Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Associated Press
CHICAGO - Drew Brees passed to Jimmy Graham along the sideline. He found the tight end over the middle. They hooked up for long plays and short ones, all over the field.
That New Orleans connection was just too much for the Chicago Bears.
Brees threw two touchdown passes, Graham tied an NFL record with another 100-yard game and the Saints defeated the Bears 26-18 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.
"We knew the formula coming into this game was to remain patient, to run the football effectively, to be very efficient in the passing game and to take care of the football, priority No. 1," Brees said, "and we were able to do all those things."
Brees was 29-for-35 passing for 288 yards in his first victory in four career games at Soldier Field. Garrett Hartley matched a career high with four field goals as New Orleans (5-0) picked up its first win in Chicago since a 31-10 victory on Oct. 8, 2000.
Graham continued his torrid start, catching 10 balls for 135 yards in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game -- matching an NFL record for a tight end. Tony Gonzalez was the first to accomplish the streak in 2000, and Graham matched it in 2011.
Graham and Brees said they spent more time together during the offseason, and it looks as if all that work is paying off.
"I'm just blessed to be with such a great quarterback and a guy who has so much trust in me," Graham said.
Graham helped the Saints hold onto the ball for 36 minutes, and Brees' team had no turnovers. The ball control was crucial with Alshon Jeffery putting together a career day for the Bears (3-2).
Jeffery had 10 receptions for a franchise-record 218 yards, breaking Harlon Hill's mark of 214 at San Francisco on Oct. 31, 1954. He also had a 3-yard TD catch in the second quarter.