Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
NEW ORLEANS – Heading into Sunday’s game against Chicago, the Saints defensive line felt it needed to do something big.
Consider its goal accomplished.
The Saints sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler six times, hit him a total of 10 times and constantly harassed Chicago’s offensive leader in New Orleans’ 30-13 win.
The defense as a whole made amends for the season-opener, when it gave up 35 points and 399 total yards and allowed Green Bay to go 8 of 12 on third downs.
“We knew we had to put something else on film this week,” Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
Chicago gained only 246 yards and was a paltry 2 of 12 on third downs.
The Bears vaunted run game, led by former Tulane standout Matt Forte, was stuck for much of the day in neutral and finished with 60 yards on 12 carries.
But it was the pressure on Cutler that stood out Sunday.
He went 19 of 45 for 244 yards and finished with a 67.3 passer rating.
“They rushed me hard and forced our offense to do things we didn’t want to,” Cutler said.
Many of his passes came up short as he was forced to either throw the ball away on the run or dump off passes barely beyond the line of scrimmage.
“Last week they gave up a numerous amount of sacks,” said Saints linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who finished with a sack and two quarterback hits. “We just had to play with it a little bit and see what kind of works and I think we figured it out. We started getting pressure and it feels good to get that.”
The list of sackers reads like this: safety Roman Harper, two sacks for minus-23 yards; defensive end Junior Galette, two sacks for minus-16 yards; Casillas, one sack for minus-12 yards; defensive end Turk McBride, one sack for minus-yards and a forced fumble.
Once the Saints took a 23-13 lead in the third quarter, New Orleans’ defense could essentially pin back and attack Cutler.
“This is basically what we dream of, to be on a team such as this where our offense is just driving down the field and we’re up,” Galette said. “Now we know they’re going to pass.”
Added rookie defensive end Cam Jordan, “You can be ready to play, but you have to be prepared. I think we were definitely prepared for this one. We were just the most physical team today. That’s what it comes down to in a trench battle and we won.”