The New Orleans Saints were missing several key playmakers in their Week 7 matchup against the Chicago Bears, but Teddy Bridgewater was able to maintain his perfect record, as his Saints beat the Bears down, 36-25.
With Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook ruled out, many tabbed this game as the one where Bridgewater would finally suffer a loss. The Bears' defense was looking to rebound after their embarrassing 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was returning after his one-game absence due to a shoulder injury.
Trubisky heard the boo-birds early and often on Sunday afternoon, however, as he failed to get the Bears' offense into a rhythm all game long. They had a total of six three and outs and registered just 252 yards of total offense -- most of that coming in garbage time.
Bridgewater didn't play his best game, but once again found a way to get the job done. He threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns, while also converting 7 of 15 third downs. He did on the road against a Bears defense that was No. 1 in the NFL last season and coming off a bye week.
Chicago's defense played well when called upon, but it seemed like they spent the majority of the game on the field due to the Bears' inefficient offense. The Bears really have a lot of work to do if they want to make the postseason again this year, and it all has to do with the offense. Chicago has playmakers in Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen, but getting the ball into their hands in situations where they can make plays has proven to be an issue.
Why the Saints won
The Saints played a complete game, it was a good team win. If you had to point to one thing that secured the victory, however, it was how the replacements operated in place of the regular starters. We know that Bridgewater has been impressive with Drew Brees out, but running back Latavius Murray also stepped up in Kamara's absence. He rushed 27 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. There were several plays where he came up big for New Orleans, as he was able to keep his feet churning to extend drives. With just 138 yards and a touchdown in the first six games, he's been somewhat forgotten in this offense. There's a reason why the Saints went out and signed him in free agency, and he proved on Sunday that he can step in and contribute whenever called upon.
Why the Bears lost
The offense. Many were hoping a game off to nurse his shoulder injury would help Trubisky, but the same troubles that haunted him in the first few games were still there. Trubisky struggled to throw downfield and also missed several open wide receivers on curls and out routes. At times, it was painful to watch. The Bears have good players on offense, but it's easy to force the unit off the field if the defense knows the quarterback is inconsistent. Just sending one extra blitzer at times was enough for the Saints to force an incompletion.
The Bears had some momentum heading into the halftime break. Despite the fact that the Saints scored the first nine points of the game, they held just a two-point lead. New Orleans didn't mess around with their first possession of the second half, however, and it took them just six plays to travel 75 yards down the field to extend the lead to nine points. Tedd Ginn Jr. reeled in a 45-yard catch that got the Saints into the red zone. Then, Murray finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. It was at this point where it started to not look very good for the Bears. Their offense had struggled all game and nine points almost seemed like an insurmountable deficit. It didn't help that David Montgomery fumbled the very next play and gave the Saints the ball back in plus territory.
Play of the Game
The Bears did one thing right on Sunday, in that they delivered us the play of the game. One reason why this play is worth another look is that it's a 102-yard touchdown, but more importantly, the camera view made it a lot more epic.
Check out Cordarrelle Patterson's kickoff return:
This was Patterson's, which is second all-time only behind Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington who have eight. The last time he was able to take a kickoff for a score came against his current Bears team in 2018 when he was a member of the Patriots, so clearly there's something about Soldier Field that makes him want to turn the jets on.
The Saints will host Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday, a team that has now won three straight games. This Sunday, they downed Daniel Jones and the New York Giants, 27-21.
The Bears host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8, a team that just suffered a heartbreaking 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The injury-plagued Chargers have now lost three straight games, and they will be motivated to take down a Bears team that has many unanswered questions.