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(Sunday, September 18th)
Final Score: New Orleans 30, Chicago 13
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees completed 26-of-37 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns, as New Orleans trounced Chicago, 30-13, at the Superdome.
Devery Henderson notched 103 yards and a score on three receptions for the Saints (1-1). Mark Ingram ran for 51 yards, while Darren Sproles posted eight receptions for 43 yards and a TD. It was an impressive performance despite the absence of wide receiver Marques Colston, inactive due to a shoulder/collarbone injury.
"Obviously, it was an important win for us," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. "I thought our energy and our effort overcame some of the early mistakes we made and I thought as that game wore on we started really gaining the momentum and getting the pressure defensively and converting the third downs we needed to offensively."
Jay Cutler connected on just 19-of-45 passes for 244 yards and was sacked six times for the Bears (1-1), who routed Atlanta in last week's opener.
"It was a long day out there," Cutler admitted. "I had to throw a lot of balls before I wanted to. The Saints were just the better team today. They kept coming at me hard and forced our offense to do things we didn't want to do."
Matt Forte totaled 117 yards on 10 receptions and contributed 49 yards on 10 carries in the setback as Chicago played without wide receiver Roy Williams, who was sidelined with a groin injury.
Chicago's opening drive of the second half moved 46 yards and Robbie Gould pulled the Bears within 16-13 on a 38-yard make.
That was as close as the visitors came to tasting victory. After the Saints were forced to punt on their ensuing possession, Cutler was sacked, lost control of the football and Jonathan Vilma recovered for New Orleans at the Chicago 29-yard line.
Five plays in, Brees and Robert Meachem hooked up for a four-yard score and 23-13 contest.
New Orleans assumed a comfortable 30-13 margin on an 87-yard drive covering 14 plays between the third and fourth quarters, but not without a bit of controversy.
On 3rd-and-2 from the Bears' 12, Brees found Sproles on the right side, and he appeared to have beaten his tacklers on his way to the near pylon. However, replays following the extra point seemed to indicate Sproles' right foot partially out of bounds on the one. There was no challenge from the Chicago sideline.
Chicago failed to move the ball for the remainder of the contest, punting three times and Cutler was sacked on a 4th-and-24 from the Bears' 41.
Dane Sanzenbacher's first NFL touchdown, an eight-yard connection from Cutler, put the Bears on the board with less than seven minutes to play in the opening quarter.
New Orleans countered on its next drive, thanks to a 31-yarder by John Kasay, and the Saints forged ahead early in the second quarter after a Chicago three-and-out when Brees hit Henderson downfield and he ran the rest of the way for a 79-yard touchdown.
"You need time for Devery to gain ground and get through there," Brees said of that particular TD pass. "You try not to keep that ball in the air too long. There's a lot of trust in that throw, and a lot of trust in Devery."
Kasay made a 29-yarder inside of six minutes left in the half for a 13-7 Saints lead, then connected from 53 yards out. Gould made a 42-yarder on the final play of the quarter and it was 16-10 New Orleans at the break.
New Orleans racked up 382 yards of total offense to 246 for the Bears...Chicago had beaten New Orleans in three previous meetings, including a 27-24 OT decision in Chicago in December of 2008...Cutler has now been sacked 11 times in the season's first two games...Bears starting guard Gabe Carimi left the game with a right knee injury.
09/18 21:32:37 ET