- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Credit New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan for surprising the Chicago Bears’ offense with a variety of different looks that resulted in two sacks and two Jay Cutler fumbles in the Bears’ first three drives to open Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.
“The first quarter they were bringing things that we really hadn’t seen on tape,” Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “We knew going into the game they had a whole bunch of different fronts -- two down, three down and they even put a linebacker over me. It was all kind of stuff. We came out in the first quarter and they had a two-down front and they had people all over the place. It was a little tough to identify who we wanted to identify.
“It was just different looks. It was more mentally than physically. We picked it up. But we can’t put our defense in the hole early on. You can’t give an offense like the Saints short fields. But our defense fought back and actually gave us a chance. We just couldn’t get it done.”
The Bears’ offense eventually recovered and did an adequate job protecting Cutler (3.0 sacks) for the rest of the afternoon, but the sluggish start forced the team’s defense to spend valuable time on the field attempting to slow down Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans’ offense. Although the Bears limited the Saints to a pair of first-quarter field goals, New Orleans eventually led the game 13-0 with 5:57 left in the second quarter, as the Bears were able to convert just two of six third down chances in the first half -- Bears were 4-of-10 on third-down conversions for the game.
“Once we made the corrections, we were able to move the football down the field,” Bears center Roberto Garza said. “But we have to do that early. Our whole objective this game was to come in here and convert on third downs and keep our defense off the field. But we weren’t able to do that. We put our defense in tough situations today. We haven’t played our best football yet. When we do know who to block and get the job done you see what we can do.”