QB Drew Brees tossed three touchdowns and defense racked up six sacks to lead the Saints to a dominating 30-13 win over the Bears Sunday afternoon in the Superdome.
Sunday's win was the 50th regular season victory for Saints coach Sean Payton. He joins Jim Mora as the only coaches in franchise history to reach the 50-win mark.
It was the 50th win for Brees as well in a Saints uniform, which makes him the winningest starting quarterback in team history. Brees was tied with Bobby Hebert at 49 wins.
Sunday's crowd of 73,019 is the largest ever to see a Saints regular season game in the Superdome. The Dome's capacity was increased by approximately 3,000 this offseason with the re-configuring of the Plaza level. The last home crowd this large was in the Saints' final season in old Tulane Stadium, when 74,289 watched the Saints play Miami on Nov. 10, 1974.
Brees ended the day completing 26-37 passes for 270 yards (118.1 quarterback ratting. He threw touchdown strikes to WRs Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem and RB Darren Sproles.
The Saints totaled 382 net offensive yards. The Bears posted 246 net yards.
RB Mark Ingram led the Saints in rushing with 51 yards on 14 carries.
For the second straight week, Henderson record 100-plus receiving yards. The eight-year veteran had three receptions for 103 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Sproles led the team in receptions for the second-straight week with eight grabs for 43 yards, including a 12-yard score in the fourth quarter.
S Roman Harper and De Junior Galette each notched two sacks. Harper led the team with seven total tackles.
Casillas and McBride also took down Cutler to put the Saints total at six, the most by New Orleans since 2008.
"It was an important win but we still have a lot to cleanup on," said Payton. "We will look to work on our mistakes this week heading into the Texans game but I was proud of the way our guys played today."
Chicago won the coin flip, elected to receive and P Thomas Morstead's punt sailed into the end zone for a touchback.
On first down, Chicago RB Matt Forte was stopped for only a gain of one yard by LBs Jonathan Vilma and Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
Following two straight incomplete passes by QB Jay Cutler, Bears P Adam Podlesh, punted Sproles who called a fair catch at the New Orleans 35.
On New Orleans' first play, Brees and WR Lance Moore failed to connect.
Following completions to Graham and Sproles, the Saints were one yard short of the first down marker and Morstead was forced to punt to Chicago WR Devin Hester.
S Isa Abdul-Quddus forced Hester to fumble the ball but it went out of bounds and Chicago would start at their 13
Forte would immediately rip off a 42-yard run. On the next play he was stopped by Dunbar for a four-yard loss.
Cutler then completed a short pass to the Slidell native that he took for an 18-yard gain. Following an incomplete pass, Cutler completed a nine-yard throw to Bears WR Earl Bennett for a nine-yard gain.
A first down was converted on a ten-yard pass to Chicago FB Tyler Clutts. On the following play, Cutler was called for an intentional grounding penalty resulting in a loss of ten yards and loss of downs. LB Scott Shanle was subsequently called for a defensive holding penalty though. With a new set of downs, Forte gained four yards.
On second and six at the 15, Forte was stopped by Dunbar for no gain. On third and six, Harper was called for a roughing the passer penalty bringing it to the seven. After Forte was stopped for a one-yard loss, Cutler completed an eight-yard touchdown thrown to WR Dane Sanzenbacher.
Following a touchback, New Orleans started at the 20 and Brees threw to Sproles for a gain of six yards. On second and six, Brees threw a screen to Sproles that resulted in a first down and a ten-yard gain.
With a fresh set of down, Brees rolled out and threw to Meachem for a three-yard gain. On second-and-seven, Brees ran a double reverse to Meachem for a seven-yard gain and the first down. Brees then handed off to Ingram, who gained two yards before being brought down by Bears LB Brian Urlacher.
On second and eight, the Saints got to midfield on a pass for a two-yard gain to RB Pierre Thomas. On third and six at the 50, the signal-caller converted as he completed a throw on a crossing pattern to Henderson for a 12-yard gain.
The Saints used the first down for a handoff to Thomas, who carried to the 30, where he gained eight yards.
Brees then pitched to Sproles who ran right side for a seven-yard gain and the first down. On first down, Brees hit WR Lance Moore for a six-yard gain then completing a throw to Sproles for a gain of three. On third and one, Brees' throw to Graham in the end zone was incomplete, sending K John Kasay out for the 32-yard field, the 436th of his career, putting him in a tie for sixth place on the NFL's all-time list.
In Chicago's drive that went into the second quarter, they would open the second stanza at their 35 yard line where on second and two, Forte was stopped by DT Mitch King for a loss of a yard. On third and three, a throw by Cutler intended for WR Johnny Knox was broken up by CB Jabari Greer. Following the 45-yard punt, Sproles took it at the 22 and gained one yard.
On first down, Sproles took the ball up the middle for a three-yard gain.
On second down, Brees was sacked by Bears DE Israel Idonije for a loss of six. On second and thirteen, Brees threw a perfect throw to Henderson that he got up under for a 79-yard touchdown to put the Saints up by three.
Following a touchback, Cutler threw to Forte, who was tripped up by Greer for only a two-yard gain. On second-and-eight, Cutler threw an incomplete pass while under pressure from S Malcolm Jenkins. On third down, the signal-caller threw over the head of Knox, forcing P Adam Podlesh back out.
The Saints would begin at the Bears 47 after Bears WR Sam Hurd was called for a personal foul penalty on the punt. Sproles first gained two yards on a pitch.
Brees then completed a throw to TE David Thomas for a gain of one. On third and seven, he completed a throw to Graham to gain the first down on a ten-yard gain. On first down, Saints TE John Gilmore was called for a false start penalty.
Pierre Thomas would make it up with a nine-yard run and a 12-yard screen.
However, the Saints could not convert again inside the 20, and Kasay kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Following a touchback, Forte was pushed out of bounds for no gain by S Roman Harper. Cutler then completed an eight-yard throw to Sanzenbacher.
On third down, Hester could not hold onto a ball in tight coverage and following a 39-yard punt Sproles called a fair catch at the Saints 34.
On first down, Brees completed a pass down the middle of the field to Graham for a gain of 31 yards.
Now in Chicago territory, Ingram took a handoff for a nine-yard gain. On second-and-one, Ingram took the handoff and was stopped for a four-yard loss by Bears LB Nick Roach.
With third-and-five, Brees nearly flipped the ball to Sproles, but the pass was incomplete. After the field goal unit initially came out, QB Chase Daniel got in motion, but G Brian de la Puente was called for a false start penalty. Kasay didn't have any issues though and the 41-year old kicked a 53-yard field goal
A second down false start penalty on Chicago T J'Marcus Webb set the Bears back at second and 20. Completions to Forte of nine and 15 yards put the Bears at the 36. Cutler then completed another short pass to the back for an 11-yard gain. On first down, a pass intended for Hurd sailed short. On second and ten at the 47, Cutler kept and gained a first down on a 12-yard rush. On the next play, Greer broke up a pass intended for Hester.
Bears T Gabe Carimi was shaken up on the play and would have to leave. However, Cutler would complete a throw under pressure to Forte to put the Bears in field goal range. After an unsuccessful throw at the end zone, Gould kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired in the half
New Orleans started at the 24 in the second half and Brees' first throw was incomplete. On second down, Sproles gained a yard on a rush before being brought down by Bears LB Lance Briggs.
On third-and-nine, a pass intended for Moore was broken up by Bears DB D.J. Moore. A 44-yard punt by Morstead would make Chicago's starting field position, the Bears 34.
Under pressure, Cutler completed a pass up the middle to Forte, where he gained 16 yards to midfield. With a fresh set of downs Cutler then completed a pass down the field to Knox for a 30-yard gain, before he was tackled by LB Jonathan Casillas.
A first down throw intended for Forte sailed out of bounds. Cutler then overthrew Hurd in the end zone. On third down, a throw intended for Hester went past the end zone, forcing Gould out, where he booted a 38-yard field goal.
New Orleans started at the 20 and Brees' first throw, intended for WR Adrian Arrington was broken up by Bears CB Tim Jennings. Ingram then took a carry up the middle for a three-yard gain. On third-and-seven, Brees avoided a sack by completing an outlet pass to Sproles for a two-yard gain. On the punt, Hester called for the fair catch at the Bears 36-yard line.
On first down Bears RB Kahlil Bell was stopped for a one-yard loss by Jenkins and rookie DE Cameron Jordan. On second down, Cutler was sacked on a right side blitz by McBride, who forced him to cough up the ball and it was picked up by LB Jonathan Vilma at the 29.
Pierre Thomas gained six yards to the 23. Brees then rolled out and found Arrington for a 14-yard gain and the first down to set up first and goal at the nine. Ingram then carried up the middle for a four-yard gain and then a one-yard gain before being stopped by Briggs. On third-and-four though, Brees found a standing Meachem in the end zone for a touchdown to put New Orleans up by 10.
A second down pass was broken up by Jenkins. The Bears converted though on a 15-yard pass play from Cutler to Knox. With a fresh set of downs at their 45, Cutler handed off to Forte, who did not gain any yardage as he was stopped by DT Aubrayo Franklin.
On second down, Cutler eluded several defenders but failed to complete a throw intended for Forte and then Sanzenbacher was unable to hold onto a third down throw to send the punting unit out. Sproles called for a fair catch at the Saints 13.
On first down, Brees completed a pass for a six-yard gain to Meachem. On second-and-four, Brees handed off to Pierre Thomas, who pushed several defenders and gained five yards to set up first-and-ten at the 24. Brees then completed a throw to Graham, but G Carl Nicks was called for a holding penalty setting New Orleans back ten yards. The Saints got 11 back on a throw to Henderson.
A second down attempt to Sproles was incomplete. On third and eight, Brees went to Graham again, who gained 13 yards. With a fresh set of downs, Brees handed off to Pierre Thomas who gained three yards. The next handoff to the Lynwood, Ill. native playing his hometown team went for two yards. This set up a 15-yard throw from Brees to Graham for a first down. That was the last play of the third quarter as Bears S Major Writ was shaken up and had to leave. When play resumed, Brees scrambled for a two-yard gain. Brees then found Graham, moving the ball forward seven yards, setting up a third-and-one at the 32. Ingram successfully converted the situation as he gained 12 yards on the play. Brees' first down throw intended for David Thomas was broken up by Roach. Ingram then took a pitch on the right side and ran over a couple Bears for an eight-yard gain. On third-and-two, Brees tossed a screen to Sproles, who ran in for the touchdown.
Morstead's kickoff went for a touchback. Cutler's first down throw intended for Hurd went incomplete. On second down, Cutler found Hester up the middle, who gained 17 yards before being brought down by CB Patrick Robinson. A screen was then completed to Forte for 21-yards up to the New Orleans 42. Following a false start penalty on Carimi's replacement, Frank Omiyale, a Cutler pass sailed out of bounds and then the next one went incomplete. On third-and-15, the quarterback was dropped by Casillas, forcing the punt unit out.