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Saints brace for Bears ability to create turnovers

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm •  Published: October 3, 2013
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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton is driving home one big message this week in New Orleans — turnovers are the most important statistic in football.

And the Bears, the Saints' next opponent, are the best there is at taking the ball away, Patyon said.

"It's something that doesn't happen by accident," Payton said. "To have the numbers that they have is something that is obviously emphasized and worked on."

Chicago (3-1) leads the NFL in 2013 with 14 takeaways, including eight fumble recoveries. The Bears have produced at least three takeaways in every game this season and finished with five in a win over Pittsburgh. They've scored three of the team's 15 touchdowns on returns this season.

Since 2006, in fact, the Bears have forced fewer than 31 turnovers just once and have ended the season in the top five in taking the ball away six times.

Meanwhile, New Orleans (4-0) to this point has remained one of five undefeated teams by taking care of the ball. Only four teams have turned it over fewer than the Saints' five this season and because of an opportunistic defense that has taken the ball away 10 times, New Orleans ranks among the league's best in differential this year at plus-five.

As much as it's a point of emphasis in Chicago, Payton and first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan have made it one in New Orleans, too.

Of course, it helps when the defense understands that giving quarterback Drew Brees more possessions isn't a bad thing, either.

"Every turnover you get, you give him one more possession and that's one more opportunity to score and that separates games with him," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "The more and more we can get him the football, the chances we are we're going to win that game."

Still, it's what the Bears defense can do that puts the onus on the offense to take care of the football.

Defensive back Charles Tillman is among the league's best in getting the ball out, forcing 10 fumbles in 2012 alone. This season, three players - linebacker Lance Briggs and defensive backs Major Wright and Tim Jennings - have each forced two fumbles. Tillman and Wright, meanwhile, have two interceptions apiece.

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