Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago IL
SB Nation affiliate: Windy City Gridiron
TV: CBS, with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (color commentary) and Evan Washburn (sideline reporter):
Patriots rooting guide
9:00 AM (London)
The Bears won the opened toss and elected to defer to the second half. The Patriots received the opening kickoff and Sony Michel got the Patriots over midfield on just two plays and James White got the offense to the 30-yard line on the next play. After eight plays and 75 yards, Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for a 9-yard screen pass touchdown. The Patriots lead 7-0.
Chris Hogan suffered what appeared to be a lower-leg injury on the play as Khalil Mack rolled up on the back of his legs in the traffic. Hogan walked off the field under his own power. His return is questionable.
Stephen Gostkowski had a good kick and the coverage unit pinned the Bears on the 17-yard line to start the drive and the run defense did a great job forcing a third-and-long, but a bad job on third down allowed Mitchell Trubisky to escape for a 14-yard run up the middle that is sure to frustrate Bill Belichick. The Patriots defense strengthened on the next set of downs with good pressure from Jonathan Jones and Trey Flowers to force three straight incompletions and a punt.
The Patriots went three-and-out after a nice pass break-up by Kyle Fuller in coverage of Julian Edelman. All three passes went to Edelman on this drive and I hope the Patriots don’t abandon the run.
Kyle Van Noy forced Tarik Cohen out of bounds for a 3-yard loss, but the defense lost contain of Trubisky on back-to-back plays as he scrambled for a new set of downs. The Patriots lost track of tight end Trey Burton in the middle of their zone defense and Trubisky completed his first pass of the day for 22 yards. Allen Robinson dropped a pass in coverage by Stephon Gilmore on third down to set up a 46-yard field goal attempt to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled the ball on the kick return directly into the hands of the Bears player. Chicago gets the ball on the 24-yard line.
The Patriots continue to lose track of Trubisky in the backfield as Adrian Clayborn overpursued and lost contain and Trubisky ran in untouched for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead. He now has 35 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first quarter and only has 2 completions for 22 yards on the day. Perhaps the Patriots should focus a little more attention on making sure Trubisky stays in the backfield.
Tom Brady found Josh Gordon for 20 yards to start the next drive and closed out the first quarter.
Sony Michel suffered a lower leg injury on the very first play as a Bears defensive tackle landed on his leg. In his apparent pain, Michel fumbled the ball and the Bears recovered on the 36-yard line. Michel’s questionable to return with a knee injury.
Deatrich Wise sacked Trubisky and Stephon Gilmore made a great open field tackle to set up a 4th-and-4 from the 30-yard line and New England called a timeout because they only had 10 players on the field. And then the Patriots lost track of Burton in the middle of the zone and he caught the wide open pass for a first down. And then J.C. Jackson was flagged for hands to the face. And then they were flagged for defensive holding for an automatic first down. And then Jackson was flagged for hands to the face, again, for another set of sets. And then Elandon Roberts dropped an interception in coverage of an offensive lineman. And then Jordan Howard ran in for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.
Trubisky has completed just three of his 11 passes. That’s 27.3%. The Patriots should be running away with this game and once they stop fumbling the ball or giving the Bears free first downs via penalty, New England should get back on top. It’s just one of those games.
And Cordarrelle Patterson gets some redemption by returning the kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and a Gronk spike. The Bears lead 17-14.
The Patriots did a great job containing Trubisky in the pocket on the next drive with the defensive tackles adequately filling the space vacated by the crashing defensive ends as the quarterback threw two incredibly inaccurate passes and went three-and-out.
Brady underthrew a wide open Josh Gordon for a potential huge gain- and in Brady’s defense, Gordon could have done more to come get the pass- but Brady connected with James White on back-to-back passes to move the chains to midfield. The Bears did a good job stuffing Kenjon Barner on first down and making an open-field tackle of Chris Hogan on second down. Brady scrambled on third down to set up a 4th-and-1 and threw the ball up to Josh Gordon for a first down on a backshoulder pass to the 23-yard line. Brady found James White for a touchdown and a 21-17 lead. Back on top.
The Patriots defense allowed Trubisky to get the edge on third down, again, as Danny Shelton didn’t roll to cover the right side of the line. Trubisky has now scrambled for four first downs (or touchdowns) on third down in the first half. Not a good look for the Patriots. Fortunately for the Patriots defense, Trubisky is wildly inaccurate with just 5 completions on 17 attempts (29.4%) and the Patriots forced the Bears to punt with a chance to score before the half.
Julian Edelman muffed the punt off his facemask but managed to recover to set the offense up on the 4-yard line. Yikes.
Kenjon Barner ran for a first down as the Patriots tried to run down the clock to keep the ball away from the Bears. But the Patriots were unable to get another first down and punted with 22 seconds left in the half. Keion Crossen was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for not running back on the field after getting forced out to set the Bears up on the 38-yard line.
Trubisky hit Trey Burton for 17 yards to the Patriots 45-yard line with 8 seconds left in the half. How do the Patriots keep losing track of Burton in zone defense? Tarik Cohen caught a pass for 5 yards to the Patriots 40-yard line with one second left on the clock. The Bears opted to throw a Hail Mary instead of attempting a 57-yard field goal attempt and Cohen was tackled at the 20-yard line to end the half.
That’s a weird call for the Bears. Over the past ten years, teams around the opposing 40-yard line have scored a mere 5 touchdowns on 230 plays right before the end of the half or game. Calling an offensive play offered a mere 0.15 expected points. Teams have connected on 20 of 56 field goals in the same circumstances for 1.07 expected points. They should have kicked the field goal.
The Patriots should be winning this game by a lot more than 4 points. Fumbles by Patterson and Michel set the Bears up in scoring position and Trubisky can’t complete a pass to anyone other than Trey Burton. If New England can protect the ball better in the second half they should be okay.
A special teams penalty on Nate Ebner set the Bears up on the 40-yard line, a 16-yard crosser to Tarik Cohen, and 39-yard scramble by Trubisky (eyeroll) set Chicago up on the goal line and Trubisky dumped the ball off to Cohen for a touchdown. Stephon Gilmore almost intercepted a pass, the second time a Patriots defended got their hands on the ball in the end zone, but Chicago leads 24-21.
Mitchell Trubisky's 81 yards rushing are already the second-most for a QB against the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era. Most are 93 to Tim Tebow (12/18/11).— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) October 21, 2018
The Patriots chipped their way to the Bears red zone with big plays from Chris Hogan, James White, and Kenjon Barner (!!!), but a missed block by David Andrews allowed a sack of Brady and New England settled for a field goal and a 24-24 tie.
J.C. Jackson was flagged for the third time today, this one for defensive pass interference, but the run defense was stout and Josh Bellamy lost the football in the sun. Adrian Clayborn and Adam Butler did a great job keeping Trubisky in the pocket on third down to force a punt. Dont’a Hightower blocked the punt and Kyle Van Noy scooped up the ball and it returned it for a touchdown and a 31-24 lead.
The Bears were driving in Patriots territory because Trey Burton is apparently Jerry Rice and Randy Moss and also invisible, but J.C. Jackson had a little redemption of his own and intercepted a pass on the Patriots own 20-yard line to stop the Bears drive. Eric Rowe also appeared to re-injure his groin, but remained on the sideline.
The Patriots weren’t able to do anything with the ball and Brady threw a third down pass behind a wide-open Josh Gordon and New England had to punt.
The New England defense almost forced a three-and-out, but Trubisky found rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller for a 21-yard gain. Jonathan Jones made a great open field tackle of Cohen for a 1-yard gain to end the quarter.
Cohen has 11 touches for 67 yards and Burton has 6 catches for 84 yards. Jordan Howard has been mostly quiet as a rusher with 34 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. If the Patriots can cover Burton and contain Cohen in the fourth quarter, the Patriots should be fine.
Trubisky found Cohen and Burton for 10 yards on back-to-back plays to get to the Patriots 35-yard line to start the fourth quarter, but Jonathan Jones continued his excellent season with a one-handed interception of a deep ball on the Patriots 4-yard line.
Tom Brady found Gordon, White, and Hogan to get out of the shadow of the goal line, while Barner added 5 yards on the ground, before Brady connected with Gordon on a 55-yard catch-and run where Gordon broke a pair of tackles, but was caught at the goal line. Brady tossed a 2-yard shovel pass to White for the back’s second touchdown of the day and the Patriots took a 38-24 lead. Gordon now has 100 receiving yards on the day.
The Patriots forced a three-and-out, but the offense was unable to capitalize as James Develin had the ball in his hands and dropped it into the arms of a Bears defender for an interception. This has to be the fourth or fifth interception of the season where Brady hit the receiver, but the receiver hot-potato’d the ball to a defender.
The Bears responded with, surprise, Trey Burton collected two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown, to close the score to 38-31. Burton now has 9 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots led an 8-play, 26-yard drive to drain almost four minutes off the clock before giving the ball back to Chicago on the 20-yard line with 24 seconds left in the game with no time outs.
WOW. The Bears make it to midfield and chucked up a Hail Mary, but the Patriots, led by Josh Gordon (!!) tackled Kevin White at the one-yard line. Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, Jonathan Jones, and Duron Harmon were also in on the tackle.
The Patriots barely held on to win 38-31 to move to 5-2. New England is on the road next week to play the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.