CHICAGO (AP) -Matt Forte had a 1-yard TD run, a go-ahead score set up by a pass interference call, and the Chicago Bears took a 21-7 halftime lead Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints in a matchup of 7-6 teams trying to make the playoffs.
ive the Bears their two-TD cushion.
Orton's biggest problem after the run was trying to spike the ball. As he tried to slam it to the ground, it popped into the air and he was seen laughing with teammates as he left the field.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who entered the game with a league-leading 4,100 yards passing, was only 10-for-24 for 93 yards in the opening half with an interception and a TD.
Danieal Manning, who returned the game's opening kickoff 83 yards for a TD to get the Bears off to a quick start, had another kick return of 52 yards to the Saints 41 in the second quarter.
On third-and-13 from the 44, Orton heaved the ball to speedy Devin Hester on a post pattern, and the Saints' Jason David was called for pass interference at the 5. Forte, who hurt his toe on his first carry of the game and missed most of the first quarter, scored from the 1 two plays later, giving Chicago a 14-7 lead with 7:42 left in the half.
Orton's TD scamper capped a short 42-yard drive that featured a 12-yard pass to fullback Jason Davis.
The Soldier Field weather at kickoff was predictably cold but could have been worse. It was 28 degrees with an 11 mph wind and a wind chill of 18.
Pierre Thomas took a 2-yard TD pass from Brees, a score set up by Orton's fumble at the 1, as the Saints tied the game in the second quarter.
line by Usama Young, Orton fumbled the snap on the next play and Jonathan Vilma recovered to set up the TD.
The Saints lost a yard on first down but Thomas, a Chicago native who played at the University of Illinois, took a swing pass from Brees and hurdled into the end zone.
When the Saints won the pre-game toss and deferred until the second half, the Bears got the ball and Manning was ready.
Manning, who has replaced Hester returning kickoffs, caught the ball at the 17, broke to the right, cut back and broke into the open. He started waving his left finger in triumph around midfield as he outraced the Saints to the end zone.
On their first possession, the Saints drove to Chicago's 40 - a holding penalty on corner back Corey Graham wiped out a sack of Brees. But on third down, Brees' pass for Lance Moore was intercepted by Mike Brown at the 23 to end the drive.
The Saints were playing their third pivotal game at Soldier Field in the past two years. In the season finale last December they lost 33-25, ending any chance they had of the postseason. Eleven months earlier, they were beaten by the Bears 39-14 in the NFC championship game.

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