Saints smother Bears in wild-card win
Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes and the New Orleans defense dominated in a 21-9 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears in an NFC wild-card game on Sunday afternoon.
The NFC South champion Saints, who were 12-4 in the regular season, advance to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round next weekend. New Orleans won both regular-season meetings.
Brees completed 28 of 39 for 265 yards while Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky completed 19 of 29 for 199 yards.
The Bears, who finished the regular season 8-8 to claim the last wild card in the NFC, gained just 239 yards and 11 first downs, four of which came in the final two minutes.
The Saints welcomed back their top two offensive weapons — wide receiver Michael Thomas, who was activated off injured reserve, and running back Alvin Kamara, who scored six touchdowns on Christmas Day before being sidelined by testing positive for COVID-19.
But the Bears defense kept them and the New Orleans offense contained in the first half, which ended with the Saints holding a 7-3 lead.
On New Orleans’ first possession of the third quarter it put together an 85-yard drive that ended with Brees’ 6-yard touchdown pass to Latavius Murray.
Kamara ran three yards for a touchdown to give the Saints a 21-3 lead with 8:50 remaining.
Trubisky threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham as time expired.
Brees connected with Thomas three times on the Saints’ first two possessions, the third completion being an 11-yard touchdown that gave New Orleans a 7-0 lead that stood at the end of the first quarter.
The Bears were in scoring range, but they passed on a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-4 at the Saints 34 and Trubisky was stopped after scrambling for a two-yard gain.
New Orleans missed a scoring opportunity of its own when Wil Lutz was wide right on a 50-yard field-goal attempt.
John Jenkins recovered a fumble by Taysom Hill at the Saints 24, leading to Cairo Santos’ 36-yard field goal that cut the lead to 7-3 with 8:06 left in the first half.
–Field Level Media