Saints advance to set up a Drew Brees-Tom Brady showdown in second round

The second one-seeded Saints will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a convention semifinal subsequent Sunday in New Orleans. That will probably be a playoff duel between Brees and Tom Brady, the six-time Tremendous Bowl winner for the New England Patriots now in his first season with the Buccaneers.

“Don’t take it with no consideration,” Brees stated in a postgame video information convention. “I’m very appreciative of the chance. Concentrate, the minute that he signed with the Bucs and got here to the department, you felt like that was once going to be a staff to take care of, that was once going to be a staff that had playoff aspirations and past, identical to us. So I suppose it was once inevitable.”

The Saints swept the Buccaneers all the way through the common season. Even so, they almost definitely should be sharper on offense within the subsequent sport than they have been on this one.

Brees threw two landing passes in a 28-for-39, 265-yard passing efficiency. Thomas, activated from the injured reserve record Saturday, had 5 catches for 73 yards. He had an 11-yard landing catch within the first quarter, that once managing no landing catches all the way through his injury-plagued common season. He arrange some other landing with a 38-yard catch.

“It was once nice,” Brees stated. “It was once nice to get him finally zone, too. Optimistically we broke the seal and there’s much more the place that got here from. However, pay attention, we’ve were given some paintings to do. I believe it’s nonetheless simply roughly the primary time, truly, that we’re getting everyone in combination once more. … There’s simply such a lot timing and rhythm that is going into the passing sport and such a lot of little nuances and issues that while you’re taking part in [and] you’re taking part in so much, it turns into automated. That’s while you’re truly taking part in on the stage that we’ve been at in lots of circumstances round right here.”

Kamara, activated from the covid-19 reserve record Saturday, had a three-yard landing run within the fourth quarter. He completed with 99 speeding yards on 23 carries. It was once his first sport since he ran for 6 touchdowns, tying the NFL document, on Christmas Day. He neglected the common season finale after checking out certain for the coronavirus, in step with an individual accustomed to the outcome, after which participated in practices just about main as much as this sport.

“You’ve were given to evolve,” Kamara stated. “Clearly I couldn’t be there this week for observe. … It didn’t truly impact me an excessive amount of. I do my easiest to roughly keep in track with what’s happening, , week in and week out. So I will be able to roughly pick out up issues at the fly.”

The Saints had second-half landing drives that took with reference to 7½ mins and just about 9 mins off the clock.

“I believed the second-half time of ownership was once essential,” Saints Trainer Sean Payton stated. “It proved to be essential. Our protection performed exceptional. … It was once a super staff win. And I believed the second one half of, we were given issues clicking slightly bit relative to scoring touchdowns and shifting the soccer.”

However this wasn’t the Saints at their easiest from begin to end. That they had seven issues at halftime and 14 issues thru 3 quarters. All-purpose standout Taysom Hill passed the seventh-seeded Bears, who reached the playoffs after an Eight-Eight common season, a first-half area target through shedding a fumble.

“As a trainer, you’re at all times involved,” Payton stated. “You need to function successfully. However, glance, I believe it’s truly targeted at the issues that you’ll be able to tweak. We threw the ball slightly bit extra on first down. That’s a excellent protection, a excellent entrance. We did the issues we had to do. So once more, [it was] a excellent win.”

The outcome was once as a lot in regards to the Bears’ problems as about any brilliance through the Saints. Large receiver Javon Wims dropped what must were a regimen first-half landing catch on an another way completely achieved machine play. Wideout Anthony Miller was once ejected for a second-half scuffle with Saints protection C.J. Gardner-Johnson following a play.

The Bears controlled a modest 239 yards of general offense. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had 199 passing yards on 19-for-29 throwing accuracy. The Bears didn’t achieve the tip zone till Trubisky threw a landing move to tight finish Jimmy Graham as time expired. They helped the Saints with ill-time consequences through each their protection and offense.

They cross house. The Saints transfer on. If that is it for Brees, he a minimum of has his offense principally intact round him.

“That is playoff soccer,” Brees stated. “Every sport turns into, clearly, extra significant. And also you’ve were given to proceed to fine-tune and to find techniques to play your best soccer. Concentrate, we wish to beef up. We nonetheless wish to beef up. There’s nonetheless room for that.”

Saints reassemble their stars, beat Bears in playoff opener

Through Mark Maske

The New Orleans Saints reassembled their key offensive items Sunday, with extensive receiver Michael Thomas and tailback Alvin Kamara rejoining quarterback Drew Brees within the lineup for an opening-round NFC playoff matchup with the Chicago Bears on the Superdome.

The outcome was once now not precisely an offensive masterpiece placing the remainder of the NFC on understand that the Saints are poised for a Tremendous Bowl run in what might be Brees’s farewell postseason. No, their effort was once extra workmanlike than dazzling. Nevertheless it did the process, final analysis, because the Saints complex with a 21-Nine conquer the Bears, who contributed to their very own undoing with a sequence of follies.

The second one-seeded Saints will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a convention semifinal subsequent Sunday in New Orleans. That will probably be a playoff duel between Brees and Tom Brady, the six-time Tremendous Bowl winner for the New England Patriots now in his first season with the Buccaneers. The Saints almost definitely should be sharper on offense in that sport than they have been on this one.

Brees threw two landing passes in a 28-for-39, 265-yard passing efficiency. Thomas, activated from the injured reserve record Saturday, had 5 catches for 73 yards. He had an 11-yard landing catch within the first quarter, that once managing no landing catches all the way through his injury-plagued common season. He arrange some other landing with a 38-yard catch.

Kamara, activated from the covid-19 reserve record Saturday, had a three-yard landing run within the fourth quarter. He completed with 99 speeding yards on 23 carries. It was once his first sport since ran for 6 touchdowns, tying the NFL document, on Christmas Day. He neglected the common season finale after checking out certain for the coronavirus, in step with an individual accustomed to the outcome.

The Saints had second-half landing drives that took 7½ mins and just about 9 mins off the clock.

However they weren’t precisely clicking. That they had seven issues at halftime and 14 issues thru 3 quarters. All-purpose standout Taysom Hill passed the eighth-seeded Bears, who reached the playoffs after an Eight-Eight common season, a first-half area target through shedding a fumble.

The outcome was once as a lot in regards to the Bears’ problems as about any brilliance through the Saints. Large receiver Javon Wims dropped what must were a regimen first-half landing catch on an another way completely achieved machine play. Wideout Anthony Miller was once ejected for a second-half scuffle with Saints protection C.J. Gardner-Johnson following a play.

The Bears controlled simplest 239 yards of general offense. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky controlled 199 passing yards on 19-for-29 throwing accuracy. The Bears didn’t achieve the tip zone till Trubisky threw a landing move to tight finish Jimmy Graham as time expired. They helped the Saints with ill-time consequences through each their protection and offense.

They cross house. The Saints transfer on. If that is it for Brees, he a minimum of has his offense principally intact round him.

“That is almost definitely the tip of it,” analyst Tony Romo stated all the way through the CBS broadcast. (Ultimate ranking: Saints 21, Bears Nine)

No landing for Brees on jumping QB sneak

Through Mark Maske

Drew Brees misplaced a speeding landing when his fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak was once dominated on a replay assessment to have arise in need of the tip zone. Brees jumped and prolonged the ball towards the target line. The play was once referred to as a landing through the on-field officers however that ruling was once overturned at the automated replay assessment. (Saints 21, Bears Three with 2:19 left within the 4th quarter)

Saints lengthen lead on Alvin Kamara’s landing

Through Mark Maske

The Saints in all probability have put this sport away with a three-yard landing run through tailback Alvin Kamara. That was once the end result of a 15-play pressure that took just about 9 mins off the clock. The Bears endured to give a contribution to their very own undoing with a defensive maintaining penalty that negated a sack through Khalil Mack and a move interference penalty that gave the Saints a primary down on the 1-yard line. Kamara misplaced two yards on a first-down elevate however reached the tip zone on moment down. (Saints 21, Bears Three with Eight:50 left within the 4th quarter)

Saints build up lead on Brees-to-Murray landing

Through Mark Maske

The Saints have a little bit of respiring room on a six-yard landing move from Drew Brees to operating again Latavius Murray. Brees, beneath power, was once in a position to make use of a hook-shot movement to get the ball to Murray, who rumbled into the tip zone. Brees had a 38-yard final touch to extensive receiver Michael Thomas all the way through the pressure, and an offside penalty at the Bears on fourth and 3 passed the Saints a primary down the Chicago Eight-yard line. (Saints 14, Bears Three with four:08 left within the third quarter)

Bears’ Antony Miller ejected

Through Mark Maske

Bears extensive receiver Anthony Miller was once ejected for a short lived scuffle with Saints protection C.J. Gardner-Johnson after a play. Miller looked as if it would shove Gardner-Johnson, with a shot to or close to the helmet, as the 2 exchanged phrases. Each have been penalized for unsportsmanlike habits. Gardner-Johnson was once focused on a November incident through which Bears extensive receiver Javon Wims was once suspended for throwing two punches at Gardner-Johnson’s head all the way through a sport. (Saints 7, Bears Three with 11:44 left within the third quarter)

Saints lead Bears, 7-Three, at halftime

Through Mark Maske

The Saints have their trio of offensive stars at the area in combination however lead the Bears through simplest 7-Three at halftime in their first-round NFC playoff sport on the Superdome.

Large receiver Michael Thomas and tailback Alvin Kamara are again within the lineup along quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints activated Thomas and Kamara on Saturday, Thomas from the injured reserve record and Kamara from the covid-19 reserve record.

Thomas stuck an 11-yard landing move from Brees within the first quarter. That was once after he had no landing catches all the way through his injury-plagued common season.

However the Saints aren’t clicking. That was once it for his or her first-half scoring output. Kicker Wil Lutz neglected a field-goal try. Taysom Hill misplaced a fumble, resulting in a Bears’ area target.

Thomas had 4 first-half catches for 35 yards. Kamara ran for 39 yards on 8 carries. Brees finished 14 of 23 passes for 120 yards.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had simplest 68 passing yards on seven-for-12 throwing accuracy. He must have had a trick-play landing move to extensive receiver Javon Wims. However Wims did not make what must were a regimen catch finally zone. (Saints 7, Bears Three at halftime)

No landing for Saints’ protection, because of incomplete-pass ruling

Through Mark Maske

The Saints just about had a landing through their protection however ended up with out even a turnover. Bears operating again David 1st viscount montgomery of alamein misplaced ownership of the ball as he was once upended on a catch. The Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins picked up the unfastened soccer and raced to the tip zone. The on-field officers dominated that it was once an incomplete move slightly than a catch and a fumble. Saints Trainer Sean Payton challenged however the on-field name of an incompletion was once allowed to face after the moment replay assessment. (Saints 7, Bears Three with four:21 left within the 2d quarter)

Bears get area target after Taysom Hill’s turnover

Through Mark Maske

The Bears are at the board as they transformed a turnover through the Saints’ Taysom Hill right into a 36-yard area target through kicker Cairo Santos. The Bears took ownership on the New Orleans 24-yard line after defensive take on John Jenkins grabbed the soccer within the air for what was once dominated a fumble restoration after Hill, covered up at quarterback and looking to make a deep throw, had the ball knocked from his hand. However the Bears’ pressure was once hindered through an unsportsmanlike habits name on rookie tight finish Cole Kmet. He was once exchanging phrases with Saints protection Malcolm Jenkins after a play and flipped the ball towards both the officers or Jenkins. (Saints 7, Bears Three with Eight:06 left within the 2d quarter)

Saints omit area target after overturned interception

Through Mark Maske

The Saints failed so as to add to their lead when kicker Wil Lutz neglected a 50-yard area target try, sending the ball extensive proper. Lutz’s contemporary struggles proceed. He neglected 4 of his ultimate 8 area target tries all the way through the common season after a 19-for-20 get started. The neglected kick got here quickly after the Bears had an obvious interception through cornerback Duke Shelley overturned through an speedy replay assessment. The move was once referred to as incomplete after the assessment confirmed that the top of the soccer hit the turf. (Saints 7, Bears zero with 14:07 left within the 2d quarter)

Bears fail on fourth down after dropped TD on trick play

Through Mark Maske

The Bears failed on a fourth-down try to finish a calamitous ownership that integrated an egregiously dropped would-be landing catch through extensive receiver Javon Wims. On a first-down play from the New Orleans 40-yard line, the Bears dialed up a machine play and achieved it completely. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky covered up at extensive receiver. Operating again David 1st viscount montgomery of alamein was once within the backfield and took an immediate snap, then passed the ball to extensive receiver Cordarrelle Patterson on an obvious end-around. Patterson flipped the ball to Trubisky, who lofted an on-target throw to Wims. However Wims, open finally zone, didn’t make the seize. Wims simply had made a 28-yard catch at the earlier play after a a success speedy replay problem through the Bears. On fourth and 4 from the 34-yard line, Trainer Matt Nagy left his offense at the area. However Trubisky was once knocked out of bounds after a two-yard achieve as he ran to his proper. (Saints 7, Bears zero with 2:05 left within the 1st quarter)

Brees-to-Thomas landing places Saints in entrance

Through Mark Maske

The Saints have the early lead on an 11-yard landing move from quarterback Drew Brees to extensive receiver Michael Thomas. It was once Thomas’s first landing catch since December 2019. He had none all the way through an injury-plagued common season through which he performed not up to 3 complete video games with Brees, who had damage problems with his personal. The Saints are again at just about complete energy. Brees is off to an eight-for-11 passing get started. Thomas has 3 catches for 29 yards. Tailback Alvin Kamara has 4 carries for 21 speeding yards. (Saints 7, Bears zero with five:09 left within the 1st quarter)

The deadly flaw that might forestall each and every NFL playoff staff, together with the Saints or Bears

Through Neil Greenberg

Not one of the 14 playoff groups is with no weak spot that, if correctly exploited, may finish its Tremendous Bowl hopes early. Listed here are the possibly deadly flaws for the Ravens and Titans; click on beneath to look the remainder of the sector.

New Orleans Saints: A less-effective Drew Brees

Brees, who will flip 42 years outdated all the way through the playoffs, noticed a decline after coming back from injured reserved this season. Throughout Weeks 1 thru 10, Brees finished 74 p.c of his passes for two,196 yards, 18 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Throughout the final 3 weeks of the season he went 56-for-92 (61 p.c) for 746 yards, six touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His passer ranking dropped from 110.zero to 94.7, the latter falling beneath the typical quarterback ranking for the season through two issues.

Chicago Bears: Internet passer ranking

The Bears’ quarterbacking duo, Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, mixed for three,907 yards, 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, leading to an 86.five passer ranking all the way through a season when the league moderate was once 93.6. The protection allowed a passer ranking of 94.Nine to opposing quarterbacks, giving the Bears a internet passer ranking of minus-Eight.four in 2020, rating them 23rd this yr — the worst some of the playoff area — in a key Tremendous Bowl contender metric. (Washington’s internet passer ranking was once minus-1.Three because of one of the most yr’s easiest defenses.)

How will this season’s playoffs paintings?

The NFL playoffs are a single-elimination match that determines champions from the AFC and NFC, who then sq. off within the Tremendous Bowl. The match has 3 rounds ahead of the Tremendous Bowl that happen over 3 weekends. The primary around is adopted through the divisional around after which championship Sunday.

The layout modified this yr. Reasonably than six groups from each and every convention making the playoffs with the highest seeds from each and every convention incomes a bye, seven groups make it with simplest the highest seed incomes a bye. The trade will lead to a extra powerful preliminary weekend, with 3 video games on each Saturday and Sunday.

Who to select in Bears vs. Saints (-9½)

Through Neil Greenberg

New Orleans must be with reference to complete energy on Sunday, with operating backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray plus safeties C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Williams returning to the lineup. Wideout Michael Thomas could also be eligible to play for the primary time since an ankle damage compelled him to the reserve/injured record. That are meant to lend a hand the offense catch as much as a New Orleans protection that ranked 3rd in opposition to the move and moment in opposition to the run all the way through the common season, consistent with Soccer Outsiders.

The Saints’ protection additionally ranked within the most sensible 10 in turnovers compelled consistent with pressure, finishing the season with a plus-Nine turnover margin, the 3rd easiest within the NFL.

Pick out: New Orleans Saints -9½

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