Saints vs. Bears: Breaking Down Chicago's 26-18 Loss to New Orleans

James Tillman III@@JTILLMAN9693Analyst IOctober 7, 2013

The Chicago Bears were looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Detroit Lions when they hosted the New Orleans Saints in a Week 5 matchup between two of the better teams in the NFC.

Unfortunately for the Bears—and their fans—the team came up a short for the second consecutive week, falling to the Saints, 26-18.

Let's take a quick look at what factors contributed to another disappointing loss.

 

Offense

On the positive side, Jay Cutler had a solid outing, completing 24 of 33 passes for 358 yards to go along with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Alshon Jeffery, whom I mentioned would play a huge role in this game, caught 10 passes for 218 yards and became just the third receiver in franchise history to record over 200 receiving yards in a game, per Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Per Michael C. Wright of ESPN, Brandon Marshall offered this assessment on Jeffery's career day:

It’s just awesome to see this guy mature right before your eyes. I’ve always said this guy can be one of the best that ever done it. He’s probably gonna shatter all the Bears records by the time he’s done at the receiver position. That’s one of the only positives from our offensive side today.

In spite of Jeffery's superb day, the Bears offense struggled to make plays early, giving up three sacks while accumulating a paltry 28 yards in the opening quarter.

Against one of the best offenses in the league, it was imperative for Chicago to get off to a fast start and put points on the board consistently, and they failed do that.

 

Defense

The Bears defense had recorded 14 takeaways through the first four games of the season, but against the Saints, they would come up empty.

While the Bears did record two sacks, Drew Brees had ample time to throw the ball for most of the afternoon as he completed 29 of 35 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

The absence of turnovers, combined with the inability to slow down the Saints offense, prevented Chicago from keeping pace with the opposing team in this contest. As a result, the Saints managed to hold the ball for 60 percent of the game.

That kind of effort will not get the job done if the Bears expect to be a legitimate playoff contender.

 

Conclusion

The bad news is that Chicago suffered another disappointing loss due to a slow start and being unable to make plays until the game was out of reach.

The good news is that the Bears have to put this loss to rest quickly with the 0-5 New York Giants coming to Soldier Field on Thursday.

Although the Giants certainly look beatable on paper, the Bears will have to play with a greater sense of urgency or risk being a .500 team after starting the season at 3-0.

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