CHICAGO — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had his NFL record streak of nine consecutive 300-yard passing games snapped in Sunday’s 26-18 win against the Bears.
Brees, who threw for 288 yards while completing 29 of 35 attempts, set the league mark in a nine-game stretch that spanned the end of the 2011 season and start of the 2012 campaign. He matched it Monday night against the Miami Dolphins.
But Brees certainly wasn’t upset, considering the Saints walked out of Soldier Field with a victory.
“Those stats did not matter one bit, in this game especially,” he said with a smile. “This was all about efficiency in the passing game. … It was about continuing drives and possessing the ball.”
About the same time Brees’ streak was halted, the Cincinnati Bengals were ending the 52-game touchdown pass streak of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady was bearing down on the NFL record streak of 54 games that Brees set last season, but 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.”
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham racked up his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game by catching seven passes for 106 yards in the first half alone. He finished 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; Gonzalez set the mark in 2000.
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 Buccaneers. They allowed just a field goal in last week’s win over Miami.
The Saints defense allowed a season-high 18 points, but it was the fifth straight game it gave up fewer than 20 — one game shy of the club record set in 1992.
The Saints inactives were strong safety Roman Harper (knee), receiver Lance Moore (hand), running back Mark Ingram (toe), nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (calf), defensive end Tyrunn Walker (knee), cornerback Rod Sweeting and tackle Terron Armstead.
Inactives of note for the Bears were nose tackle Stephen Paea (toe) and safety Anthony Walters (hamstring). Paea is the starting nose tackle.
The Saints reported no injuries. For the Bears, defensive tackle Nate Collins left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return.
As so often happens in the NFL, Saints coach Sean Payton had a connection with two coaches on the other side of the field.
Bears first-year coach Marc Trestman was with the Saints in 2007 when Payton hired him as a consultant. Also, Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was on Payton’s staff from 2009-12, serving as running backs coach and later as offensive line coach.
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 (Louisiana-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.
With 29 completions Sunday, Brees extended his NFL record streak of at least 20 completions to 57 games. … 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. They’re 24-1 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs when they don’t turn it over since Payton took over in 2006. … Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro recorded his first 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.