Week 9 Game Recap: Chicago Bears 20, New Orleans Saints 17
What you need to know
The game was tied with four minutes to play as the Bears started their final drive at their own 25 yard line. Cedric Benson jump-started the final drive with a 27 yard run, and Kyle Orton later hit Muhsin Muhammad for 22 more yards to put the Bears into field goal position at the ten yard line. Robbie Gould kicked a 28 yard game winning field goal in the final minute to give the Bears their fourth straight victory.
The Bears did not have a very good offensive game, but did just enough to win. Orton only had 137 yards through the air and was intercepted twice. His favorite target, Muhsin Muhammad, was held to three catches on 11 targets but did manage 85 yards. Justin Gage had four receptions and caught a four yard touchdown.
Thomas Jones ran for 40 yards on 11 carries in the first half before leaving with an injury. In the second half, Benson and Adrian Peterson filled in admirably, gaining 137 yards on 20 combined attempts. Peterson had a run of 36 yards just before he scored the Bearsí only rushing touchdown from the six yard line. Benson didnít reach the end zone but did impress with runs of 27 and 36 yards.
The Bearsí defense had a decent game with three sacks and four turnovers. They held Aaron Brooks to 170 passing yards and one touchdown, while intercepting him twice. Chicago didnít stifle the Saintsí rushing attack as Antowain Smith torched them for 110 yards on only 17 carries.
The Saints played an uneven game, staying close to the Bears but falling after a last minute field goal gave the Bears the victory. The Saints had four turnovers, including two fumbles by the two running backs, Aaron Stecker and Antowain Smith.
Aaron Brooks struggled with only 170 yards and one touchdown to Donteí Stallworth. He was intercepted twice, but one came during the final desperation play of the game. He did spread the ball around; connecting with nine different receivers, but none had more than five targets or three receptions. Donteí Stallworth led the team with three catches and Nate Poole had the highest yardage total by virtue of a single 42 yard reception.
Antowain Smith had a good game rushing the ball against the Bearsí defense, collecting 110 yards on 17 carries. He shared the carries with Aaron Stecker, who was less effective with 29 yards on 13 carries. Stecker fumbled after a short pass reception; Smith fumbled after being met in the backfield on a hand off. The only rushing touchdown was scored by Aaron Brooks, who scored on third and goal from the Bearsí one yard line.
The Saintsí defense played pretty well, nabbing two interceptions and also forcing Kyle Orton into a turnover with a sack and fumble. The pass defense was solid with only 137 yards against, but the Bearsí three running backs totaled 177 yards on 31 carries and one touchdown.
What you ought to know
|QB Kyle Orton, Pass: 12 - 26 - 137 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0|
Orton played a below average game, even by the low standards set by Bearsí quarterbacks. He completed under 50% of his passes and was intercepted twice. Many of his passes were significantly overthrown downfield. Although one of the two interceptions came on a tipped ball, it was too high and poorly thrown. He also fumbled the ball away on a sack in the second quarter. Orton did produce one passing touchdown on a short pass to Justin Gage. He may have cost the Bears three points early in the second half by taking an intentional grounding penalty that sent the Bears back ten yards to try a 47 yard field goal that was missed by K Robbie Gould. Late in the game, Orton showed his typical savvy by throwing balls away instead of risking an interception or a sack. On the final drive of the game, he connected with Muhsin Muhammad down the right sideline to set up the winning field goal.
Benson did not play in the first half, but got 70% of the second half carries after an injury to Thomas Jones. Benson picked up 79 yards on 14 carries and also got free for runs of 36 and 27 yards. The 27 yard rush was the first play in the Bearsí winning fourth quarter drive. On the same drive, Benson got two carries inside the Saintsí ten yard line, but was stopped for a total of negative three yards on the two tries before the Bears kicked the winning field goal.
|RB Thomas Jones, Rush: 11 - 40 - 0, Rec: 1 - -6 - 0 (1 targets)|
Jones had 40 yards on 11 first half carries, including a 16 yard rush on a third down draw play. He had one carry in the red zone, a four yard pickup to the three yard line. He did not appear in the second half of the game and it was reported that he had reinjured his chest/ribs and would not return. Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson both saw playing time in his absence.
Peterson entered the game in the second half after the injury to Thomas Jones. While he only saw 30% of the second half carries (the rest going to rookie Cedric Benson), he made the most of it with 58 yards and a touchdown on his six carries. He broke off a 36 yard run through traffic down to the Saintsí six yard line, and then punched it in for a touchdown on the following play. He also caught the only ball thrown his way but was stopped after a short gain.
Edwards caught the only ball thrown in his direction and did not carry the ball.
Gage stepped into the starting lineup after the season ending injury to Mark Bradley last week. He caught four passes for 28 yards and also caught the Bearsí only touchdown reception of the game. One of the balls thrown in his direction was badly overthrown and was intercepted by the Saintsí Dwight Smith.
Muhammad only caught three balls despite being targeted a team high 11 times. He was interfered with twice, once on a long pass that was intercepted by the Saints but nullified by the penalty. He was targeted twice in the red zone, and one was nearly caught in the front corner of the end zone before it was batted away by the Saintsí defender. Bearsí QB Kyle Orton clearly has confidence in Muhammad, throwing in his direction even when it appears he is tightly covered downfield. Orton completed one pass to him when he was blanketed by the Saintsí CB, and Orton threw it high enough so that only Muhammad could reach it. Muhammad also caught a 22 yard pass that set up the game winning field goal.
Wade is more of a return man, but is seeing more time at WR with the injuries to Bernard Berrian and Mark Bradley. He was only targeted twice, and one of the attempts resulted in an interception after he tipped the ball.
Clark caught only one ball for ten yards on two targets. The one incomplete pass thrown his way was a red zone target, but wasnít catchable. He wasnít targeted as often as usual as Orton shifted more of his focus onto WRs Justin Gage and Muhsin Muhammad.
Gould made both of his extra point attempts and also connected for field goals of 28 and 35 yards. The 28 yarder was the game winner with ten seconds left in the game. He also missed a 47 yard attempt wide right.
The Bears did not exhibit their typical dominating rush defense in this game, but they did have a handful of big plays to keep the game tied late in the game. Chicago yielded 139 yards on 30 carries by the Saintsí RBs, an average of 4.6 yards per carry. New Orleans had four rushes of ten yards or more, including a 42 yard run by Antowain Smith. The Saints did find the end zone via the ground on a one yard run by Aaron Brooks in the fourth quarter. On the late touchdown drive, the Saints were stuffed on two Smith rushing attempts inside the two yard line before they ran a play action bootleg by Brooks. The Bearsí rushing defense also caused a fumble on an interior rushing attempt when Tommie Harris penetrated and disrupted the handoff to Smith.
Chicago had a decent game defending the pass, collecting three sacks and two interceptions while holding the Saints to 170 passing yards and a single touchdown. The Bears nearly intercepted another pass after the ball was tipped at the line and bobbled by LB Lance Briggs. One of the two interceptions came on the final play of the game when the Saints had time for one desperation pass.
|QB Aaron Brooks, Pass: 16 - 26 - 170 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - -6 - 1|
Brooks didnít have a very good game, collecting only 170 yards and one touchdown against a stingy Bearsí defense. The touchdown was thrown to Donteí Stallworth on a drag route that Stallworth ran into the end zone without being touched. Brooks was sacked three times and intercepted twice. He did score a rushing touchdown on a nicely designed play action bootleg on third and goal from the one yard line.
Smith ran for 49 yards on the Saintsí first two plays from scrimmage to bring the ball to the Bearsí three yard line, but didnít get the ball in the redzone and the Saints ended up with a 22 yard field goal. He had a strong game with 110 yards on 17 carries, but didnít reach the end zone despite five red zone carries. He carried on three consecutive plays in the red zone down to the Chicago one yard line, but the Saints elected to run a play action bootleg rushing attempt by Aaron Brooks to get the score. Smith did fumble the ball away in the third quarter on a play where the Bearsí penetration interfered with the handoff.
He carried in the red zone on his first carry for no gain. His second touch was a screen pass where he gained six yards before fumbling to the Bearsí Chris Harris. The game didnít get much better from there, as he finished with 29 yards on 13 carries for an average of 2.2 yards per carry. Although he was splitting time with Antowain Smith, Stecker struggled to get anything going on the ground and may lose carries based on Smithís performance.
He caught both balls thrown in his direction for a total of 11 yards.
Aside from catching a 15 yard touchdown from Aaron Brooks, Stallworth didnít have much of an impact on the game. His 37 yards and four targets were both short of typical expectations. However, his touchdown reception did demonstrate his tremendous speed as he caught the ball on a short drag route and scored without being touched.
|WR Joe Horn, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (5 targets)|
He had a subpar game with only two receptions and 27 yards. He did catch an 18 yard pass on a play nullified by a Saintsí holding penalty.
Hakim caught one pass for ten yards late in the game. The other ball thrown in his direction was the Saintsí final desperation attempt and was intercepted by the Bears.
Poole turned a short pass into big yardage when he broke free into the Chicago secondary for a 42 yard gain, but was injured on the play and did not return.
Hilton started for injured Ernie Conwell and had two catches for 13 yards. He was targeted twice in the red zone, once from the three yard line that was incomplete and another from the 18 yard line that was stopped well short of the goal line.
Hall is seldom used as the third TE on the Saints, but saw some action due to the injury to first stringer Ernie Conwell. The one pass in his direction that wasnít caught was intercepted by the Bearsí Hunter Hillenmeyer.
Carney hit a chip shot field goal from 22 yards early in the game. He also made good on two extra point attempts.
The Bearsí three running backs combined for 177 yards on 31 carries for an average of 5.7 yards per carry. The Saints did a good job on Thomas Jones, who had only 40 yards in the first half before getting injured. His replacements, Adrian Peterson and Cedric Benson, combined for 137 yards in the second half, including one run each for 36 yards. Adrian Peterson ran for a six yard touchdown to give the Bears the third quarter lead. Late in the game, Cedric Benson ran the ball for 27 yards to get the Bears into Saintsí territory and help set up the game winning drive.
The Saints sacked Bearsí QB Kyle Orton twice, one of which resulted in a fumble and a turnover. They also intercepted Orton twice, one by Fred Thomas on a tipped ball and the other by Dwight Smith on a sever overthrow. They also appeared to have intercepted another pass, but it was called back due to a pass interference penalty. On the gameís final drive, Saintsí CB Mike McKenzie was burned for a 22 yard pass to Bearsí WR Muhsin Muhammad that set up the game winning field goal.