The Chicago Bears were hoping to pull off an upset against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but it wasn't in the cards as the home team scored a 21-9 victory at the Superdome.
The playoff loss is the third straight defeat for the Bears in postseason play.
By virtue of their win, the Saints will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Round next week. The top-seeded Green Bay Packers, who had a bye week this week, will welcome the Los Angeles Rams to Lambeau Field.
The Saints got Michael Thomas back from injured reserve for the playoff opener, and he made an immediate impact in the first quarter, finding a soft spot in the Bears’ secondary and driving forward into the end zone to give the Saints a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes of action.
After a missed field goal by the Saints in the second quarter, the Bears got the ball back deep in New Orleans territory. Their offense, as was the story throughout the game, couldn’t get anything going, and the Bears were forced to settle for a short field goal to cut New Orleans’ lead to 7-3.
The Bears had the ball late in the second quarter and to start the third quarter, but were unable to get anything going on either drive, settling for a series of short plays that failed to move the ball down the field.
Later in the third quarter, the Saints put together an impressive 12-play, 85-yard drive that was capped off by a catch by Latavius Murray, with the running back bulldozing his way to the end zone for the touchdown. The Will Lutz extra point made it a 14-3 game with four minutes left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Saints put together their second straight long drive, racking up 15 plays for 64 yards. Alvin Kamara, who missed last week’s game after testing positive for coronavirus, dove into the end zone for the touchdown, giving New Orleans a 21-3 advantage.
From there, the Saints were able to grind down the clock, getting a few key plays and a big third-down penalty on the Bears that extended the drive. Saints quarterback Drew Brees tried to dive for the end zone on fourth down, and while officials called the play a touchdown initially, video review showed that the nose of the football was short of the line, giving the ball to the Bears on the turnover.
The Bears did get a late touchdown as the clock expired, with Jimmy Graham hauling in a one-handed catch to seal the final 21-9 score.
Here are the latest headlines from the Superdome:
6:30 p.m.: Alvin Kamara Scores Touchdown, Gives Saints Larger Lead
The Saints continue to pound the Bears on offense, with Alvin Kamara scoring a touchdown on a leaping play at the goal line to put New Orleans ahead 21-3.
6:02 p.m.: Saints Lead 14-3 After Three Quarters
The Bears' awful performance on offense has continued, as the team is now 0-for-8 on third down in the game.
The Saints now lead 14-3 after three quarters, and the Bears' season is on the line.
5:52 p.m.: Latavius Murray Scores, Giving Saints 14-3 Lead in 3rd Quarter
After a 12-play, 85-yard scoring drive, the Saints score as Drew Brees dumps off a pass to running back Latavius Murray, and he makes the rest happen as he scampers into the end zone.
The drive was allowed to continue after Bears safety Eddie Jackson committed an offside penalty on a fourth down play, giving the Saints a first down and fresh life.
5:36 p.m.: Anthony Miller Ejected From Game After 3rd Quarter Penalty
Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller has been ejected from Sunday's game after throwing a punch at Saints defender CJ Gardner-Johnson.
If Bears fans will recall, Gardner-Johnson was also involved in a confrontation earlier this season with receiver Javon Wims, who was also ejected for throwing a punch at the safety.
5:28 p.m.: Sherrick McManis, DeAndre Houston-Carson Leave Bears-Saints Game With Injuries
The Chicago Bears have announced that defensive backs Sherrick McManis and DeAndre Houston-Carson will both miss the remainder of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints due to injuries.
Houston-Carson suffered a concussion in the game, and McManis is down with a hamstring injury, according to the team.
5:16 p.m.: Bears Trail 7-3 at Halftime
The Bears opt to run three consecutive running plays, and after offsetting penalties on a punt attempt, the game will head to halftime with the score still 7-3.
5:08 p.m.: Saints Punt Ball Away Near Midfield, Bears to Get Two-Minute Drill Going
The Bears will have an opportunity to potentially put more points on the board before halftime, as the Saints punted the ball away near midfield.
5:03 p.m.: Saints Marching Down Field at 2-Minute Warning
The Saints are down to the Bears' 44-yard line with two minutes to go in the half, with Michael Thomas hauling in a six-yard catch just before the stoppage in play.
The Bears have four first downs and 95 yards of offense so far in the game. The Saints, meanwhile, have 11 first downs in the contest.
4:43 p.m.: Bears Settle for Field Goal, Trail 7-3
The Bears are shut down fairly quickly by the Saints, with New Orleans getting the benefit of a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Cole Kmet.
Even so, Cairo Santos drills through a field goal, and it's 7-3 about a under halfway through the second quarter.
4:38 p.m.: Tashaun Gipson Tips Taysom Hill Pass, Picked Off By Bears
The Bears go three-and-out, then get the ball right back as Tashaun Gipson Sr. tips a pass from Taysom Hill, with John Jenkins hauling in the tipped ball near the line of scrimmage.
4:31 p.m.: Will Lutz Misses Kick, Bears Trailing in Second Quarter
Duke Shelley appeared to pick off Drew Brees in the second quarter of the game, but video review overturned the play, with officials saying the nose of the football came in contact with the turf before Shelley gathered full control of the ball.
Will Lutz then steps up for a 50-yard field goal attempt, and he misses wide right.
4:18 p.m.: Bears' Fail on 4th Down Conversion, Still Trail 7-0
The Bears got a great catch from Javon Wims to set up shop at the Saints' 41-yard line, but they could go no further. Wims dropped a surefire touchdown pass in the end zone a few plays later, and Mitchell Trubisky was stopped short of the first down line on fourth down, turning the ball over on downs.
4:03 p.m.: Saints Score on Second Drive, Take 7-0 Lead
The Bears' defense has looked a bit shaky in the early going, and a zone scheme is picked apart by Drew Brees, as he finds Michael Thomas for an 11-yard touchdown pass. 7-0 Saints with five minutes to go in the first quarter.
2:30 p.m.: Bears, Saints Announce Inactives for Sunday’s Game
The Chicago Bears already knew they would be without linebacker Roquan Smith and wide receiver Darnell Mooney for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, but the team will also be without cornerbacks Buster Skrine and Jaylon Johnson for the playoff contest.
Skrine, who remains in the league’s concussion protocol, will be unable to help a Bears’ secondary that faces a stiff challenge against the Saints’ talented wide receiver corps. Johnson, who is still nursing a shoulder injury, will also be unavailable for the game, and he would have likely drawn some assignments against Saints wideout Michael Thomas, who is returning to the field after being activated from injured reserve this weekend.
Smith, who injured his elbow in Week 17 against the Packers, had already been ruled out, as had Mooney, who injured his ankle in that game.
Outside linebacker Trevis Gipson, nose tackle Daniel McCullers and offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons were all listed as inactive for the Bears.
Linebacker Manti Te’o, activated from the team’s practice squad this weekend, is active and available for Sunday’s game against the Saints.
The Saints will officially have running back Alvin Kamara back for Sunday’s game after he missed Week 17 following a positive COVID-19 test. Wide receiver Michael Thomas has also been activated from injured reserve, and he will be on the field Sunday for the Saints’ playoff opener.
Defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who leads the Saints in sacks this season, will not play in the game, the team announced. Cornerback Ken Crawley, offensive lineman Derrick Kelly, wide receivers Austin Carr and Juwan Johnson, defensive lineman Malcolm Roach and running back Ty Montgomery are all inactive for the Saints.
9:30 a.m.: Report: Trubisky ‘Has a Lot to Prove' if He is to Return as Bears' Quarterback Next Season
The Chicago Bears are busy preparing for an NFC Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but according to a new report, the team is also casting an eye to its future when it comes to their quarterback position.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bears could be leaning against bringing back quarterback Mitchell Trubisky next season, barring a lengthy playoff run this January.
During a hit on NFL Network’s Sunday pregame show, Rapoport explained that there are several factors working against Trubisky, including the declining of his fifth year option by the Bears and the fact that he was benched this season, and that the team, while not making a decision yet, isn’t necessarily preparing to bring him back into the fold in 2021.