Turnovers plague Bears in loss to Saints
Stephen Lew - USA Today Sports

Turnovers plague Bears in loss to Saints

by - Senior Writer -

NEW ORLEANS - It may not look like it when you look at the Chicago Bears (2-7) record, but this team has been playing better in recent weeks, or, should I say, more consistently. Look no further than this weekend's matchup with the New Orleans Saints (5-4) at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Sure, Tyson Bagent continued to make mistakes with three interceptions, but he also completed 18-30 passes for 220 yards and two more touchdowns. Both scores came to Cole Kmet, who finally had one of those games the Bears saw from him over the past two seasons. In what was a back-and-forth affair with the game tied 17-17 entering the fourth quarter, it was the Saints defense that stood tall and made the plays in the fourth quarter as they capitalized on the Bears miscues to push home the game-winning score as the Saints fend off the Bears 24-17 to move back above .500 and in first place in the NFC South.

With the ball first to open the game, Bagent quickly went to his passing game and found Darnell Mooney for a quick first down. Mooney finally looked like the player of old in this one as he hauled in seven receptions for 82 yards to lead the team. As if that wasn't enough, Bagent also found DJ Moore for another first-down pickup before D'Onta Foreman and his team-leading 83 yards rushing got things going. Bagent also played a role in that drive using his legs as he added 70 yards rushing, but it was his 18-yard hookup to Kmet that gave the Bears an early 7-0 lead.

Looking to get things going on their first possession, Derek Carr started things off with a first down completion to Chris Olave before being forced to punt it away three plays later. That momentum shift didn't last long, as Bagent was picked off for the first time on the next possession to give the Saints a great field position. 10 plays later saw Carr find Olave again as the eight-yard completion brought things back to even.

When you talk about the quick strike offense the Bears were looking to build this offseason, their next possession was a prime example, as they needed less than three minutes to go 75 yards on just six plays. Finding Mooney for 38 yards was a big reason for that drive, but so were the legs of Bagent moving the ball inside the 10 before Kmet picked up his second TD of the game from nine yards out to make things 14-7.

Looking to answer yet again, it was the Saints offense putting together another long drive as they needed 11 plays and roughly half the quarter to get things done. A 23-yard reception by Foster Moreau got things started, as did another first-down completion to Alvin Kamara. As expected, Taysom Hill also got involved by using his legs before he hauled in a two-yard pass from Carr to make things 14-14. Chicago had a chance to take the lead right before the half, but their 13-play drive stalled with Cairo Santos missing a 40-yard field goal attempt.

The second half couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the Bears as they fumbled on their first possession for their second turnover, which led to the go-ahead Saints field goal. The Bears would answer that field goal with one of their own as another lengthy 13-play drive resulted in the 32-yard Santos field goal to make things 17-17. Mooney played a massive role during that drive with several excellent completions, as did the legs of Foreman and Bagent yet again.

Despite pulling even once again, those were the final points for the Bears offense the rest of the way as the Saints defense toughened up to make life difficult for Chicago. With both teams having to settle for punts on their next possessions, the Saints offense got rolling with Rashid Saheed moving the ball into the Red Zone following a 12-yard completion. Hill and Kamara answered that with two 13-yard runs, which set things up for Hill to find Juwan Johnson in the back of the endzone for the three-yard TD and put the Saints back in front 24-17.

Two plays into their next possession saw the Bears turn it over for the third time as Bagent's pass for Mooney was picked off. The Bears defense would hold the Saints by forcing them to turn it over on downs, but once again it was a costly mistake from Bagent as his second consecutive interception and third of the game killed any hopes of a potential rally. New Orleans had chance to put the game away later in the third, but a missed field gave the Bears a glimmer of hope as they were getting the ball back one last time.

Unfortunately, Bagent and the offense would have the ball for just 21 seconds as a strip sack from Demario Davis handed the Bears their fifth and final turnover as the Saints picked up the 24-17 win. Chicago won't have long to move on from this as they welcome the Carolina Panthers to Soldier Field on Thursday.

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