An inspired, ferocious defense that sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler six times buried Chicago 30-14 in front of a record crowd at the Superdome on Sunday.
The Saints improved their record to 1-1 and the Bears dropped to 1-1.
Drew Brees tossed three touchdown passes, completing 26-of-37 for 270 yards (118.1) passer rating). He threw touchdown strikes to WRs Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and RB Darren Sharper. The Saints totaled 382 net offensive yards while the Bears had 246.
Rookie Mark Ingram led the Saints in rushing with 51 yards on 14 carries.
"He runs like Emmitt Smith, but he's faster, "judged former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who handed off to the NFL's all-time rushing leader.
Sunday's crowd of 73,019 was the largest ever to see a Saints regular-season game in the Superdome. The Dome's capacity was increased by about 3,000 this offseason.
"It was an important win, but we have a lot to clean up," was Saints coach Sean Payton's take on the game. "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."
Former Tulane star Matt Forte couldn't do it all for the Bears offense, but he tried. The Slidell native didn't disappoint his 30 family and friends in attendance with 166 total yards, including 10 catches for 117yards.
Cutler had a raspy voice after the game. He said he was kicked in the throat and said it was difficult to call signals amid the din of the noisy Who Dats crowd.
"They really got after us blitz-wise," said the Bears quarterback. "It's not fun, makes my job more difficult. We need to stay out of those positions."
Sunday's win was the 50th regular season victory for 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 Saints history. He was tied with Bobby Hebert at 49 wins.
For the second straight week, Henderson recorded 100-plus yards. He had three catches for 103 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Sproles led the team in receptions with eight for 43 yards, including a 12-yard score in the fourth quarter. .
S Roman Harper and DE Junior Galette each had two sacks. Harper led the team seven tackles.
Jonathan Casillas and Turk McBride also took down Cutler to put the Saints total at six, the most by New Orleans since 2008.
"They played better than us, simple as that," aid Bears coach Lovie Smith. "There were a couple of critical moments where we just didn't get the job done, but this is just one game."
Veteran kicked John Kasay kicked field goals of 31, 29 and 53 yards, which was his 41st career field goal from beyond 50 yards.
This was Payton's first victory over the Bears as Saints coach. The Bears entered the game with a 15-11 advantage over the Saints. The Bears had won four straight. The Saints were coming off a season-opening loss to the Packers. They host the Texans Sunday.
Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item. He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director. He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.
A July 4th Fact of Facts: America is Land of Immigrants
Poll: Trump strong on jobs, weak on tweets, viewed as reckless, thin-skinned, sexist
President Trump, It doesn't feel like Independence Day
YIPPIE! The naked truth about free speech, cherished especially on Independence Day
On July 4, 1778, George Washington doubled liquor rations for the soldiers quartered in Princeton, NJ, as a way to celebrate Independence Day. It’s fitting, therefore, that the Fourth of July is America's top-selling beer holiday, according to the Beer Institute. It estimated, in 2013, that sales of beer on the 4th could total $1 billion, doubtlessly higher today. “In moderation,” claims a CA brewery investor, Grover McKean, “beer is tasty and healthy.” Who could disagree?
As Donald Trump faces the top world leaders this week, including a face-time with Vladimir Putin, and as his healthcare proposals face an uphill climb, his poll numbers for how the nation views him could be better.
According to a morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning, his tweets, including that against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, and his personality are not helping him, at all.
II know the calendar says we are approaching the 4th of July, but, it just doesn’t feel like Independence Day.
Perhaps it should. It’s hot as heck. The airlines have been packed. The hot dogs are ready for grilling. The umps are saying, "play ball". The patriotic activities are scheduled. The fireworks are ready-for-blasting.
To President Thomas Jefferson, July 4th celebrated more than the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He thought it was a link to the future. The message prominent colonists sent to King George III led to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the initial and most prominent feature of which is the First Amendment that guarantees free speech. It’s part of the country’s fundamental essence that each man and woman can say what they feel about government, or anything else, proving President Donald Trump needs some civics lessons.