Chicago – Were you not entertained?
Seriously, the New Orleans Saints walked into Soldier Field and imposed their will so thoroughly on the Chicago Bears, that a 36-25 victory wasn't that close in any way, shape for form.
The Saints led 36-10 in the fourth quarter, then drained the clock as Bears fans exited the stadium and New Orleans (6-1) won its fifth straight game.
Without Drew Brees.
And, on Sunday, without Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook or P.J. Williams.
Probably, it was the Saints' most impressive win of the season. Certainly, it had to be one of the most satisfying.
OFFENSE: If we want to talk about imposition of will, begin with the Saints' offensive line, which simply dominated Chicago's front. The Saints ran for 151 yards on 35 carries, Teddy Bridgewater completed 23 of 38 passes for 281 yards and a couple of touchdowns, and the Saints mauled the Bears en route to a whopping time of possession advantage (37:26 to 22:34). Add in that the Saints converted 7 of 15 third-down opportunities, and that they did it against a defense that was allowing 13 points and 312 yards per game, and what you have is the kind of performance that the offense has become known for over the years.
DEFENSE: More domination. New Orleans allowed 252 yards, and most of that came with the game out of reach. The Bears didn't have a rushing first down (they ran for 17 yards on seven carries) were shut down on 10 of 12 third-down attempts and until the fourth quarter, Chicago rarely was in sniffing distance of the red zone. New Orleans' touchdown shutout streak on defense reached seven quarters before it ended, and there isn't much doubt that it would've extended if there was a necessity for it to extend. Mixing in some reserves at the end helped account for a couple of late scores. But overall, the unit did what it had done for the previous three games, when opponents had averaged 13.3 points and 245 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A couple of blemishes – a 102-yard kickoff return allowed for a touchdown, and two missed field goals by Wil Lutz. But even with those plays, the Saints had a pretty outstanding day on special teams. They blocked two punts (one by J.T. Gray, the other by Zach Line) and Deonte Harris was very, very good on punt returns (he had a touchdown return nullified by penalty, and Coach Sean Payton vehemently disagreed with the call). And after the kickoff return, cover teams were extremely effective. Overall, it was a good day.