When it counted the most, Kyle Orton and the Bears offense was able to deliver.
With a game-tying field goal late in regulation, and another drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal in OT, the Bears escaped chilly Soldier Field Thursday night with a key 27-24 victory that keeps them in the playoff race in the NFC and keeps their division title dreams in the North alive.
The Bears dominated the first half, holding the Saints in check and building a 21-7 advantage. The defense though allowed New Orleans back in the game with a 42-yard TD by Saints back Pierre Thomas that made it 21-14, then after a Garrett Hartley field goal made it 21-17 with 9:07 left, an Orton pick allowed the Saints to take their first lead at 24-21 with 3:05 left when Drew Brees hit Marques Colston with an 11-yard TD.
Not to be denied, Orton and the offense smoothly came on the field and went 60 yards in 13 plays in 3:03, as Gould kicked a 28-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to tie the game at 24. Starting from their own 30 in OT, the Bears used two Matt Forte runs, an Adrian Peterson run, and a huge 38-yard penalty on a 3rd-and-7 from the Bears 47 to get into field goal range.
The penalty came as Orton was looking deep for Devin Hester. The ball got caught up and was slightly underthrown, and Hester had to come back for the ball and ran into the Saints Roman Harper, who was not looking back at the ball. A flag was thrown, and two plays later Gould kicked the game-winner from 35 yards out.
The Bears were held to just 226 total yards, and were 5-for-12 on third downs. Orton was not good for most of the night, and ended the game 24-for-40 for 172 yards with two picks and a QB rating of 49.2 Brees was 24-for-43 for 232 yards with two TD’s and two picks.
Forte, who left the game with an injury but did return, ran for just 34 yards on 11 carries and a score. Now at 8-6, the Bears will have a Monday nighter vs the Packers next week then a game at Houston to decide their fate for the postseason and the rest of the 08 season.
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