Even as the Saints toiled in the first half, it never appeared the Bears had a chance. Maybe if Javon Wims hadn’t dropped a perfectly thrown pass for a touchdown in the first half the momentum would have shifted and the Bears would have found some confidence.
He didn’t, and they didn’t.
The Saints finally put away the Bears in the second half, scoring two touchdowns (and nearly a third) in the final 19 minutes against a worn-down Chicago defense.
New Orleans won 21-9 to advance to the divisional round, where the Saints will face their divisional rival for a third time this season. The Saints beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers 34-23 in Week 1 and 38-3 in Week 9.
The Saints thought they added the exclamation point on the victory when Drew Brees leaped over the pile with 2:22 left on fourth-and-goal from the 1. He yelled to the camera, “We were getting in!” four times as he left the field.
He did not get in.
Replay overturned the touchdown as Brees did not break the plane of the goal line.
Almost everything else went the Saints’ way on Sunday aside from a missed Wil Lutz field goal.
Brees went 28-of-39 for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Alvin Kamara ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in his return from COVID-19; Michael Thomas caught five passes for 73 yards and his first touchdown in more than a year in returning from an ankle injury; and Deonte Harris caught seven passes for 83 yards in his return from a neck injury.
The Bears gained only 115 yards on their first nine drives, going three-and-out five times. They went 99 yards in 11 plays on their final drive, with Jimmy Graham scoring on a 19-yard touchdown pass on the final play.
Graham ran directly into the locker room after his one-handed catch as time expired.
The Bears finished with 49 plays for 239 yards. They were 1-for-10 on third down.
In what may be his final game for the Bears, Mitchell Trubisky completed 19 of 29 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.