Marshon Lattimore iced the game with an interception off Mitchell Trubisky, and the New Orleans Saints (5-2) won their fifth-straight game, holding off a late Chicago Bears (3-5) comeback bid in a 20-12 victory at the Superdome. Here is what you need to know:
1. The New Orleans Saints won a game without a Drew Brees touchdown pass for the first time since October 4, 2009. Sean Payton once again rode Mark Ingram, as Brees attempted a season-low 28 passes, completing 23 for 299 yards. The veteran QB made timely throws to Michael Thomas when needed, but allowed Ingram to do the heavy lifting. The bulldozing running back ran angry early, powering through a stout Bears defensive front for 75 yards and a touchdown on 18 totes. Ingram also keyed the first-half screen-heavy attack with six receptions for 24 yards. Ingram’s performance, however, was marred by two fourth-quarter fumbles as New Orleans tried to salt away the game. The flubs — both great plays by the Bears‘ defense — gave Chicago the chance to swipe a game they had no business being in. Ingram was benched for the final possession, with rookie Alvin Kamara taking over. The question is whether Payton will trust Ingram in tight games in the future.
“He’s going to bounce back,” Brees told FOX of Ingram after the game. “Listen, there is not a guy who is more competitive or cares more than him. There’s not a guy who’s more well-respected or loved on this team than Mark. So he’s the heart and soul. Sometimes that stuff happens, even to the best of us. He’ll bounce back, I know he will.”
2. Mitchell Trubisky set career highs in completions, attempts and yards, going an inefficient 14 of 32 for 164 yards and an interception that clinched the game for New Orleans. After weeks of hiding Trubisky, coach John Fox was forced to let his rookie quarterback throw often in an attempt to come back. Trubisky shows flashes of brilliant accuracy, is deadly out of the pocket, and made a few jaw-dropping throws. However, he was mostly inconsistent on the road. Trubisky made some blatant rookie errors, forcing balls into coverage, tossing wide and behind several receivers. He almost threw a handful of interceptions in the drives preceding his airmail to end the game. The struggles aren’t all on the rookie. He’s playing with a bevy of third-fiddle pass-catchers who can’t uncover from defensive backs and don’t have needed chemistry with the young quarterback.
3. The Bears had a spectacular third-quarter touchdown catch by tight end Zach Miller shockingly overturned after review. It appeared from every TV replay angle that Miller came down with the ball, but officials deemed the veteran didn’t control it through the process. To make matters worse, Miller suffered a brutal injury on the play. Fox confirmed after the game that Miller dislocated his knee and was taken to a local hospital. Bears fans can gripe about the four points lost on the overturned play. What Chicago can’t complain about is missing out on seven first-half points with a missed field goal and a Saints field goal turning into a touchdown after an offside penalty.
4. The Saints‘ defense continued its stellar play this season. New Orleans bottled up Jordan Howard most of the game. The running back earned a 102-yard game on 23 carries, but 50 of those yards came on one big run early in the third quarter. The rest of the game, the Saints held Howard to 2.36 yards per carry, including a bevy of negative plays. Kenny Vacarro, who was benched earlier in the season, was all over the field. The safety compiled nine tackles, two tackles for loss, half a sack and a key pass defensed on the Bears‘ final drive. Linebacker A.J. Klein also made several big plays down the stretch, including knocking down a pass on what could have been a huge catch-and-run. Lattimore continued his stellar play, blanketing receivers before ending the game with an interception on an overthrow.
5. Akiem Hicks had a big #revengegame versus his old team. The Bears defensive lineman was consistently in the backfield, sacked Brees once, had two QB hits, and helped cause one of the Ingram fumbles. Hicks is playing as well as any defensive lineman not named Aaron Donald this season.
6. Bears guard Kyle Long left the game with a hand injury early in the game and never returned. Later in the contest, center Cody Whitehair exited. The Bears‘ O-line injuries hindered the ground game and Trubisky’s protection.
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