Brees was 29-of-35 passing for 288 yards in his first victory in four career games at Soldier Field. Garrett Hartley matched a career high with four field goals as New Orleans picked up its first win in Chicago since a 31-10 victory on Oct. 8, 2000. (The Saints also won a road game against the Bears in 2002, but that victory came in Champaign, Ill. because Soldier Field was being renovated.)
“It’s about time,” Brees said with a chuckle. “Man, we’ve come up here quite a few times in some big games, and, unfortunately, we’re never able to walk away with a victory — ‘06, ‘07 and ‘08, in three consecutive years. We’ve been waiting for that opportunity to come back.”
Graham continued his torrid start for the Saints, catching 10 passes for 135 yards in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game — matching an NFL record for a tight end. Tony Gonzalez was the first to accomplish the streak in 2000, and Graham matched the surge in 2011.
Hartley’s third field goal gave the Saints a 23-7 lead with 8:03 left in the third, but Robbie Gould responded with a 27-yarder for the Bears.
Trailing 26-10 with three minutes left, Cutler led the Bears on one last scoring drive. He passed to Marshall for a 2-yard TD, and Matt Forte ran it in for the 2-point conversion.
The Bears got the ball back with 21 seconds left and no timeouts. Cutler then passed to Jeffery in the middle of the field for 21 yards, but time expired before they could run another play.
The bigger issue for the Bears was the way they started the game. They went three-and-out on their first possession. Cutler got sacked and stripped by Malcolm Jenkins on the first play of their next drive, leading to a second field goal for New Orleans. And their third possession ended with a punt.