The New Orleans Saints may not have looked great on Sunday afternoon, but they got the job done against the Chicago Bears, winning the Wild Card contest 21-9.
How It Happened
After both team’s opening drives ended in punts, Drew Brees led the Saints down the field on an eight-play drive that ended with a touchdown pass to the returning Michael Thomas to take a 7-0 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter. The Bears were cooking on their next offensive drive, but after Javon Wims dropped a pass in the endzone, New Orleans was able to hold them on a 4th and 4 attempt to keep a 7-0.
The Saints looked to increase their lead but were stopped early in the second quarter after Alvin Kamara came up two yards short of a first down on a 3rd and 11, which led to Lutz missing a 50-yard field goal wide right.
The Bears took advantage of a Taysom Hill fumble later in the quarter and marched down the field and got near the redzone before an unsportsmanlike penalty on Cole Kmet pushed them back. That wound up stalling the drive and Cairo Santos drilled a 36-yard field goal through the uprights to put Chicago on the board.
The score remained 7-3 until the Saints first drive of the second half. It was a methodical 12-play drive that ate up over seven minutes of game time and ended with Brees pitching a pass to Latavius Murray to go up 14-3. After New Orleans forced a three-and-out on defense, a nearly nine-minute drive all but sealed the deal and Alvin Kamara capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
The Saints seemingly were about to go up 28-3 after an 11-play drive that ended with the signature Drew Brees leap coming up just short. The Bears marched down the length of the field and ended the ballgame with Mitch Trubisky finding Jimmy Graham in the endzone for the score as time expired.
Big Number: 1
The biggest takeaway from the Saints game was their defensive performance on third down, with Chicago only converting once on Sunday afternoon. That lone conversion came during the final drive.
Player of the Game: Deonte Harris
Harris had a great afternoon and while he didn’t have a touchdown, he was crucial on third downs and ended the day leading the black and gold in receptions with 7 for 83 yards.
Next Up: NFC Divisional Round Sunday vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Kickoff Sunday at 6:40