New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees matched his own record he set last year when he passed for more than 300 yards for the ninth consecutive game dating back to last season. In total, he has thrown for more than 300 yards 76 times in his career. To offer some perspective, that’s more than four times the amount of games -Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has thrown for 300-plus yards (18).
Saying this game is a test for the Bears is an understatement. The Saints made quick work of their opponent Monday night, the Miami Dolphins, defeating them 38-17. Before the Saints’ barrage of points, the Dolphins were up 14-10 at halftime. Allowing only three points the entire second half is a scary thought, especially if they are going up against an offense that has been known to get off to slow starts and barely have enough gas to overcome those starts.
Even more problematic for the Bears is that through four games the Saints have given up 55 points and 626.7 yards. In the first two games alone, the Bears gave up 55 points and 690 yards. For a team that ranks near the 20 slot in almost every offensive and defensive category (23rd in opponent’s passing yards), that is cause for concern.
Saints come marching at difficult time for Chicago Bears
Putting aside the numbers, the Bears simply need to step it up this Sunday on both sides of the ball. Cutler recently took the blame for last week’s loss against the Lions, but that is not good enough. He needs to come out and show everyone this is not just a fluke of a team that got lucky breaks to start the year , which has been the opinion of a lot of people. Obviously, going against a team like the Saints will not be a walk in the park, there will be some challenges. However, the good needs to outweigh the bad, and Cutler above everyone else needs to make up for his previous mistakes. His four turnovers against the Lions occurred as a result of poor fundamentals, underthrown passes and the Lions simply taking advantage when they saw fit.
The defense needs to do better. Allowing the Lions to account for 387 totals yards will not fly against a Saints team that ranks 5th in passing offense. Not to mention, Brees alone accounted for 413 of the team’s total offense Monday night against the Dolphins so that is something the Bears need to key on this week defensively. They also need to focus on tight end Jimmy Graham and lightning bolt running back Darren Sproles, so the Bears definitely will have a lot on their plate at practice this week. Missed tackles and gap assignments will not do against New Orleans.
Even Chicago’s punters have been subpar. Adam Podlesh, who has been known to struggle as a member of the Bears, had a 53-yard punt returned by the Lions’ Michael Spurlock for a touchdown. He also had a 33-yard punt out of bounds and a 35-yard punt for an average of 40 yards per punt. The punts gave the Lions great field position, something that cannot be given to the Saints. Return specialist Devin Hester was no factor for the Bears, as he returned six kickoffs for an average of 24.5 yards.
The Bears need to do a much better job in all areas of the game if they want to beat the Saints Sunday. I have faith that the coaching staff will get the players’ minds right in preparation for this game, but it’s up to them to execute.