The New Orleans Saints‘ defense had another solid effort in a 28-16 win over the Chicago Bears, Sunday. Although Jay Cutler passed for 358 yards and two touchdowns, the Saints’ defense set the tone early in the game and forced the Bears to play catch up.
After the whistles had blown indicating the game was over and the Saints had won, New Orleans had recorded three sacks and one fumble recovery. The Saints were able to pressure Cutler at times, as well, recording six quarterback hits in all.
A usually solid Bears’ running game was limited to just 94-yards, with Cutler picking up 27 on four quarterback scrambles. Featured running back Matt Forte had 55-yards on 12 carries.
Of the first four possessions for the Bears, the Saints were able to reach Cutler and sack him on three of those first-half possessions. Safety Malcom Jenkins was able to sack Cutler, which forced a fumble, and Cameron Jordan scooped it up and returned it 11 yards. This ultimately led to a New Orleans field goal. The next two possessions for Chicago in the first-half had more quarterback sacks, with linebacker David Hawthorne and rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro each recording a sack.
New Orleans’ defense and and its young players were arguably the biggest question mark surrounding the Saints entering the 2013 NFL season. The question marks seemed to have been removed, however, as the defense has continually came up big when the team needed it to.
There was the goal-line stand against the Atlanta Falcons in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter in the season opener. New Orleans’ defense rattled Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer almost the entire game in Week 3. In Week 4 the Saints’ defense caused fumbles and turnovers, rattled second-year Miami Dolphins‘ quarterback Ryan Tannehill and gave opportunities to a slow-starting offense.
With a prolific offense and a defense that is reminiscent of the one from the 2009 season, right now the sky is the limit for the 5-0 New Orleans team. If defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can continue to keep his defensive squad productive, disrupt opposing quarterbacks and keep giving the offense opportunistic field position, I expect the city of New Orleans will deem him the Patron Saint of Defensive Redemption—and beautiful, long-flowing hair.
It’s a good time to be a Saints’ fan.