It was an inauspicious start for the Bears offense in Sunday's loss as they failed to cross midfield until there was just under five minutes remaining in the first half. Their first four possessions yielded three sacks and two fumbles.
It almost seemed as if New Orleans knew each play Chicago was going to call.
Maybe because they really did?
"We knew a couple things," Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro told CSNChicago.com. "Our coaches had it dialed up."
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called blitzes from his secondary that the offensive line had no answer for.
The Saints defense credited knowing some of the Bears tendencies due to their former coach, Aaron Kromer, running the offense in Chicago. Kromer spent five years in New Orleans as the team's running backs coach (2008) and offensive line coach (2009-12). Kromer also spent the first six games of 2013 as New Orleans interim head coach after the suspensions to Sean Payton and Joe Vitt as the result of the bounty scandal. The team went 2-4 with Kromer at the helm.
In this day and age in the NFL, it's no surprise that players and coaches share info with their new clubs about their former team. In the Bears' Week 4 loss to the Lions, former defensive tackle Israel Idonije acknowledged helping the Lions' offense against the Bears.
But it's a two-way street.
Kromer spoke earlier in the week to defensive coordinator Mel Tucker about what to expect from the Drew Brees and the Saints potent offense, but it didn't seem to help as New Orleans hung 347 yards on Chicago.
"You definitely have to appreciate that they know you and you know them and there is familiarity," Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "We switched up some things just to try and throw them off. Same thing goes for them."
Ryan's group was successful in operation "Feed Drew," which Vaccaro explained as their way of getting off the field quickly to give Brees and the team's potent offense the ball. The plan clearly worked as evidenced in New Orleans winning the time of possession battle 34 minutes to Chicago's 26.
It came down to execution, and the Saints were better in every aspect from the opening kickoff. They rattled Jay Cutler early and often and took him out of his game. The Bears offense seemed out of sync until late in the fourth quarter — for the second straight contest — when the game was already out of the reach.
As much as two losses in a row stings at the moment for the Bears, they sit in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North with the Packers and Lions. They can get the bad taste out of their mouth with the winless Giants coming to Soldier Field on Thursday night.
And don't forget, Martellus Bennett used to play for New York. Maybe he can lead a helping hand to the coaching staff.