The New Orleans Saints had a tremendous season, and on Sunday fell one game short of the Super Bowl in a snowy loss to the Bears. The Saints for sure had their chances, and from the getgo when they hit a big pass play early, they let chance after chance slip away. Saints head coach Sean Payton said before the game to his players to make sure they hold on to the ball, and within the first 15 mintues they fumbled three times, and lost two of them, which set the tempo for the Bears defense all day long.
The Saints also had their chance after falling behind 16-0. They scored a TD late in the first half to cut the deficit to 16-7, and then in the 3rd quarter scored a quick TD to make it 16-14. With the Bears on the ropes, the Saints got the ball back, drove into Chicago territory, and instead of taking a shot from the Bears 29-yard line on a 4th and 10, they decided to send Billy Cundiff out for a 47-yard field goal, which fell short. With that kick, the Saints season might as well have come to an end. They were never able to get back in the game, and after their defense held again, Drew Bress took a silly safety that started a snowball that the Saints could never stop.
After that safety that made it 18-14, Chicago took over the game, never allowed the Saints offense to mount anything, and went on to score 21 points to put the game away 39-14, stamping their ticket to Super Bowl 41 in Miami. All season long the Bears answered the bell, and despite many, including myself, thinking they were going to be outscored on Sunday, their defense showed up and played a fantastic game. The Saints on the other hand, seemed bothered by the weather, the lack of being able to get a running game going (56 yards on 12 carries), and Drew Brees was bothered all day long after the Saints O-line seemed to miss block after block.
In the end, the turnovers were the deciding blow to a Saints season that went much further than anyone thought it would. They had three fumbles lost, and one interception. Their high powered offense threw the ball way too much, never allowed the running game to develop, and left Brees to be a sitting duck pretty much all day against that tough Bears defense. Make no mistake, the Bears earned this one, but in the end, the Saints could have done a lot more to make it not seem as easy as it was.