The Pats tame the Bears in thrilling game at Soldier Field!

TEAM

1

2

3

4

T

CHI 10 7 7 7 31

NE

7 14 10 7 38

The Patriots outlasted the Chicago Bears (3-3) in a back-and-forth game at Soldier Field, with a 38-31 victory that improved them to 5-2 on the season. Playing without key contributors on offense and an inconsistent defense, the Pats relied on special teams to pull out their first road victory of the year.

Here are some takeaways from today’s game.

1. The offense was brilliant once again without key playmakers

The Pats took on the Bears without Rob Gronkowski, who didn’t make the trip to Chicago due to back and ankle injuries. They started the game hot, as they dissected the vaunted Bears defense en route to a Julian Edelman touchdown on their opening drive. However, things went downhill from there, as their third drive resulted in Sony Michel suffering a knee injury (which did not look good) and a fumble that helped Chicago take a 17-7 lead. The Patriots displayed their mental fortitude as they were able to bounce back and regain the lead in the second quarter. Tom Brady was his usual self, as he threw for over 270 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with an interception. James White and Kenjon Barner served as a serviceable running back duo, as they helped spread the field for the Patriots. Without Gronk in the lineup, the Pats relied on their trio of receivers in Julian Edelman (5 catches for 36 yards and 1 touchdown), Josh Gordon (4 catches for 100 yards), and Chris Hogan (6 catches for 63 yards). The offensive line performed well against the talented Chicago pass rush, as Brady was only sacked 1 time, and was not touched much throughout the game.

 Sony Michel’s injury is concerning for the rest of the season, as he had proved himself to be a valuable contributor, and the combination of Michel and White was extremely potent for Josh McDaniels’ offense. There hasn’t been any word on the severity of his injury, but let’s hope that he isn’t out for an extended period of time. I also believe that the Patriots shouldn’t rush Rob Gronkowski back into the lineup, as I think that it’s important to allow him to recover and stay healthy as the season progresses.  

White v bears w7.jpg
(Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

2. The defense had another up-and-down performance

Following their dreadful performance against the Chiefs, it was interesting to see how the Pats’ defense would rebound against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense, and the best word to describe their performance is inconsistent. Early on in the game, they were able to shut down Chicago’s passing game, but they could not contain Trubisky outside of the pocket, as he frequently scampered for first downs off of big gains. Trubisky had a 8-yard touchdown run, and also had a 39-yard run during which he maneuvered around hapless Patriots’ defenders. Despite their inability to stop Trubisky from running the ball, the Pats were able to make life hard for his receivers, as only Trey Burton (9 receptions for 126 yards and 1 touchdown) and Tarik Cohen (8 catches for 69 yards and 1 touchdown) had great performances. Another area of concern for the Pats was their number of penalties (4 penalties for 29 yards), which helped to extend drives for Chicago. 

The Pats were able to make up for their early miscues, as they forced Trubisky into 2 second half interceptions and most of Chicago’s fourth quarter yardage came in garbage time. Today’s game ended in thrilling fashion, as the Bears’ Hail Mary attempt resulted in Kevin White being tackled at the one-yard line, due to a wall of defenders led by Duron Harmon.

pats bears hial mary
(Photo by John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

3. Special Teams came up big!

The Patriots’ special teams did not start very well today, as Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled a kickoff which gave the Bears fantastic field position and led to them snatching the lead. Patterson was able to recover from his miscue, as he returned a second quarter kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown, as he outmaneuvered the Bears’ kickoff unit and helped the Patriots trim their deficit to 17-14. In the third quarter, Dont’a Hightower blocked a punt, which led to a touchdown by Kyle Van Noy which gave the Patriots a lead that they would never relinquish. Interestingly enough, this was the first game in Patriots’ history that featured the men in blue score on a blocked punt and a kickoff. It’s always heartening to see special teams step up when the team requires a spark in order to emerge victorious. 

patterson kickoff w7
(Photo by Barry Chin/ Boston Globe)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 25/36 for 277 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
  • Rushing: James White – 11 carries for 40 yards
  • Receiving: Josh Gordon – 4 catches for 100 yards 
  • Defensive: Patrick Chung – 6 tackles

Bears

  • Passing: Mitch Trubisky – 26/50 for 333 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions
  • Rushing: Mitch Trubisky – 6 carries for 81 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Trey Burton – 9 catches for 126 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Defensive: Danny Trevathan – 10 tackles

 

What’s next?: The Pats head to Buffalo to take on their rival, the Buffalo Bills (2-5) on Monday Night Football.  

 

 

Patriots storm into the Windy City!

On Sunday, the Patriots head to the Windy City to face Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears (3-2), with hopes of improving to 5-2 on the season. Chicago is coming off of a demoralizing overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, and will definitely bring their A-game against Tom Brady & Co.

Here are a few things to consider entering this Week 7 contest.

1. Brady vs Mack: Who will prevail?

The marquee matchup of this game will be between Tom Brady’s offense and Khalil Mack’s defense, with both units being considered to be among the best the NFL has to offer. Brady and the offense are coming off of a brilliant performance against the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, during which they dictated the pace of the game and unrelentingly dissected the hapless Chiefs defense.  Unfortunately for the Pats, they will have to face a brilliant pass rush led by Mack, which has made a habit of getting after the quarterback and making life difficult for the offensive line. To be successful against the Bears defense, the Patriots should take a look at what Miami did last week, as backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was successful in leading the Dolphins to score 31 points. Also, Mack is still dealing with a lingering ankle injury, which may hamper his effectiveness. Look for the Patriots to use their speed at receiver and running back to take advantage of matchups against the Bears.

brady v bears 14.jpg
(Photo by Jim Davis/Boston Globe)

2. How will the Patriots defense perform?

Last week against the Chiefs, the Patriots’ defense was absolutely porous, as they gave up 31 points in the second half, which was a result of frequently busted coverages in the secondary. It’s sad for me to admit that I expect them to struggle once again this week, as they are facing off of a team that is led by Matt Nagy, who was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last season. Nagy has a reputation of being innovative on offense, and has definitely modeled his offense on that of the Chiefs, with the usage of dynamic running backs, athletic tight ends, and speedy wide receivers. Hopefully, Bill Belichick has come up with a game plan to deal with the Bears’ weapons, such as Tarik Cohen and Ryan Howard. One key takeaway from last week’s game is that the Patriots were able to win because they tricked Patrick Mahomes into making mistakes in the first half, and that will be essential this week when they face off against another young quarterback in Mitch Tribusky. 

howard v pats prese.jpg
(Photo via Getty Images)

Injury Report:
Patriots

  • Malcom Brown (knee) – Questionable
  • Julian Edelman (heel) – Questionable
  • Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
  • Rob Gronkowski (ankle) – Questionable
  • Jacob Hollister (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Sony Michel (knee) – Questionable
  • Eric Rowe (groin) – Questionable
  • John Simon (shoulder) – Questionable
  • Deatrich Wise (ankle/knee) – Questionable
  • Marcus Cannon (concussion) – Questionable

Bears

  • Khalil Mack (ankle) – Questionable
  • Allen Robinson II (groin) – Questionable
  • Prince Amukamara (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Marcus Cooper Sr. (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Eric Kush (neck) – Questionable

Prediction: Patriots 34, Bears 27

Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 7 contests

Last week: 8-5

Broncos at Cardinals: Broncos

Titans at Chargers: Chargers

Panthers at Eagles: Panthers

Vikings at Jets: Vikings

Bills at Colts: Colts

Texans at Jaguars: Texans

Browns at Buccaneers: Browns

Lions at Dolphins: Lions

Saints at Ravens: Saints

Cowboys at Redskins: Cowboys

Rams at 49ers: Rams

Bengals at Chiefs: Chiefs

Giants at Falcons: Falcons