It was a sloppy first quarter for the Chicago Bears in their game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
In the first quarter, the Bears’ offensive line struggled in containing the the different blitzing schemes of the Saints. On the first sack of the game for Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler, Cutler once again showed poor fundamentals in protecting the ball. While being pressured, Cutler was scrambling while holding the ball low to his waist with one hand. Cutler was sacked and consequently fumbled the ball. The fumble was returned into the Saints’ red zone. That is when the Saints notched their second field goal of the game and had a 6-to-0 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bears’ defense–which had been successful in containing Drew Brees–faltered as a 38-yard pass from Brees to tight end Jimmy Graham set the saints up in the red zone. On a goal line play, Brees completed a 2-yard pass to Pierre Thomas that gave the Saints a touchdown.
Later in the quarter, the Bears opened up the playbook on offense. After a 31-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery set the Bears up in the red zone, a Brandon Marshall screen pass set the Bears up with a goal-line situation. Cutler looked to Jeffery once more and the two connected for the Bears’ first touchdown of the game.
In the closing minute of the first half, a 25-yard screen pass from Brees to Thomas went for a touchdown and gave the Saints a 20-to-7 lead.
The Saints’ defensive schemes were certainly causing the Bears fits in the first half. It was clear in the first half that the Bears were not anticipating the Saints to blitz as much as the team did in the first half. Those blitzes were successful for the Saints as they often forced Cutler to rush his throws and not connect with his receivers.
That was the difference in the game. The game-plan on offense for the Bears against the Saints was to have sustained drives in order to keep the Saints’ offense off the field. That wasn’t successful, though, as one of the ways the team planned on doing that was with Matt Forte. Forte, however, struggled on the ground in the first half as the Bears’ running back only had 10 rushing yards in the first half.
That is likely what led the Chicago Bears’ head coach Marc Trestman opening up the playbook towards the end of the second quarter. Though, the issue with that is it then gives more opportunities for Brees and the Saints’ offense.
The Bears are once again in a position where they need a second half comeback as they trail the Saints by 13 at half-time.