Dec 15, 2014 10:09 PM
Saints lead Bears 14-0 at halftime
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 14-0 halftime lead over the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
Brees was 18 for 20 for 226 yards, helping New Orleans get off to a fast start in its quest for a win that would give it sole possession of first place in the woeful NFC South. Running back Pierre Thomas had five receptions for 83 yards.
Chicago managed just 92 yards of offense in the first half after New Orleans lost 41-10 to Carolina last weekend. Jay Cutler was 6 of 14 for 56 yards and two interceptions in the early going, prompting a round of boos from the crowd on a rainy night at Soldier Field.
The Saints finally went ahead after wasting several opportunities in the first quarter. Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller was called for a 17-yard pass-interference penalty trying to defend Jimmy Graham, setting New Orleans up with first-and-goal.
Brees then rolled to his right on the first play of the second quarter and found an open Josh Hill, who lunged across the goal line for an 8-yard touchdown.
The first half was so bad for Chicago that its best play of the first two quarters might have been Patrick O'Donnell's 56-yard punt that went out of bounds at the New Orleans 5 with about four minutes left in the second. But the Saints responded with a 10-play, 95-yard drive.
Brees threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 38 seconds left, giving the Saints a 14-0 lead. Cutler's pass was then picked off by Pierre Warren on the final play in the half.
New Orleans and Chicago came in with 5-8 records. But while the Bears are out of the playoff race, the Saints still have a shot at a division title. They began the night percentage points behind Carolina and a half-game ahead of Atlanta after dropping four of five.
The Saints wasted a big scoring opportunity in the early going.
New Orleans took over at the Chicago 24 after Patrick Robinson intercepted a pass that went off Martellus Bennett's hands on the game's third play from scrimmage. Rather than grab the lead, the Saints quickly gave the ball back.
Nick Toon got stripped by Brock Vereen after a 10-yard reception and Jared Allen made the recovery at the 3.
The Saints came away empty-handed on their next possession when Shayne Graham's 51-yard field-goal attempt fell short.
Chicago was penalized six times for 54 yards in the first half, compared to three penalties for 25 yards for New Orleans.
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