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New Orleans Saints rookie roundup: Wild Card Weekend

Rookies made their playoff debuts against the Chicago Bears.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints hosted the Chicago Bears in the third matchup of Wildcard Weekend. Both teams started out slow as ever. New Orleans’ lone score of the first half came from a Michael Thomas touchdown. Chicago kicked a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing the Saints 7-3.

New Orleans’ running backs broke the game open in the second half. Latavius Murray caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Brees before Alvin Kamara punched his way into the endzone to take a 21-3 lead.

The Saints defense held the Bears to 239 total yards of offense and recorded nine third down stops. The offense also dominated the time of possession (38:58-21:02) to help keep things out of reach.

Wild Card Round - Chicago Bears v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Third-round rookie Adam Trautman played 31 snaps at tight end and caught one of his three targets for four yards in the first quarter.

Undrafted wide receiver Marquez Callaway saw 23 snaps on offense but did not record a statistic. Third-rounder Zack Baun played just one snap at linebacker and 12 snaps on special teams.

24th overall pick Cesar Ruiz played all 84 snaps of offense at guard alongside Andrus Peat. It was an average performance from the offensive line and most of New Orleans’ 123 rushing yards came in the second half.

The Saints will have to start much faster offensively this week against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are riding a five-game win streak into their divisional matchup with New Orleans on Sunday night.

The Saints cannot afford to get into a shootout with Tampa Bay, who has arguably been the league’s hottest team over the last few weeks. It’ll be up to a defensive front that hopes to have Trey Hendrickson (neck) back, who finished second in the NFL in sacks.

New Orleans is determined to return to the NFC Championship for the second time in three years. Their last appearance delivered one of the many playoff heartbreaks for Saints fans over the last decade. New Orleans will look to get over the 11-year hump and return to the Super Bowl in what could be Drew Brees’ final games.

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