Dec 15, 2014 10:52 PM
Saints lead Bears 24-0 after 3 quarters
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Drew Brees threw two of his three touchdown passes to Josh Hill, and the New Orleans Saints had a 24-0 lead over the Chicago Bears after three quarters Monday night.
Brees was 27 for 33 for 346 yards, moving New Orleans to the brink of a win that would give it sole possession of first place in the woeful NFC South. Marques Colston had four receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Chicago's offense struggled in the first three periods against a New Orleans team which lost 41-10 to Carolina last weekend. Jay Cutler threw three interceptions, prompting a couple rounds of boos from the crowd on a rainy night at Soldier Field.
Brees found Hill for 7-yard touchdown pass with 8:35 left in the third, and Shayne Graham added a 25-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the period.
The Saints jumped in front 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 passed to an open 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 Colston with 38 seconds left in the half, giving the Saints a 14-0 lead. Cutler's pass was then picked off by Pierre Warren on the final play in the half. Warren added another interception in the third.
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 Graham's 51-yard field-goal attempt fell short.
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