AL HAMNIK: Laundry day at Soldier Field for Bears' safeties

2013-10-06T18:00:00Z 2013-10-07T19:49:23Z AL HAMNIK: Laundry day at Soldier Field for Bears' safetiesAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
October 06, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | After most New Orleans Saints' victories, you'll find certain articles of clothing left on the field by opposing safeties.

They were all "faked" out of their you-know-what.

Blame shifty quarterback Drew Brees. He has a knack for leaving hapless safeties twisting in the wind.

The Bears' Major Wright and Chris Conte knew this entering Sunday's huge NFC matchup at Soldier Field. They had been warned, encouraged and instructed on not being clowned by the seven-time Pro Bowl selection with a 94.5 career QB rating.

Four hours later, New Orleans was boarding the team bus as 26-18 winners over a listless Bears team that showed little spark.

"They made big plays. That's what they do," Wright said.

As much as he hated to, Conte agreed.

"Brees controls that offense. He's making checks. He knows where he's going to go with the ball. He's really good with his look-off and influencing safeties," Conte said.

That's a polite way of saying he'll fake you out of your Fruit of The Looms.

"We're not trying to 'outguess' anybody. We''re just trying to be active and make plays," Conte said.

Active they were, playmakers not so much.

Neither Wright nor Conte were any match against Brees on the deep ball and, honestly, we expected that, right?

There was the 38-yard catch by Jimmy Graham at the Bears' 7, with Conte and Wright serving as nothing more than bookends. That led to a touchdown.

There was the 2-yard TD flip to Pierre Thomas despite a horse-collar tackle by D.J. Williams. Again, Conte was a nearby spectator.

There was Brees' 35-yard completion to Nick Toon at the Chicago 36 with Conte defending, or trying to.

In all fairness, Conte prevented Robert Meachem from grabbing a potential TD pass in the end zone, though the New Orleans sideline was shouting defensive pass interference.

Brees threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with six different receivers led by Graham's 10 catches for 135 yards.

"That's what makes Brees so good," Conte said. "He's definitely smart. He does a great job of not letting you know where he's going with the ball."

Brees, always the gentleman, did his best not to rub it in.

"It's not like Jimmy Graham is the only wide receiver to worry about," said the Purdue legend. "Obviously, having Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston and some of these other young wide receivers make us feel we can get to ball to everyone.

"Take away Jimmy Graham and we'll beat you other ways."

That's not conceit. That's conviction.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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