The Chicago Bears are talking a good game about not being resigned to their fate, but they didn't show that on the field as they put forth a listless effort in a 31-15 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.
The Bears got the ball to start off the game, but Jay Cutler quickly went into "Bad Jay" mode as he threw an interception on the third play from scrimmage. Fortunately for the Bears, the Saints were in a giving mood and gave the ball right back, as Nick Toon had the ball knocked out of his hands as Brock Vereen put his helmet on the ball to force a fumble that Jared Allen recovered.
On their next drive, the Bears got things going with the run as Matt Forte picked up the first down, but they inexplicably abandoned it a few plays later and it cost. Them. Cutler tried throwing for a first down on a third-and-one play, but his pass fell incomplete and forced Pat O'Donnell to come out to punt the ball away.
The Saints converted on a long screen pass for a first down, but after Drew Brees fumbled a snap, the Bears forced New Orleans into kicking a field goal. Luke McCown fumbled the snap on the first attempt, but a Jared Allen holding penalty gave Shayne Graham another chance. He missed the second field goal attempt from 51-yards out, and the game remained scoreless.
The Bears' offense was once again stymied after a positive start by Forte, but this time it was bad blocking that was the culprit. Cutler was sacked on second down as Kyle Long and Forte miscommunicated on a block, and on the next play Jermon Bushrod blew his block completely as Cutler was sacked again to force the Bears to punt.
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As the first quarter ended, the Saints moved the ball down the field again thanks to another Pierre Thomas screen pass, and on the first play of the second quarter, New Orleans made the Bears pay. On a dump-off pass, tight end Josh Hill found a soft spot in the coverage and scampered into the end zone to make it a 7-0 game.
The Bears went three and out on their next drive, but the Saints weren't able to capitalize on the miscues. Kyle Fuller made the biggest play as he stopped Jimmy Graham well short of a first down, and the Saints punted the ball away.
Not content with their previous failures, the Bears found an even more embarrassing way to end their next drive. After Cutler was sacked again on third down, the Bears attempted a fake punt with a direct snap to Danny McCray, but he was stopped short of the marker. To make matters worse, they were flagged for only having 10 men on the field and only six men on the line of scrimmage, but the Saints wisely declined and got the ball back.
The team traded three and outs on their next drives, but the Saints finally got things going on their last possession of the half. The Bears helped out with plenty of penalites, from Shea McClellin's tripping infraction to an illegal hands to the face flag on Willie Young, and then Brees made them pay as he hit Marques Colston with a touchdown pass with 32 seconds remaining to make it a 14-0 game.
The Bears made two nice plays to get the ball to midfield before halftime, but a Cutler interception on the final play meant that the Bears were once again shut out in the first half and trailed heading into the break.
As the second half got underway, the Saints established a good possession using their passing game, with Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills each receiving passes for first downs. Nick Toon got the ball in close to the goal line, and eventually Josh Hill caught his second touchdown pass of the day as Ryan Mundy blew the coverage to give New Orleans a 21-0 lead.
After yet another Cutler interception, throw into the waiting arms of Pierre Warren for the second time on the evening, and the Saints once again moved down the field. The Saints got in close to the goal line as Toon caught a pass at the two-yard line, but the Bears' defense came up with a couple of huge stops, forcing Shayne Graham to kick a chip-shot field goal to put the Saints up by a 24-0 margin.
The fourth quarter began with the Bears moving the ball with both the pass and the run, as Forte and Josh Morgan each got first downs. Forte caught another screen pass to bring it close to the goal line, and three plays later it was Marquess Wilson scoring his first career touchdown to get Chicago on the board. Martellus Bennett caught the two-point conversion attempt, and the game stood at 24-8.
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After the Saints punted the ball away, the Bears began moving the ball again with Cutler leading the way. A lengthy run on third and long by the quarterback got the first down, but after two more sacks, the Bears were forced to punt the ball away when Wilson was flagged for a false start on fourth and long.
The Saints went three and out again after the Bears made a couple of good stops, but Chicago couldn't take advantage. On a fourth down play, Cutler overthrew a wide open Josh Morgan down the field, turning the ball back over to New Orleans on downs.
Mark Ingram scored a quick touchdown for the Saints to make it a 31-8 game, but the Bears responded with some late fight. Ka'Deem Carey caught two long passes for first downs, and ultimately it was Jeffery getting the touchdown as he snared a dart from Cutler to cut the Chicago deficit to 31-15.
Jay Feely attempted an onside kick late, but the Saints recovered and ran out the clock.
The Bears will continue their slow march to the end of the season when they take on the Detroit Lions Sunday in the home finale at Soldier Field.