CHICAGO – Saints quarterback Drew Brees had his NFL-record streak of nine consecutive 300-yard passing games snapped in a 26-18 win against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Brees, who threw for 288 yards while completing 29 of 35 pass attempts, set the league mark in a nine-game stretch that spanned the end of the 2011 season and start of the 2012 campaign, matched it last Monday night.
But he certainly wasn’t upset considering the Saints were walking out of Soldier Field with a victory.
“Those stats did not matter one bit in this game, especially,” a smiling Brees said. “This was all about efficiency in the passing game. … It was about continuing drives and possessing the ball.”
RECORD STANDS: About the same time that 300-yard passing streak was being halted, the Cincinnati Bengals were ending the 52-game streak with a touchdown pass of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady was bearing down on the NFL-record streak of 54 games that Brees set last season when the Bengals held the Patriots to a pair of field goals in a 13-6 win in Cincinnati.
“I heard that today; it’s a crazy game,” Brees said of Brady’s streak ending. “In my mind I just assumed he was going to break it, no doubt. Records are made to be broken and he’s one of the greatest, so I was a bit shocked that the streak came to an end.”
ANOTHER 100: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham racked up his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game when he caught seven passes for 106 yards in the first half alone and went on to finish with 135 yards on 10 receptions.
Graham tied the record for consecutive 100-yard games by a tight end, a mark he already shared with Tony Gonzalez. Graham also did it in 2011 to tie the mark after Gonzalez set it in 2000.
FIRST-QUARTER SHUTOUT: For the first time this season, the Saints’ defense didn’t allow a point in the opening quarter.
The Saints gave up 10 points in the season opener to the Atlanta Falcons, then seven each in the second and third games against the Tampa Bay Bucs. They allowed just a field goal in last week’s win over the Miami Dolphins.
MORE DEFENSE: While the Saints’ defense allowed a season-high 18 points, it was the fifth straight game they gave up fewer than 20 points — one game shy of the club record set in 1992.
INACTIVES: The Saints inactives were SS Roman Harper (knee), WR Lance Moore (hand), RB Mark Ingram (toe), NT Brodrick Bunkley (calf), DE Tyrunn Walker (knee), CB Rod Sweeting and T Terron Armstead.
Inactives of note for the Bears were NT Stephen Paea (toe) and S Anthony Walters (hamstring). Paea is the starting nose tackle.
INJURIES: The Saints reported no injuries, but Bears DT Nate Collins left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return.
COACHING CONNECTION: As so often happens each week in the NFL, Saints coach Sean Payton had a connection with two coaches on the other side of the field Sunday.
Bears’ first-year coach Marc Trestman was with the Saints in 2007 when Payton hired him in as a consultant. Also, Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was on Payton’s staff from 2009 to 2012, serving as running backs coach and later as offensive line coach.
LOUISIANA CONNECTION: The Bears have a strong connection to Louisiana with five players who played their college ball in the state on the active roster.
They are cornerback Charles Tillman (UL-Lafayette), running back Matt Forte (Tulane), tackle Jordan Mills (Louisiana Tech), and safety Craig Steltz and running back Michael Ford, who both played at LSU.
Mills, an Assumption High School grad, started his fifth straight game at right tackle after being selected in the fifth round of this year’s draft. Ford earned a roster spot this summer as an undrafted free agent.
LAGNIAPPE: With 29 completions Sunday, Brees extended his NFL-record streak of at least 20 completions to 57 games in a row. … The Saints are 5-0 for only the fourth time in club history. They previously did it in 1991 (7-0 start), 1993 (5-0) and 2009 (13-0). … The Saints did not give the ball away Sunday and are 24-1 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs when they don’t turn it over since Sean Payton took over in 2006. … Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro recorded his first career sack when he dropped Jay Cutler in the second quarter. … Saints defensive end Tom Johnson returned after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury.