The Bears continued a season-long trend Monday night when they were unable to stop quarterback Drew Brees in a disappointing 31-15 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field.
Brees became the latest top quarterback to excel against the Chicago defense, completing 29 of 36 passes for 375 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 137.8 passer rating.
In six games against the Bears, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers, the Patriots' Tom Brady, the Cowboys' Tony Romo, the Lions' Matthew Stafford and Brees have combined to complete 78.2 percent of their passes for 1,941 yards with 23 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 146.6 passer rating.
On Monday night, Brees engineered touchdown drives of 85, 95 and 80 yards as the Saints jumped to a 21-0 lead midway through the third quarter, outgaining the Bears 325-92 in the process.
"We gave them too many big plays and those big plays turned into points for them," said linebacker Jonathan Bostic. "We didn't give our offense enough short fields or give them enough three-and-outs for them to be able to get some momentum to flip back around and be able to use that."
The Bears offense provided virtually no help, generating no points, 119 total yards and six first downs through the first three quarters against the NFL's 31st-ranked defense.
No excuses: With D.J. Williams joining Lance Briggs on injured reserve this past week, the Bears started their eighth different combination of linebackers this season Monday night—with Bostic lining up alongside rookie Christian Jones and veteran Shea McClellin.
"We're not going to use that as an excuse," Bostic said. "I'll just tell you that we need to play better. We've got to get off the field on third downs and we have to give the ball back to the offense. Really, there's no way around it, we have to play better."
Jones was credited with a team-high 13 tackles, while Bostic had eight stops and McClellin added three tackles for the Bears, who yielded 443 yards and 25 first downs.
Big hit: Starting in place of the injured Chris Conte at free safety, rookie Brock Vereen generated the Bears' only takeaway. After Jay Cutler was intercepted on the game's third play from scrimmage, Vereen got the ball back two plays later deep in Chicago territory.
The fourth-round draft pick drilled receiver Nick Toon after a 10-yard reception, forcing a fumble that defensive end Jared Allen recovered at the Bears' 3-yard line.
Vereen was one of four rookies who started for the Bears; the others were Jones, left guard Ryan Groy and cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Missing Marshall: With Brandon Marshall missing his first game since joining the Bears in 2012, Cutler's 17 completions were shared by Alshon Jeffery (4 for 78 yards), Martellus Bennett (4-36), Ka'Deem Carey (3-39), Marquess Wilson (3-16), Kyle Long (2-21) and Dante Rosario (1-4).
"We tried to work the other guys into the game plan as much as we could," said coach Marc Trestman. "We didn't do a very good job."