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NEW ORLEANS -- The noisy Superdome atmosphere wasn't the only reason the Chicago Bears' pass protection struggled in a 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Quarterback Jay Cutler said he was hit in the throat early in the second half which affected his ability to communicate with teammates in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage.
"I got kicked in the throat at the start of the third quarter," Cutler said. "It was worse in the third quarter and fourth quarter with my voice. Guys I guess couldn't hear the snap count and the plays coming out. "
Cutler was sacked six times -- five in the fourth quarter -- and finished with a passer rating of 67.3. On multiple occasions, Saints defenders had a clear path to Cutler after they came free off the edge without being touched.
"You don't want to make any statements right now. You want to look at the film and see exactly where we went wrong," Cutler said. "I thought we were going to have some of the stuff picked up. We just have to look at the film. We don't want to blame anybody at this point right now."
Injuries also complicated matters for the Bears' offensive line. Already without right guard Lance Louis who was inactive due to a sprained ankle, rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi left the game in the third quarter with a right knee injury. Veteran offensive lineman Frank Omiyale, who started every game last year for the Bears mainly at left tackle, came off the bench to replace Carimi.
"Whenever you lose a guy like Gabe it's going to be tough. I think Frank came in and did a good job for us," Cutler said. "They were showing us a lot of looks, and it just kind of snowballed for us."
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.