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Patriots-Bears Notes: Bears Get Mauled in the Snow

  • Tom Brady nearly threw 3 interceptions against the Bears, but each of the tipped passes fell harmlessly to the ground.  These missed opportunities by the Bears were the big difference in this game.  Brady’s streak of pass attempts without an interception continues and he has a chance to set the NFL record.  Lucky and good is a scary combo, and the Pats have been both this season. 

  • Patriots ran off-tackle and outside many times in this game.  Perhaps this was aimed to take advantage of a slippery field and over-pursuit by an aggressive defense with cutbacks by Pats running backs.  Green-Ellis and the running game looked very good early, but were shut down late in the game.  This was similar to the Jets game where the Pats were up big and the running game disappeared.  Apparently, teams are loading up the box expecting the clock killing game.

  • Welker and Branch both had over 100 yards receiving in terrible conditions.  Patriots’ offense is mixing Welker’s screens with Branch’s knack for finding the holes in coverage to great success.  Once Brady trusts a receiver, great things can happen.  Branch/Welker are likely ranked 1st and 2nd in Brady’s career favorites.

  • Special teams returners had a field day yesterday, even taking away Edelman’s punt return TD that was called back due to a pre-kick holding penalty.  Edelman averaged 21.5 yards per punt return and looked like he could take it all the way back every time he touched the ball.  Bears returners Danieal Manning and Devin Hester averaged 31 and 37 yards on kickoff returns respectively.

  • Fred Taylor looked healthy when he entered the game late.  He could come in handy in the playoffs as teams haven’t seen much of him this year due to a toe injury.

  • Oddly enough, cornerback Kyle Arrington led the Patriots with 6 tackles.

  • Devin McCourty is emerging as the defensive playmaker the Patriots have sorely missed the last few years.  Asante Samuel had a knack for getting interceptions, but McCourty is already ahead of Samuel in terms of man coverage and tackling.  It took Samuel a few years to emerge as the Pats defensive playmaker.  McCourty is doing it in his rookie year – very impressive.

  • Not typically a Jim Nantz fan, but he and Phil Simms did a good job keeping the conversation interesting.  The story of how the Bears got their name, and Belichick meeting George Halas as a kid were great. 

Photo by Sean Cooley

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William W Barnes

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