The Chicago Bears got off to a great start on Thursday night, but the New England Patriots stormed back and took a 23-22 victory at Gillette Stadium.
After a rough Week 1 performance, the Bears' offense came to play on Thursday, and they got to work early on. Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery hooked up on a pair of first down completions to move down the field, and Kevin White also picked up a first down on a cutback route to get the Bears within striking distance.
Unfortunately for the Bears, that's the best they could muster. A batted down pass at the line of scrimmage shut down the drive, but Robbie Gould was able to knock through a field goal to put Chicago on the board and give the team a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.
A big hit from Adrian Amos sent the Patriots back to the sideline on a three-and-out, and Chicago's offense made sure to take advantage. A big 34-yard run from Jeremy Langford allowed the Bears to set up shop near the goal line, and the second-year running back finished off the drive with a run up the middle for a touchdown.
The Bears converted a two-point attempt on their next play, with Rob Housler hauling in a pass from Cutler, and with that conversion the Bears led 11-0 late in the first quarter.
As the second quarter got underway, the Patriots stormed down deep into Bears' territory, but cornerback Tracy Porter made a massive play. With Tyler Gaffney turning the corner toward the end zone, Porter closed the gap, peeled the ball loose, and recovered the fumble to give the Bears the ball near their own goal line.
Unfortunately for the Bears, they were forced to punt the ball away after a three-and-out, and New England took advantage. A Stephen Gostkowski field goal put the Patriots on the board and trimmed the Chicago lead to 11-3 late in the first half.
The Bears' struggles continued as Brian Hoyer came into the game, with the quarterback throwing an interception on his very first play from scrimmage. The Patriots took advantage, with James White carrying the ball down to the one-yard line and LeGarrette Blount pounding it into the end zone to give New England the touchdown.
The Bears were able to stop the two-point conversion, as Keith Browner dragged down Bolden in the backfield to keep Chicago ahead by an 11-9 margin.
The Patriots used their two-minute offense on their last drive of the first half, and it paid dividends. Garoppolo found A.J. Derby over the middle of the field with a perfect pass for a touchdown, and then Chris Hogan hauled in the two-point conversion pass to give the Patriots a 17-11 lead at the half.
With their second team offense in the game, the Bears continued to struggle mightily to advance the football, and the Patriots continued to build up their advantage. The Chicago defense did fend off several New England pushes up the field, but a pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals left the Patriots ahead 23-11 after three quarters of play.
The Bears did finally make a big play on offense with Hoyer at the helm, with Rob Housler hauling in a 52-yard reception to put the Bears within shouting distance of the goal line. That was as close as they could get however, as a Hoyer pass to Bellamy fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal to turn the ball over on downs.
After Chicago's defense made two key stops, the Bears' offense was finally able to move the ball down the field. They did have to settle for a Robbie Gould field goal however, making it 23-14 with seven minutes remaining in the game.
Connor Shaw came into the game as the third string quarterback on the Bears' final drive, and he made plays happen both with his legs and his arm. An 11-yard run on 4th-and-long kept the drive alive in Patriots' territory, and on the final play of the game he found B.J. Daniels open in the back of the end zone for a late Chicago touchdown.
Darrin Peterson hauled in a pass for the two-point conversion, but it wasn't enough as the Patriots held on for a one-point victory.
The Bears will have some extra time to prepare for their next preseason tilt, as they get ready to welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Soldier Field a week from Saturday.