The New England Patriots blew through Chicago more fiercely than the snowstorm that accompanied them on Sunday night.
For the second straight week the Patriots completely outplayed their opponents and put the game out of reach by half time. Not only did the Patriots beat the Bears by 36-7, they dominated the home team in each phase of the game.
Tom Brady and Gary Guyton will deservedly take much of the credit for huge performances for the Patriots but this game was won in the trenches.
The Patriots offensive line completely outplayed the Bears defensive line. After the teams traded punts on their opening drives the Patriots offensive line, led by an immense performance from left tackle Matt Light, took control of the game. The Patriots offensive line consistently opened huge holes in the running game for Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis, 87 yards, in the first half which allowed the Patriots to use play action to great effect in the second half.
Tom Brady was also given more than enough time to pick apart the Bears overmatched secondary. Brady threw 369 yards and 2 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Julius Peppers was not able to disrupt Brady in the pocket thanks to Matt Light who kept Peppers out of the quarterback's face until late in the game when the contest had already been decided. This meant that Wes Welker and Deion Branch had plenty of time to lose Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. Welker and Branch both had over 100 yards while Branch led the team with a career high 151 yards.
Fittingly the biggest play of the game was a touchdown from Brady to Branch late in the second quarter. Most teams with a 27-0 lead going into half time would simply run out the clock but Brady recently elaborated about “making use of every play available” to them while speaking with Rich Eisen of NFL Network. This is exactly the kind of aggressive play-calling that Brady was referring to.
Nobody would have blamed the Patriots had they simply run out the clock as Brian Urlacher had dropped an easy interception two plays previously. Instead, the ball was snapped at the New England 41 to Brady who pump faked before floating the ball down the left sideline into the waiting hands of Deion Branch who took it in for the score. The Bears heads dropped after that play and their slim hopes of a comeback were buried in the snow.
It wasn't all about the offense for the Patriots as the defense held their opposition to only one score for the second week in a row. In fact the defense alone outscored the Bears thanks to a Gary Guyton fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Guyton followed up a Johnnie Knox fumble after Devin McCourty stripped him on a drag route. McCourty has lived up to his first round billing after early season struggles. McCourty essentially is symbolic of a Patriots defense that has had 19 different starters this season alone. It seems that both the defense and McCourty have finally found their comfort zones.
It is debatable whether the Bears or the snowstorm in Soldier Field gave the Patriots the bigger test on Sunday night as the game was played in the worst of conditions. Either way the Patriots passed the test with ease.
Ask Jay Cutler, “That's an elite team!”
Yeah, No kidding Jay!
-The Indianapolis Colts ended their three game losing streak with a 30-28 victory against the Tennessee Titans.
-For the sixth time this season the Pittsburgh Steelers have scored less than 20 points, astonishingly they have won 4 of those games.
-Brodie Croyle is now 0-10 as a starter after his Kansas City Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers.
-For the third straight week the Buccaneers have lost two starters because of injury for the rest of the year.
-The Patriots victory over the Bears was the 108th for Tom Brady and Bill Bellichek together. This is second most in team history for a quarterback head coach tandem.
-Peyton Hillis became one of only three players in Browns history with 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns in a single season.
-The Detroit Lions won their first game in 20 attempts against NFC North teams against the Packers.
-Tom Brady has 5 straight games with at least 2 Tds and 0 interceptions.
-DeSean Jackson had a ridiculous 52.5 average against the Dallas Cowboys with 210 yards on 4 receptions.
-Jay Feely kicked five field goals and rushed for a touchdown for the Arizona Cardinals against the Denver Broncos. Denver should have seen it coming, why else would a kicker wear gloves?
Raise a glass to Robert Emmet, the Irish rebel leader executed on this day in 1803