catch flip: “It was all right. I mean, it probably looked cool on TV, but I’m all right. I made the play and that’s what matters. … I did gymnastics as a little kid, so I finished the flip.”

3 things that worked

1. Alshon Jeffery — For the second game in a row, Jeffery made some acrobatic catches and was Jay Cutler’s top target. He finished with 10 catches for 218 yards – a Bears record – on 13 targets, including a touchdown.

2. Run defense — Despite being undermanned at defensive tackle, the Bears held up well against the run, holding the Saints to 66 yards on 28 carries, a measly average of 2.4 yards a carry. The Saints’ longest run of the day went for nine yards. Lance Briggs led the effort with 14 tackles, three for a loss.

3. Red-zone defense — Things could have gone worse for the Bears if the Saints took better advantage of turnovers. Instead, New Orleans was only 1 for 3 in scoring touchdowns when inside the Bears’ 20-yard line, while Garrett Hartley finished with four field goals.

3 that didn’t

1. Containing Pierre — The Bears didn’t do a great job against Jimmy Graham, but who does? No one expected Thomas to have a big day, though, as he caught all nine passes thrown his way for 55 yards, including two touchdowns.

2. First-quarter offense — On the first play of the game, Matt Forte fumbled a toss, which he recovered for a 10-yard loss. On the first play of the next series, Cutler was strip-sacked, and the Saints recovered. The Bears had 28 total yards in the first quarter on 10 plays with one first down.

3. Controlling time of possession — The offensive stats were pretty similar, believe it or not, and the Bears actually outgained the Saints by 87 yards, but New Orleans dominated time of possession. They held the ball for 12 minutes longer than the Bears and had three drives lasting longer than 5:20 – the Bears had only one.

3 moments that mattered

1. The Saints responded to the Bears’ seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with a deflating end-of-half score to go into the locker room up 20-7. The Bears blitzed from the strong side, but New Orleans had a screen play set up in the other direction. Drew Brees got it to Thomas with plenty of green in front of him, and he ran 25 yards for a crucial score.

2. In the third quarter, trailing by 16, the Bears had the ball first-and-goal at the Saints’ four-yard line. Kyle Long was flagged for ineligible man downfield, costing the Bears five yards. Backed up to the nine-yard line, Cutler threw three incomplete passes in a row, and the Bears had to settle for a field goal.

3. To start the fourth quarter, the Bears were deep in their own territory, but ran the ball for 49 yards in a long drive, getting to the Saints’ 25-yard line. On third-and-2, they went to the air, and Cutler’s pass fell incomplete. They then had to spend a timeout before fourth-and-2, when Earl Bennett dropped a pass, ending the drive.

Now what?

Record: 3-2

What it means: With back-to-back losses, the Bears are one of several teams in the NFC with two losses, including the Packers and Lions.

What’s next: It’s a short week for the banged-up Bears, who face the 0-5 Giants, who have been outscored by 100 points this season.

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