Bears 27, Saints 24
By Andrew Seligman
CHICAGO ó Robbie Gould raced over to his tee on the Chicago Bears sideline after the New Orleans Saints tried to ice him with a timeout in overtime Thursday night.
A few practice kicks later, Gould booted the Saints out of Soldier Field with another devastating loss.
Gould connected from 35 yards out on Chicago’s first possession of overtime, lifting the Bears to a 27-24 victory that boosted their playoff hopes.
After leaving Chicago with season-ending losses the past two years, the Saints looked as if they were ready to end their frustration. Instead, their slim playoff hopes took another blow thanks to Gould, who also converted a 28-yarder on the final play of regulation.
Drew Brees hit Marques Colston for an 11-yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes left in regulation to give New Orleans its first lead at 24-21. Kyle Orton responded by leading the Bears on a tying drive, setting up overtime between two 7-6 teams.
The Bears won the coin toss and got another big break when the Saints’ Roman Harper interfered with Devin Hester on a deep pass down the middle to set Chicago up at the 15. After Orton put the ball in the middle of the field, the Saints called time as Gould knocked a 35-yarder through the uprights.
After a little practice, Gould got back on the field and converted again with no problem.
“Bottom line for us, we’re still in the hunt,” Chicago’s Lance Briggs said.
The Bears still need plenty of help to reach the postseason.
Chicago (8-6) is a half-game behind NFC North leader Minnesota, but the Vikings hold the tiebreaker. Chicago also is a half-game out of a wild-card spot.
It was another rough night in Chicago for New Orleans (7-7). It lost the NFC championship game here two years ago and saw its slim postseason hopes vanish with a loss on the final day last season. The last-place Saints still have a shot at the wild card but can forget about catching NFC South leader Carolina.
Brees was 24-of-43 passing for 232 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. He looked more like himself late in the game after a miserable first half. Harassed by the defense, Brees was just 10 of 24 with 93 yards and a 49.5 rating in the first two quarters as Chicago grabbed a 21-7 lead.
Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and helped set up Matt Forte’s 1-yard TD run with a 52-yard return early in the second quarter.