The New Orleans Saints (13-4) "Defended the Dome" on Sunday and defeated the Chicago Bears (8-9) by the final score of 21-9 in the 2021 NFC Wild-Card round. Drew Brees led the Saints to their ninth playoff victory since 2006, passing for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
With the victory, the Saints advance to the NFC Divisional Round and will battle their NFC South Rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday at 5:40 PM CST from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Defense Stands Tall
New Orleans' defense held Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears to only 6 first downs. Before Chicago's final drive, they were 1 of 9 on third downs in the game.
Though they did not force a turnover, Dennis Allen's group surrendered under 240 total yards to an offense that began to find their groove. In December, the Bears scored 30+ points in three of their four final regular-season games.
The league's top 3 rushing defense proved strong again, allowing just 31 rushing yards to 1,000-yard regular season rusher David Montgomery. Chicago concluded the game with only 48 total rushing yards, including 10 from Mitchell Trubisky.
The Saints defense stood on their head from the opening kick, forcing half of the Bears' ten drives in three and outs. It was the first time in Saints franchise history to hold an opponent to 10 or fewer points in a playoff game.
Reinforcements came at just the right time for the New Orleans Saints receiving corps. Sunday afternoon, the Black and Gold returned both WR Michael Thomas and WR/KR Deonte Harris to the gridiron after stints on injured reserve. The duo produced in their first game back in over three weeks, combining 150+ receiving yards and 1 touchdown.
Thomas started the game with a bang by scoring his first touchdown on the Saints' second drive. For Harris, his elusiveness resulted in multiple first downs, including a huge catch for 24 yards.
In need of a spark in the receiving corps, Thomas and Harris provided what was missing throughout the regular season. Between the big plays and clutch first-down grabs, New Orleans appears to have added another layer to their Top-10 offense. This can prove to be the difference throughout the 2021 playoffs.
Vintage Cool Brees
Since returning from 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung, Saints QB Drew Brees has continued to make strides in returning to his elite form. Brees appeared to be 100% back to his usual self, providing a vintage performance in front of 3,500 members of the Who Dat Nation.
Brees concluded the Wild-Card Round by completing 19 of 29 passes for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns en route to another playoff victory on his career resume. The future Hall of Fame quarterback led the Saints to two second-half scoring drives spanning over seven minutes, allowing just two passes to fall incomplete.
With a full arsenal, Brees connected with ten different Saints receivers and connecting multiple times with eight of them. Drew Brees has now thrown for over 5,000 postseason yards 36 postseason touchdowns in 17 playoff games.
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