5 Positives/5 Negatives From Saints’ Win Over Bears
Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints’ 20-12 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The victory, their fifth-straight, improved the Saints to 5-2 on the season.
1)---5-Straight: The win pushed the Saints' current win streak to 5-straight, their longest since 2013, when they opened the season with 5-consecutive wins. 2013 was also the last year that the Saints made the playoffs. The triumph also kept them in sole possession of first place in the NFC South, a half-game in front of the Carolina Panthers. Winning certainly is fun!
2)---Drew Brees: He wasn't spectacular, but he threw for 299 yards, without throwing an interception. Brees took what the Bears gave him, and that was enough. With his 23-yard completion to Michael Thomas early in the third quarter, Brees joined Brett Favre (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to complete 6,000 passes in his career. And Brees reached the milestone in only 240 games; compared to Manning, who did it in 259 games, and Favre, who did it in 286 games.
3)---Craig Robertson: For the third-consecutive week, he was really good as a starter, finishing second on the team with 5 tackles, including 4 solo stops, and two tackles for a loss. Every game, even going back to last year, Robertson just always seems to give the Saints a solid performance.
4)---Marshon Lattimore: Man, is this guy beginning to look like quite the draft pick! Rookies corners typically don't play this well, this early. Name me one that does! Marcus Peters, and, well, I come up with nobody else. There may be one or two more, but the point is that rookie corners seldom make the impact he has. The Bears only threw for 164 yards, and no, they aren't a good passing team, but this is the NFL. Lattimore was outstanding once again on Sunday, and sealed the win a late interception.
5)---Special Team: Wow! Seldom is this unit on this side of the list! Thomas Morstead punted a ball 61 yards in the first half, before backspinning another punt at the Bears' 1-yard line in the third quarter. On the day, he averaged 51 yards-per-punt. Meanwhile, Wil Lutz made both his field-goal attempts, including one from 49 yards, while the rest of the special teams didn't seem to have any issues.
1)---Running Backs: I love the tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, but they kept the Bears in the game on Sunday.Ingram, who was benched last year, due to fumbling issues, fumbled twice late in the game on Sunday, allowing the Bears to remain alive. I only mention Kamara because he got lucky, having a called fumble overturned. Really, I wouldn't trade these guys for any other tandem in the league right now, but they simply have to protect the football better, especially Ingram.
2)---Akiem Hicks: He's having a Pro Bowl caliber season, and was good again on Sunday, just letting you know he's one that got away. Hicks played for the Saints from 2012-2015, before being traded to the Patriots for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Since joining the Bears in 2016, Hicks has been dominant.
3)---Willie Snead: After a career season in 2016, one in which he caught 72 passes, Snead has been nowhere to be found in 2017, with only one catch. He was suspended the first three games of the season, and has been hampered by a bad hamstring over the last few weeks, but there wouldn't be all this talk about trading for another offensive weapon if Snead were playing at the level he did last year. Again on Sunday, Snead was an afterthought, finishing without a catch.
4)---Coby Fleener: I really thought that Fleener, in his second year in the offense, would take a step up this year, but that just hasn't been the case. On Sunday, he was disappointing again, with one catch for -1 yard. Like Snead, there wouldn't be this talk of the Saints adding an offensive weapon if Fleener would be playing at a higher level.
5)---Third-Down Efficiency: The Saints won, but not because of this department. The Bears were 8-of-17 on third down conversions on Sunday, while the Saints were only 2-of-9. They simply have to get better in this department, on both sides of the ball.