I believe somewhere a few weeks back, either here,in an email, a tweet or some random conversation, I said that the Patriots were getting better and better each week and the defense was coming around. Am I a prophet or what?
The New England Patriots (11-2) went into snowy, windy and cold Chicago to face the Monsters of the Midway, the Chicago Bears (9-4) in this weeks version of the "Big Game" and the only thing that materialized was more bad weather and another dominating win for the Patriots as they won 36-7 at Soldier Field. Last week all the Jets won was the coin flip. This week the Bears won the toss and outscored the Pats in the second half but that was about it.
While many fans and media worried how the Patriots would cope with the conditions Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Company scoffed at Old Man Winter and started the opening series throwing from the shotgun. Weather be damned. We should have known better, going into this game the Patriots under Belichick were 10-0 in "snow games".
With a windchill in single digits it didn't take long for New England to put Chicago back on their heels and make them feel even colder. A Brady to Rob Gronkowski 7 yard pass made it 7-0 Patriots with just under 6 minutes left in the first quarter. This capped a 12 play; 85 yard drive that took 5:16 in conditions that Sir Edmund Hilary may have thought were extreme.
After that in the second quarter another staggering drive of 11 plays and 87 yards was capped when RB Danny Woodhead scooted in from 3 yards out barely noticed by the Bears defense until he was at the goal line. With 10:16 left in the half it was 14-0.
Just a mere twenty seconds later, with the Bears desperately trying to get back into the game on 1st and 10 at their 38, QB Jay Cutler throws a little bubble screen in the slot to WR Johnny Knox who gets hit by rookie defensive sensation Devin McCourty and Knox coughs up the ball at the Bears 39. LB Gary Guyton scoops it up at the 35 and goes untouched into the end zone for another New England TD and 21-0 lead. Lovie Smith probably wished he watched the game from home at this point.
Next, back-to-back drives resulted in Shayne Graham field goals of 30 yards and 25 yards and a 27-0 lead as the half was coming down to a close. But after another stalled drive, the Bears punted to Julian Edelman who took the punt 71 yards for a TD but had it called back due to a holding call on Dane Fletcher. After the march off to the New England 21; Brady got a 19 yard gainer to Deion Branch to give the Patriots a first down at their own 40. Woodhead then ran for one yard on 2nd and 10 and with only five seconds left in the half and many of the players thinking the Pats would take a knee, Brady called a play for Branch. The ensuing pass to one of the "Mighty Midgets" went 59 yards as time expired for another New England score. Graham missed the PAT in the blizzard and the Patriots went to the locker room up 33-0 and feeling warmer than anyone else in the area.
The second half featured another Graham field goal in the third quarter to up the score to 36-0. Chicago was finally able to get on the board with a Chester Taylor TD run late in the third quarter as they stopped the shutout. And while the Bears kept trying to battle back they found their last two drives killed with interceptions of Cutler by Guyton and S Brandon Meriweather to keep them out of the end zone and send the Patriots back to New England with yet another big win and a spot in the playoffs.
Do you think Terrell Suggs noticed?
Patriots at Bears Gamebook. This includes the box score, all the stats, play by play, drive charts and more.
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