A couple fumbles immediately, a turnover inside their 10, third-and-long all over the place.
The Bears fumbled on the first play of the game. They fumbled on the first play of their first two series. Jay Cutler was sacked three times in the first four possessions. The Bears didn’t cross midfield until about five minutes remained in the first half.
What exactly did they prepare for?
This looked like the old days. Old like last season.
And the one before that, and the one before that.
The Bears struggled to look like a big-boy offense while the defense stiffened against a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Remarkably, luckily, the Bears still had a chance against the Saints.
But how could the Bears' offense come out like that?
This was the kind of game you feared with the Bears’ reworked offensive line -- an oddball defensive front, trouble recognizing who was coming, a big mess for most of the first half.
The offensive line seemed to have no clue where the Saints blitz was coming from. Same goes for the backs responsible for blitz pickup. One time, Matt Forte faced two blitzers coming out of the secondary, but blocked neither.
The Bears tried to stick with the run. It was a plan to keep Drew Brees off the field and neutralize the Saints’ blitzing.
But the line couldn’t figure out who to block there, either, and Forte had 10 yards on four carries in the first half.
Cutler gave the Bears a drive in the second quarter. There seemed to be a threat of life against a Saints defense that was pantsing the Bears on their own turf.
But the Saints continued to eat the clock and the scoreboard, and when the Bears were trying to answer in the second half, rookie right guard Kyle Long was flagged for a killer penalty for being downfield illegally on first-and-goal at the 4. The Bears had to settle for a field goal that still left them down 23-10. It was that kind of day for the offensive line.
And when the offensive line gave the Bears a drive in the fourth quarter, Earl Bennett dropped a perfect fourth-and-2 pass inside the Saints 25 that would’ve extended the drive. It was that kind of day for the offense altogether.
Again, what exactly did the Bears prepare for?
That’s the maddening thing. The Bears' offense didn’t look ready at the start, mentally or physically. They were sloppy. They looked clueless. How does that happen? I mean, this is their job.
The Bears had the Saints at home and had the Saints on a short week.
The Saints had the pedigree of being an elite team and had Brees.
The Saints owned the ball, owned the clock, owned the game, jumping out to 13-0 lead that seemed like forever.
The Bears' defense showed up. The defense made some big stands to hold the Saints to field goals. The defense was giving the offense a chance.
And the offense was overwhelmed for half the game. The offense hit a couple big plays, sure. But it never looked like it was dictating to the Saints outside of a couple drives.
This was a big week for the Bears offense after that disaster in Detroit. This was the chance to rally. This was a chance to make a statement against a good and maybe great team.
And they came out like that? Maddening.