Saints beat Bears 26-18, improve to 5-0 - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Saints beat Bears 26-18, improve to 5-0

CHICAGO - The Saints defense sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler three times and forced a fumble in yet another solid performance as New Orleans improved to 5-0 with a 26-18 victory at Soldier Field. It was the Saints' first win in Chicago in four tries under coach Sean Payton.

Running back Pierre Thomas, an Illinois native, scored twice in the second quarter on receptions from quarterback Drew Brees, who was 17-of-20 for 195 yards in the first half. Brees finished the game with 288 yards passing on 29-of-35 attempts. It was Brees' 11th straight game with at least 25 completions, an NFL record.

Thomas tallied 91 combined yards rushing and receiving. Jimmy Graham also had another monster day with 10 receptions for 135 yards. It was Graham's fourth straight game with more than 100 yards receiving to tie the record for an NFL tight end.

Kicker Garrett Hartley began the scoring with a 47-yard field goal to give the Saints an early 3-0 lead. On the ensuing Bears possession, safety Malcolm Jenkins blitzed and sacked Jay Cutler to force a fumble which Cam Jordan recovered and returned to the six-yard line. The Saints added a 19-yard field goal from Hartley to extend their lead to 6-0.

Thomas' first scoring reception, a 2-yard effort, put New Orleans on top 13-0, before the Bears finally found the endzone on a Cutler to Alshon Jeffery 3-yard connection. Jeffery led Chicago with 10 receptions for 218 yards. Cutler finished the game with 358 yards passing, hitting Brandon Marshall for a late fourth quarter score as well.

The Saints marched 71 yards on seven plays before the end of the first half, converting a 4th-and-1 along the way, to take a 20-7 lead into the break. Brees and Thomas perfectly executed a 25-yard screen play for their second scoring connection.

In the third quarter, both teams traded field goals with Hartley nailing a 36-yard effort. Hartley's fourth field goal of the day, a 48-yarder put the Saints on top 26-10 in the fourth quarter.  Cutler's late TD pass to Marshall made it 26-16, with a two-point conversion run by Matt Forte making it a 26-18 game. However, the Saints held on for the win.

Punter Thomas Morstead was also outstanding on the day with four punts for 195 yards, including a 55-yard effort that pinned the Bears at their own 2-yard line.

Defensively, linebacker David Hawthorne and safety Kenny Vaccaro added sacks for New Orleans. Curtis Lofton led the way with nine tackles. The Saints tallied six QB hits on Cutler in addition to the three sacks.

New Orleans will stay on the road next week to face the New England Patriots (4-1).

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