Morning Box Scores: Bears Buried by Pats
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 13, 2010 4:00PM
Despite a 9-3 record that placed the Bears near the top of the NFL, their play in most games suggested they were not really among the league's elite. Yesterday's match-up against the New England Patriots was a key test to prove where they truly stood. The forecast for the game at Soldier Field included frigid temps, snow and winds that suggested the weather might give the Bears the upper hand against the New England. Instead, Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots seemed oblivious to the elements and jumped out to a 33-0 halftime lead, before finishing off the Bears 36-7 on Sunday afternoon.
Brady led the Patriots on 80-plus yard TD drives in back-to-back possessions to take an early 14-0 lead. New England's defense extended the lead to 21-0 when Johnny Knox fumbled and Gary Guyton ran it back for 35 yards. The Patriots tacked on a pair of field goals, in spite of the wind, and went for the kill on the final play of the half. Most teams would've knelt down to end the period and headed to the warmth of the locker room. Instead, Brady caught the Bears defense sleeping, connecting with Deion Branch for a 59-yard touchdown strike. The 33 points given up were a franchise worst performance for the Bears.
Although the weather suggested a game plan focused on running the ball might work best, Brady threw for 369 yards on 27/40 passing and extended his streak to eight games without an interception, picking apart the Bears' cover-2 defense.
Meanwhile, Jay Cutler played more like the conditions suggested a QB would. Cutler's line:12 of 26 for 152 yards. Cutler was also intercepted twice in the second half as he desperately tried to rally his team -- once in the end zone. The Bears offense couldn't move the ball much on the ground either, with running backs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combining for a measly 26 yards. Not that the huge deficit they faced for most of the game allowed for them to rely on the running game anyway.
With the loss, the Bears fall to 9-4. Fortunately, the lowly Lions beat the Packers 7-3 at Ford Field to drop Green Bay to 8-5 on the season, so the Bears remain a game ahead in the divisional race.
The Bears are supposed to play on Monday Night Football next week, against the Vikings at the Metrodome. This weekend's snow-induced roof collapse shifted the Vikings-Giants game to Detroit, but Metrodome officials are optimistic the fabric roof can be repaired before next week's divisional match-up (Mon. 12/20 7:30p.m. ESPN TV /WBBM 780AM), but we wouldn't be surprised by a change of venue.