Saints force five turnovers to edge Bears 24-17

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Despite finishing with 301 total yards of offense, the Saints defense forced five turnovers to beat the Chicago Bears 24-17 on Sunday and take sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Leading New Orleans (5-4) was utility player Taysom Hill who caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter before throwing for one in the fourth quarter. Chicago Bears (2-7) quarterback Tyson Bagent looked even keel for the most part, but the Saints defense was too strong in the second half for the rookie signal caller.

“None of these are ever easy in our league. Anyone who tells you that is going to get their ass beat. Takeaways were outstanding and that was what made the game,” second-year Saints head coach Dennis Allen said. “Five takeaways were good for us and gave us enough to get the win. Our guys making plays made the difference in this game.”

Even with the turnovers, underwhelming offensive and special team play allowed for the Bears to have a chance to win at the end. With 2:30 remaining in the fourth, rookie kicker Blake Grupe missed a 47-yard field goal that would have put the Saints up by two possessions.

Fortunately for the black and gold, star linebacker and Mississippi native Demario Davis strip-sacked Bagent during Chicago’s subsequent two-minute drill, securing the victory.

“I would like us to be more consistent moving ahead,” Allen continued. “Halftime adjustments are way overrated. Just play better, coach better, and execute better.”

The other four turnovers were from defensive back Paulson Adebo, who had two interceptions and one forced fumble, and safety Marcus Maye with a third-quarter interception. The Saints now lead the NFL in interceptions with 12.

Offensively, Hill added 52 yards on the ground as the pair of touchdowns made him the first player since Hall of Famer Frank Gifford to score 10 or more times as a passer (11), runner (26), and receiver (10).

Derek Carr completed 25 of 34 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns while running back Alvin Kamara added 70 yards. Both Chris Olave and Juwan Johnson hauled in scoring passes.

For the Bears, Bagent threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 18 of 30 passing. The Division II product also added 70 yards with his feet. His favorite targets on the day were Cole Kmet (55 yards, two touchdowns) and Darnell Mooney (82 yards). Running back D’Onta Foreman had 83 yards on 20 carries.

Next up for New Orleans will be a Minnesota Vikings team that found a win over Atlanta on Sunday even without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins. The game will be in Minneapolis with a noon kickoff time. Chicago will return to action against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.

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