Tom Brady threw for over 300 yards and five touchdowns, and Rob Gronkowski hauled in three touchdown catches as the New England Patriots sent the Chicago Bears into their bye week with a whimper, securing a 51-23 victory.
Jay Cutler threw for three touchdowns in the losing effort, but the Bears' defense had no answers for the Patriots, giving up 488 yards as they lost their second consecutive game and third this season against an AFC East opponent.
The Bears got off to a good start on offense, with Matt Forte rushing three consecutive times for an early first down, but that was all they could manage. Martellus Bennett picked up a holding penalty, and Jay Cutler overthrew Brandon Marshall as the Bears were forced to punt the ball away.
Taking advantage, the Patriots immediately began to slice up the Bears’ defense with a deft mix of passes and runs. Jonas Gray picked up two first downs for the Pats, and Brandon La’Fell caught a first down pass as well. On a first and goal play, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski isolated against Ryan Mundy, and the Patriots scored on the ensuing touchdown catch to take a 7-0 lead.
After another unsuccessful Bears drive, the Patriots took over and once again pushed the ball up the field. Gronkowski snared another first down catch, and Gray picked up a first down of his own. As the first quarter came to an end, the Bears made a couple of great stops at the goal line to keep the Patriots out of the end zone, with Brady and Shane Vereen each being stopped short of the end zone.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Patriots went for it on fourth down, but the Bears were able to stuff Gray in the backfield. Fortunately for New England though, a false start flag was thrown, negating the play. Stephen Gostkowski came on and made a chip shot field goal, giving the Patriots a 10-0 lead.
The Bears got the ball back looking to capitalize on the momentum generated from the stop at the goal line, but they quickly yielded it right back as they punted the ball back to New England. Gronkowski responded with two huge first down gains, and when Brady found Tim Wright in the back of the end zone, the Patriots took a 17-0 lead.
After this score, the Bears were able to respond well, and they drove down the field to score for the first time in the game. Matt Forte snared a first down reception to start the drive, and then rushed for another one. On a delicate toss from Cutler over the middle of the field, Forte snared the catch in stride and sprinted into the end zone to make it a 17-7 game.
Gronkowski again gave the Bears fits as the Patriots marched down the field on their next drive, picking up a third-and-long conversion for a first down and then snaring another one with four Bears defenders around him. After Brandon La’Fell caught a pass to make it a first and goal for the Patriots at the two minute warning, Gronkowski hauled in his second touchdown catch of the game to put New England back up by a 24-7 margin.
With the Bears pinned deep in their territory, Akeem Ayers sacked Cutler, and Kyle Long picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on top of it. After the Patriots called timeout, Julian Edelman returned a punt deep into Bears territory, and La’Fell hauled in a touchdown reception on the first play to make it a 31-7 game.
To add insult to injury, the Patriots scored again just a few moments later. Cutler was sacked in the pocket and coughed up the ball onto the Foxboro turf. Rob Ninkovich picked it up and eluded several tacklers on his way to the end zone, and as the halftime whistle sounded the Patriots held a 38-7 lead.
As the third quarter got underway, the Bears’ defense was once again powerless to stop the Patriots, and Gronkowski hauled in his third touchdown catch of the afternoon. This one was a 48-yard scamper that saw him run over Ryan Mundy with ease, and when Gostkowski’s extra point sailed through the uprights, New England extended their lead to 45-7.
Both teams traded unsuccessful drives as the third quarter went on, but the Bears were able to end their offensive ineptitude by putting together a scoring drive. Martellus Bennett made his first big impact of the day on a 34-yard catch to get the drive going, and he finished things off as he made an incredibly athletic catch as he fell to the ground. Dante Rosario snared a catch to nail down the two-point conversion, but the Bears still trailed 45-15.
After the Patriots were forced to settle for a field goal to make it 48-15 with 10 minutes left, the Bears went down the field and scored again to narrow the gap a bit more. Brandon Marshall made a nice catch for a first down on the drive, and Jeffery ultimately was the one who got the touchdown as he snared a catch just inside the edge of the end zone. Forte caught a bubble screen pass and ran into the end zone to make it a 48-23 game.
The Patriots got the last score of the game with a late field goal, but the big story on the drive came when Lamarr Houston sacked Jimmy Garoppolo. After the sack, Houston began to celebrate and crumpled to the ground in pain after suffering an apparent knee injury. Houston ultimately was carted off the field, and the clock ran out on the Bears.
The Bears will have Week 9 to rest and recuperate with a bye week, and then will take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 10.