The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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October 7, 2013

Bears fall to Saints despite Jeffery record

CHICAGO — The Bears were rolling along with three straight wins to start the season, sending hopes soaring around Chicago.

Nothing like back-to-back losses to dampen the mood.

The Bears dropped their second straight on Sunday, falling 26-18 to New Orleans despite Alshon Jeffery’s franchise-record 218 yards receiving.

Jay Cutler also had a solid game, throwing for 358 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Chicago (3-2) from falling again.

Coming off a loss to Detroit, little went right for the Bears in this one. And they won’t have much time to regroup, with the winless New York Giants coming to town Thursday night.

The offense got off to a slow start. The run game never clicked, and the defense got picked apart.

Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes, Jimmy Graham tied an NFL record with another 100-yard game and the Saints (5-0) remained unbeaten.

“Obviously, we didn’t play our best games these last two weeks, but we still have a long season ahead,” cornerback Tim Jennings said.

One thing that did work for Chicago was the Cutler-Jeffery connection.

Cutler completed 24 of 33 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns, while Jeffery broke Harlon Hill’s 59-year-old franchise record by 4 yards. A second-year pro, Jeffery had a career-high 10 catches and a touchdown on a day when Brandon Marshall was neutralized by double teams.

“My main concern is not what I did, but about what the team did,” Jeffery said. “We didn’t get the win, so that’s what I focus on.”

What he did was impressive, though. If he keeps it up, that might draw some attention away from Marshall, who clearly wasn’t happy after catching just four passes for 30 yards.

“I can do a better job of getting myself open vs. that coverage, and we just have to make adjustments,” he said. “We know teams are going to try to take me out of the game. But I have faith in our guys in this locker room and the coaches upstairs that we’re going to do what’s best for the team. We’ve just got to bounce back.”

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