Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears matchup in Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.
Understandably, the bouquets were gifted to the pristine two-minute offensive drill right before halftime, a nine-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that pulled the New Orleans Saints to within 13-10 of the Chicago Bears, and helped springboard the team to a 26-23, overtime victory over Chicago at Soldier Field on Sunday.
It was yet another piece of near-perfection – a 96-second slice – that demonstrated why quarterback Drew Brees arguably is the best ever to direct a two-minute drill, and why any amount of time between 75 and 120 seconds appears to be enough for him to help the Saints continue a roll on offense, or to find a rhythm.
But if you gloss over the importance of the Saints' defensive stand that occurred on the possession right before the touchdown drive, you missed the point where New Orleans likely flipped the game.
It wasn't perfect; it resulted in the Bears scoring for the third time in four possessions. But for a defense that entered the game having allowed 19 touchdowns on 22 red-zone possessions by opponents, allowing a field goal – and limiting the score to 13-3 instead of 17-3 – was monumental in a game where points were precious.
On that drive, the Bears drove from their 39-yard line to New Orleans' 14 on three plays, the biggest chunk coming on David Montgomery's 38-yard run on third-and-1 from Chicago's 48-yard line. But from there, the Saints allowed three more yards – a Montgomery 1-yard run and a 2-yard completion before forcing an incompletion on third-and-7, which would have been short of a first down even if it had been completed.
Chicago scored on a 29-yard field goal by Cairo Santos, but the Saints' defense won the possession by keeping the Bears out of the end zone. A 10-point deficit was significantly more workable than a 14-point hole in a low-scoring game.
And, too, the defense helped leave enough time for Brees and the offense to create another installation of two-minute mastery.