Final

Bears 20

(5-3, 2-2 away)

Saints 17

(2-7, 1-4 home)

4:05 PM ET, November 6, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 7 3 7 320
NO 3 7 0 717

Top Performers

Passing: A. Brooks (NO) - 170 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: A. Smith (NO) - 17 CAR, 110 YDS

Receiving: M. Muhammad (CHI) - 3 REC, 85 YDS

Bears edge reeling Saints to win fourth straight

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- The Chicago Bears showed off the depth of their running attack and strengthened their credentials as a serious playoff contender.

It was over when ...
Kyle Orton threw a 22-yard pass to set up Robbie Gould's winning 28-yard field goal with six seconds left.
Game ball goes to ...
Rookie Robbie Gould, who accounted for eight of the Bears' 20 points, including the game-winning kick.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen The Bears were supposed to be in the basement of the NFC North, but they found a way to have some offensive consistency. They went out and got Muhsin Muhammad who gives them a viable offensive threat in the air and they also drafted a good running back in Cedric Benson. In addition to Benson they also have Thomas Jones out there having a very good season. This team can and will continue to surprise people.
-- Eric Allen

The New Orleans Saints knocked starter Thomas Jones from the game in the first half, only to watch Adrian Peterson and Cedric Benson combine for 137 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in the Bears' 20-17 victory Sunday.

"We get off the plane running the ball," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Cedric Benson, Thomas Jones, Adrian Peterson all did a good job ... What can I say about the offensive line I haven't said?"

Robbie Gould made the winning field goal with 6 seconds to go from 28 yards. Kyle Orton set up the clincher with a 22-yard, third-down completion on a sideline route to Muhsin Muhammad at the 10-yard line. That allowed Chicago (5-3) to run the clock down to 10 seconds before lining up for the winning kick.

Saints owner Tom Benson stayed away from Baton Rouge as promised after complaining that security was inadequate to protect him from angry fans. A number of fans stayed away, too. The crowd was announced at 32,637, dwarfed by LSU's 93,000-seat Tiger Stadium. The no-shows were probably glad they didn't come as the Saints (2-7) lost their fifth straight despite playing well in stints.

Chicago, meanwhile, won its fourth straight for the first time since 2001-02, the last time the Bears were playoff bound.

Peterson gave the Bears a 17-10 lead in the third quarter on a 6-yard carry after he had run for a slashing 36-yard gain one play earlier. He finished with 58 yards on six carries.

Benson had 79 yards on 14 carries, including a 27-yarder during the Bears' final drive, which began on the Chicago 25 and ate up 4:02.

"I never thought there was that much space in the NFL, but there was a lot of it," said Benson, a rookie out of Texas. "It says a lot more for our offensive line. Those guys are consistent, snap after snap. You could say anybody could look good behind those guys."

Orton was 12-of-26 for 137 yards and a touchdown and was intercepted twice. But the Bears ran for 183 yards, with Jones gaining 40 yards on 11 carries before leaving with bruised ribs.

Antowain Smith had 110 yards on 17 carries for the Saints, while Aaron Brooks was 16-of-26 for 170 yards and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions, the second on a desperate heave as time expired.

Although the Saints ran well, they came up short on third-and-1 with under five minutes left, setting up the Bears' decisive drive.

"We just cannot seem to get that one little play here and there that gives you a better chance of winning at the end," offensive tackle Wayne Gandy said. "You'd hope you could take that ball with four minutes to go and get a field goal. We created that third-and-one. It wasn't successful."

The Saints' first two possessions got them to or inside the Chicago 20, but they only came away with John Carney's 21-yard field goal, set up by Smith's 42-yard run on their opening drive.

"We talked all week about how we kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns and we came out and did the same thing," said Saints coach Jim Haslett, who has never been this far below .500 in six seasons as a head coach.

The second drive began on the Chicago 35 after Fred Thomas' interception of a tipped pass.

However, running back Aaron Stecker fumbled on the Chicago 15 and Chris Harris returned it to the New Orleans 38. That was the first of three New Orleans drives that started in Chicago territory after turnovers, none of which yielded points.

The Bears have made a habit of converting turnovers into points lately, and did so seven plays after Harris' fumble return. Orton drilled a 4-yard slant pass to Justin Gage for a 7-3 lead.

New Orleans jumped back ahead 10-7 on a 14-play, 95-yard drive that ended when Brooks hit Donte' Stallworth on a crossing route for a 15-yard score. It was the Saints' first touchdown in more than eight quarters.

Against a Chicago defense that entered the game allowing an average of fewer than 85 yards rushing, the Saints' resurgent ground game surpassed 100 yards by the second quarter.

But Harris' sack on a safety blitz helped Chicago get the ball back with just under two minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Bears then drove from their 31 to the Saints 17, setting up Gould's 35-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 with 22 seconds left in the half.

Game notes


Gage started for Mark Bradley (knee), who was placed on injured reserve last week. ... Saints TE Ernie Conwell (knee) did not play. Zach Hilton started in his place and dropped potential touchdown pass on New Orleans' first drive. ... Orton's interception was his first in 63 attempts.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Chicago
New Orleans
1st Downs1515
3rd down efficiency
4-157-15
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Yards314283
Yards per play5.24.6
Total Drives32
Passing131150
Comp-Att
12-2616-26
Yards per pass
5.05.8
Interceptions thrown
22
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-63-20
Rushing183133
Rushing Attempts
3233
Yards per rush
5.74.0
Penalties8-606-70
Turnovers34
Fumbles lost
12
Interceptions thrown
22
Possession26:1833:42

Passing Leaders

CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Orton12/261375.3122-6
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brooks16/261706.5123-20

Rushing Leaders

CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Benson14795.6036
Peterson6589.7136
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Smith171106.5042
Stecker13292.2011

Receiving Leaders

CHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Muhammad38528.3033
Gage4287.0113
NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Poole14242.0042
Stallworth33712.3116

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCHINO
FG2:42John Carney 22 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 49 yds, 2:42
03
TD8:34Justin Gage 4 Yd Pass From Kyle Orton (Robbie Gould Kick)
Drive: 6 plays, 38 yds, 2:06
73
SECOND QUARTERCHINO
TD5:03Donte' Stallworth 15 Yd Pass From Aaron Brooks (John Carney Kick)
Drive: 14 plays, 95 yds, 8:30
710
FG14:38Robbie Gould 35 Yd
Drive: 9 plays, 52 yds, 1:16
1010
THIRD QUARTERCHINO
TD7:31Adrian Peterson 6 Yd Run (Robbie Gould Kick)
Drive: 6 plays, 94 yds, 3:22
1710
FOURTH QUARTERCHINO
TD7:16Aaron Brooks 1 Yd Run (John Carney Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 80 yds, 6:24
1717
FG14:54Robbie Gould 28 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 65 yds, 3:58
2017