Saints
Bears
25 - 33 Final
  for this game

Bears end Saints' fleeting playoff hopes

Dec 31, 2007 - 1:12 AM By Scot Marcotte PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) - The Chicago Bears did not treat their regular-season finale as a meaningless game.

Kyle Orton threw a pair of touchdown passes and Devin Hester scored twice to lead the Bears to a 33-25 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

In winning its last two games, Chicago denied the Saints an opportunity to make the playoffs and prevented a losing record on its home turf.

"If we had one this game today, we still might have had an opportunity in the playoffs," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "There'd still be a sense of excitement as we board the plane to head back to New Orleans that when we land, we might hear the surprising news. Obviously, we know that's not the case."

New Orleans' postseason chances were slim, needing a victory and losses by Washington and Minnesota.

Setting an early, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher intercepted a pass by Brees on their first drive. It set up a 39-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.

It was Urlacher's fifth interception to go along with five sacks for the season.

"As a linebacker, we talk about the '55' club, getting five sacks and five interceptions in a season, that's hard to do," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "It is good to see Brian Urlacher, a guy that's played as well as anyone at the linebacker position these past couple weeks, do that."

The Bears turned to trickery on their third score, with Kyle Orton handing off to running back Adrian Peterson, who passed nine yards to receiver Bernard Berrian on a halfback-option for a 21-7 lead with 5:45 left in the first half.

The Bears also managed to get Hester into the game in a variety of ways, in what could be a preview of the 2008 Bears offense.

It wouldn't be a Bears game without Hester returning a punt for a touchdown. Hester set a single-season record for touchdown returns with six when he brought back a punt 64 yards 2:29 into the third quarter to make it 31-17.

Prior to that punt return, Hester grabbed a 55-yard touchdown pass from Orton just after the two-minute warning in the first half to make it 24-14.

"There's just so many things you can picture him being able to do," Smith said. "I think he can become a No. 1 receiver in the league."

Orton, who stepped in three weeks ago in place of the injured Rex Grossman, could have put himself into the mix for next season's starting quarterback role.

"Yeah, I think I am part of the conversation," Orton said. "I have all the confidence that if I got the chance, I would win the job."

"He (Orton) just seems to help us win every time he's behind center," Smith said.

In the final 37 seconds of the first half, though, it got ugly for the Chicago. Instead of running out the clock, Orton tossed to Peterson, who fumbled on the Bears 29-yard line.

Antwan Lake of the Saints recovered and then Brees promptly threw an interception to Charles Tillman in the end zone. Instead of taking a knee, Tillman ran the ball out to the 30 and promptly fumbled back to the Saints' Lance Moore.

That set up Martin Gramatica's 48-yard field goal as time expired.

The Saints did manage to accomplish some individual records. Brees finished the game 35-of-60 for 320 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He finished with 443 completions on the season, surpassing the previous NFL record of 418 set by Rich Gannon in 2002.

One of his primary targets, Marques Colston, caught eight passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns to set a team record with 98 receptions on the season. Colston, who caught scoring passes of 3 yards and 21 yards, left the game in the fourth quarter with a wrist injury.

"I'm happy for Drew," Colston said. "He's a great guy, a great player. He deserves something like that."

With Saints running backs Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker also nursing injuries, Pierre Thomas took full advantage of his rookie audition.

Thomas eclipsed the century mark with 105 yards on 20 carries. He added 12 catches for 121 yards. Thomas' coach in college was Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner.

"He (Turner) told his guys on the scout team that I'd run the ball hard," Thomas said. "He told the defense they'd have their hands full. I tried to give them that. I told him at the beginning of the game I was ready, I was hyped up."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NEW ORLEANS 0 17 0 8 25
    CHICAGO 10 14 7 2 33 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - FG, ROBBIE GOULD 39 YD, 3:00. Drive: 4
    plays, 0 yards in 0:54. Key plays:
    Urlacher 3-yard interception return
    to New Orleans 21. CHICAGO 3-0
    CHI - TD, MARK BRADLEY 19 YD PASS FROM KYLE


    Dec 30 4:16 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    PIERRE THOMAS 11 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (PIERRE THOMAS RUN FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
    NEW ORLEANS 25
    CHICAGO 33 0:07 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 4:12 PM
  • 101
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 91 roots (Close Finish)

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 4:12 PM


  • NFL
    SAFETY CHI
    PENALTY ON JAMMAL BROWN IN END ZONE
    NEW ORLEANS 17
    CHICAGO 33 5:14 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 4:00 PM
  • 10
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 3:28 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NEW ORLEANS 0 17 0 17
    CHICAGO 10 14 7 31 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - FG, ROBBIE GOULD 39 YD, 3:00. Drive: 4
    plays, 0 yards in 0:54. Key plays:
    Urlacher 3-yard interception return
    to New Orleans 21. CHICAGO 3-0
    CHI - TD, MARK BRADLEY 19 YD PASS FROM

    Dec 30 3:28 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    DEVIN HESTER 48 YD PUNT RETURN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    NEW ORLEANS 17
    CHICAGO 31 12:31 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 2:59 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 48 YD
    NEW ORLEANS 17
    CHICAGO 24 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dec 30 2:42 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 48 YD
    NEW ORLEANS 17
    CHICAGO 24 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 2:42 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    DEVIN HESTER 55 YD PASS FROM KYLE ORTON
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    NEW ORLEANS 14
    CHICAGO 24 1:48 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 2:28 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    MARQUES COLSTON 21 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    NEW ORLEANS 14
    CHICAGO 17 2:07 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 2:23 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    BERNARD BERRIAN 9 YD PASS FROM ADRIAN PETERSON
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    NEW ORLEANS 7
    CHICAGO 17 5:45 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 2:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    MARQUES COLSTON 3 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    NEW ORLEANS 7
    CHICAGO 10 8:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 2:05 PM


  • NFL
    NEW ORLEANS 0
    CHICAGO 10 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
    NOR BALL ON NOR 33 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Dec 30 1:49 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    MARK BRADLEY 19 YD PASS FROM KYLE ORTON
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    NEW ORLEANS 0
    CHICAGO 10 6:26 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 1:29 PM


  • NFL
    FG CHI
    ROBBIE GOULD 39 YD
    NEW ORLEANS 0
    CHICAGO 3 12:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 1:12 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Diddy Added 5 roots

    Saints vs. BearsDec 30 11:49 AM