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Da Bears in hunt after OT edging

Da Bears in hunt after OT edging

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2008 7:16 pm
By: By ANDREW SELIGMAN, AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — The New Orleans Saints tried to ice Robbie Gould. Turns out he was too cool to let it bother him.
Gould booted the Saints out of Soldier Field with another devastating loss and boosted the Chicago Bears’ playoff hopes.
He connected from 35 yards on the first possession of overtime after kicking the tying field goal at the end of regulation, and the Bears escaped with a 27-24 victory Thursday night.
“Any time he’s kicking the ball we’re pretty sure it’s going to go in,” linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “No matter what the situation or how far it is, he’s made big kicks his whole career.”
He delivered two big ones this time.
His 28-yarder on the final play of regulation tied it, and Gould didn’t flinch when the Saints called a timeout in OT, nullifying what looked like the winner.
He raced to his tee on the sideline for a practice kick, walked back onto the field and drove another one between the uprights.
This time, it counted.
“I like it,” Gould said. “I get an opportunity to get a warmup kick in but also see and judge exactly how the wind is blowing. For me, I wish every coach would do that and give me the opportunity. They say ice, but I don’t think it really works.”
After leaving Chicago with season-ending losses the past two years, the Saints looked as if they were ready to end their frustration. Instead, their slim playoff hopes took another blow thanks to Gould.
Drew Brees hit Marques Colston for an 11-yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes left in regulation to give New Orleans its first lead at 24-21.
Kyle Orton responded by leading the Bears on a tying drive to set up overtime.
The Bears won the coin toss, and got another big break when the Saints’ Roman Harper interfered with Devin Hester on a deep pass down the middle to set Chicago up at the 15.
After Orton stumbled back for a 3-yard loss, Gould knocked the kick through the uprights.
“That pass interference was a big part of a victory,” Hester said. “It set up the field goal in range and all we had to do was kind of keep the ball in the middle of the field and give Robbie a shot.”
The Bears still need plenty of help to reach the postseason.
The Bears (8-6) are a half-game behind NFC North leader Minnesota, but the Vikings hold the tiebreaker. Chicago also is a half-game out of a wild-card spot.
It was another rough night in Chicago for New Orleans (7-7), which lost the NFC championship game here two years ago and saw its slim postseason hopes vanish with a loss on the final day last season at Soldier Field.
The last-place Saints still have a shot at the wild card, but can forget about catching NFC South leader Carolina.
“Who makes the schedule?” Saints tight end Billy Miller said. “Why can’t they come down to the dome?”
Brees was 24-of-43 for 232 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions after a miserable first half. He was just 10-of-24 with 93 yards and a 49.5 rating in the first two quarters as Chicago grabbed a 21-7 lead.
“Every time we’ve played them we’ve been in a similar situation,” Brees said. “They’ve gotten the best of us.”
Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and helped set up Matt Forte’s 1-yard TD run with a 52-yard return early in the second as the Bears took a 14-7 lead.
Forte’s score came after Jason David grabbed Hester as he tried to catch a deep pass down the middle, putting the ball on the 5.
Orton’s six-yard scramble in the closing minute of the half made it a 14-point game.
The Bears won their second straight and will try to make it three in a row — something they haven’t done since the 2006 Super Bowl season — at Green Bay a week from Monday.
Chicago native and Illinois product Pierre Thomas started the Saints’ comeback with a 42-yard touchdown run that made it 21-14 with 3:44 left in the third.
Chicago got a scare early when Forte limped to the sideline with a toe injury after his first attempt. He finished with 34 yards rushing and 29 receiving. Orton was 24-of-40 for 172 yards with two interceptions.
The Saints had another rough stay in Chicago
“It’s frustrating for everybody,” said running back Reggie Bush, who sprained his knee in the first half and sat out the second even though he said he was fine.
Notes: Saints starting LT Jammal Brown sat out with an ankle injury.


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