Bears Can’t Overcome Slow Start, Fall 26-18 to Saints for Second Straight Loss

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Oct 6, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) runs the ball for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to only look at the stat sheet, you’d think the result was different.  Jay Cutler threw for over 350 yards and posted a quarterback rating of 128 with 2 TD’s and no interceptions.  The Bears outgained the Saints by nearly 100 yards, 434 to 347.  The Bears had 20 first downs to the Saints’ 17.  The Bears racked up more rushing yards (94) for an average of 5.2 yards per carry  than the Saints’ 66 yards for a 2.4 ypc, all while holding Drew Brees under 300 yards for the first time in 9 games.

But the only numbers that mattered at the end of the day were Saints 26 and Bears 18, as New Orleans improved to 5-0 while the Bears dropped their second straight game to fall to 3-2.  You know what they say, figures lie and liars figure.  So let’s see if we can figure out what went wrong in the latest Bears loss.

 Slow Start

Oct 6, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) forcing a fumble during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears offense set the tone for the first half when Jay Cutler pitched the ball in Matt Forte’s direction on the first play from scrimmage.  Forte couldn’t get a handle on the ball and the Bears settled for a 10 yard loss and ultimately had to punt.

On the very next series, with offensive lineman Eben Britton checked in as eligible to get an extra blocker into the game, Jay Cutler was bulldozed from the blind side and fumbled the ball, allowing the Saints to take over with a first and goal situation.

In both cases, the Bears defense managed to hold the Saints to field goals, but it put the Bears behind early and put the Saints in the driver’s seat.

I applaud Trestman and the coaching staff for making adjustments and righting the ship, but they cannot continue to let the offense start off in the mud.