Here’s what happened in the Bears' loss to the New Orleans Saints, 36-25, on Sunday at Soldier Field.
THREE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
1. It couldn’t have started in an odder fashion. The Bears went three-and-out on their first possession and Pat O’Donnell’s punt was blocked. The ball deflected into the end zone and O’Donnell batted it out of bounds. The play resulted in a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Saints. It was a bad omen for the Bears and the offense failed to become any more productive as the game wore on.
2. With the offense nonexistent early in the game, the Bears were in need of a spark and Cordarrelle Patterson gave them one. Following a touchdown to put New Orleans ahead, 9-0, Patterson carried the kickoff 102 yards to the end zone, breaking a tackle near midfield along the way. It was the Bears’ first kickoff return touchdown at Soldier Field since Devin Hester took one back 98 yards against the Vikings on Oct. 16, 2011.
3. The Bears trailed, 12-10, at halftime and were still in good position, despite the first-half struggles. On the first drive after half, New Orleans quarterback Teddy Bridgewater – playing in place of injured Drew Brees – led the Saints 75 yards in six plays. Running back Latavius Murray scored a three-yard run to cap the drive.
THREE THINGS THAT WORKED
1. Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson again showed why he is the team’s top playmaker right now. He was quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s top target and he kept finding open space in the New Orleans defense. Receiver Taylor Gabriel returned after missing time due to a concussion and Tarik Cohen hauled in a handful of catches.
2. Patterson’s kickoff return touchdown proved to be the only positive highlight for the Bears. It was an electric moment for a player who was brought to Chicago for just that purpose. It was Patterson’s first kick return score in a Bears uniform and the seventh of his career.
3. Trubisky’s poor performance overshadowed the fact that he was on the field at all. The QB played with a brace on his left shoulder and appeared to be as mobile as ever. Having the starter back healthy was a positive, even if the result wasn’t.
THREE THINGS THAT DIDN’T
1. The Saints played without running back Alvin Kamara and without Brees. That seemed to point to an advantage for Chicago, but it proved anything but. Bridgewater guided the Saints into Bears territory time and again. The Saints offense amassed more than 400 yards against a Bears defense that came into the game allowing 266 total yards per game.
2. Head coach Matt Nagy and the Bears abandoned the running game again. Trubisky handed off to Cohen on the first play from scrimmage but rarely did so again. The Bears rushed seven times for 17 total yards – for the game. Receiver Anthony Miller fumbled away one carry, giving the Saints the ball with a short field. The offensive line had trouble creating holes. Rashaad Coward played at right guard after Kyle Long was placed on injured reserve this week.
3. The absence of Akiem Hicks on the defensive line shouldn’t be understated either. The Pro Bowl tackle was more than just a big body up front. For the most part, Bridgewater kept his uniform clean. He had time to throw and was sacked once. Murray rushed for more than 100 yards in Kamara's absence.
The Los Angeles Chargers travel to Soldier Field to take on the Bears at noon on Sunday. These two last played in 2015, a Bears win, 22-19, in San Diego.