Prior to kickoff, the Bears learned that the Green Bay Packers (8-5) had fallen to the lowly Detroit Lions, 10-6. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a concussion and with the loss, the Bears were in command of the NFC North.
Luck seemed to be on the Bears’ side. A win would have put them in the driver’s seat. No need to worry about today’s horrendous weather conditions, the Bears were playing on their home field.
But not so fast. The Bears’ luck ran out almost immediately once the the game started.
New England got their first touchdown of the game when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski on a seven-yard touchdown pass at the 5:47 mark of the first quarter.
Two more touchdowns, two field goals and a final touchdown before the half from a 59-yard run by Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch that left Bears cornerback Charles Tillman eating Branch’s snow, the Patriots took a 33-0 lead at the half.
The 33 consecutive points was the most the Bears had given up at home since 1958.
The stats only got worse. In the first half, the Bears’ defense allowed 273 yards and six-of-nine third-down conversions; they were out passed 193-19 and only had two first downs versus the Patriots’ 15.
The Bears entered their locker room with a net 33 yards in the first half.
I can’t imagine what kind of rousing halftime speech Bears coach Lovie Smith gave his team. Whatever it was, the Bears only briefly looked inspired in the second half.
At the 10:36 mark in third quarter, the Patriots scored another three points with a field goal to take a 36-0 lead.
The Bears only score of the game came in the third quarter with a one-yard run by Bears running back Chester Taylor. Devin Hester set up the touchdown with a a 61-yard kickoff return. Had the conditions been better, it looked like Hester could have continued running and score a touchdown.
For the day, the Patriots had a total of 475 yards and the Bears, well, 185 yards.
Brady went 27 of 40 for 369 yards with two touchdowns. He’s gone eight games without an interception.
Unfortunately you can’t say the same about the Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Bad Cutler appeared with today’s bad weather. The Bears quarterback completed 12 of 26 passes for 152 yards, zero touchdowns, two sacks and two interceptions. His quarterback rating was 32.9.
The Bears’ running backs fared even worse: Taylor and Matt Forte had a combined 12 carries for 26 yards.
For the day, Branch had eight passes for a career-high 151 yards and fellow Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker had eight receptions for 115 yards.
With today’s win, the Patriots clinched an AFC Playoff berth. The Bears snapped their five-game winning streak and fall to 9-4.
Next up for the Bears is the Minnesota Vikings on Monday, Dec. 20. The game is set to be played in Minneapolis; however, with the roof troubles at the Metrodome, the venue isn’t a sure thing at this point in time.
About the Author
Written by Debbie Baratz