"I thought we had gotten past that, but I guess we're not," Lovie Smith said.
The running game couldn't have looked better with Thomas Jones in the backfield, but the passing attack took a step back against the Saints.
Jones continued an impressive preseason campaign. In the first quarter Jones carried eight times for 50 yards, including consecutive runs of 15 and 11 yards respectively. He led the Bears to their only scoring drive of the first half and finished with 65 yards on 10 carries
"The offensive line did a great job tonight," Jones said. "We have some things that we have to correct, but that's what the preseason is for; to sharpen up some things."
Rex Grossman didn't complete a pass until the first play of the second quarter. While the New Orleans pass rush produced only one sack, under consistent pressure Grossman often hurried trying to find a receiver when a defender was in his face. He had an intentional grounding penalty called on him and nearly drew another flag for the same infraction.
Before connecting with TE Dustin Lyman for a 25-yard completion, Grossman was 1-8 for 9 yards. The biggest completion of the preseason for Grossman sparked the quarterback. Two plays later he went to Bobby Wade for a 22-yard pass.
The Saints went ahead late in the first half thanks to the Bears first turnover of the preseason. Bobby Wade muffed a punt, which gave the Saints the ball at the Chicago 28.
The fumble came after New Orleans LB Charles Derrick Rogers had consecutive false start penalties negating the two previous punts and the third turned out to be a jinx for Wade.
Coming into the contest the Bears were one of only three teams without a turnover in the preseason. They also had forced an NFL-high seven turnovers, but failed to come up with one against New Orleans
"It's still a turnover game and we weren't able to get enough of them on defense tonight," Smith said.
Deuce McAllister gave the Saints a 10-3 advantage with an 8-yard touchdown run following the two-minute warning.
Throughout the opening 30 minutes the Saints ran at Alex Brown, who started at right end.
Todd McMillon, who replaced McQuarters, had a tough night. He was flagged four times on special teams, but three of the penalties were accepted.
However McMillon did help to spring a 69-yard kick return by Daryl Jones. The great field position was wasted as an offensive pass interference penalty on David Terrell negated a 28-yard touchdown. The Bears ended up punting despite starting their drive at the Saints 28.
The first string offense came out for the start of the second half. Something happened in the locker room to change their fortunes, as the unit put together their first touchdown drive of the preseason. A 22-yard screen pass to Adrian Peterson on the first play of the third quarter quickly moved Chicago into New Orleans territory. Two plays later Grossman hit Ahmad Merritt for a 24-yard completion. Peterson handled the final nine yards of the possession, including a one-yard TD run.
Grossman finished the night 6-18 for 106 yards with a QB rating of 54.4.
"We didn't finish our drives like we wanted to, but for the most part I like the way we played throughout the game and came out in the second half and got a touchdown," Grossman said.
Chicago took the lead on a 13-play drive that saw Jonathan Quinn complete 5-of-6 passes for 35 yards. Peterson also carried six times for 28 yards.
Edinger's second field of the night put Chicago in front 13-10 as the game headed to the fourth quarter.
The Saints marched 86 yards on the ensuing possession, but it was the final one that proved to be the toughest. With New Orleans first team offensive line still in the game the Saints failed to punch the ball in the end zone with two attempts from the one-yard line.
"I was really pleased with how the defense played as a whole," Smith said. "The run defense looked good throughout the night."
A 49-yard pass from Saints third string QB J.T. O'Sullivan to Devery Henderson put the ball at the one-yard line and set up the game-winning score. A quarterback sneak by O'Sullivan put New Orleans in front for good at 17-13.
The Bears are now 2-1 in the preseason with the finale to come at Cleveland on Thursday.