Final, Patriots 36-7: Well done by the Patriots. This looked like a menacing test, facing a hardknock defense in a driving snowstorm on the road, but the Patriots turned Chicago into their winter wonderland. They've improved to 11-2 with their fifth consecutive victory, and they'll wait on the Packers' arrival next week.
Fourth quarter, 4:38, Patriots 36-7: Tom Brady's day ended after hitting Brandon Tate for 28 yards down the left sideline, and he was tapped out by Brian Hoyer. Still, Brady was in there too long and was sacked again on this drive. Brady was limping through the locker room at one point last week, so he's still feeling the effects of that right foot injury. There was no reason for him to be in this game and throwing the ball in the fourth quarter. At any rate, he finished 27-for-40 for 369 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Fourth quarter, 6:31, Patriots 36-7: Jay Cutler is by no means the only Bear having a poor game, but after hearing so much about how Cutler has turned it around, I said last week I'd believe it when I saw it. Cutler threw his second interception of the game, forcing a ball to the end zone and getting picked off by Brandon Meriweather. Cutler has also lost a fumble in this game.
Fourth quarter, 6:42, Patriots 36-7: Kyle Arrington appeared to catch his hand on the jersey or face mask of Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett, and Arrington injured something in his right arm on the play. He seemed fine for a second, but then he took a seat on the field before getting attention from the trainers. Arrington has since returned.
Fourth quarter, 9:12, Patriots 36-7: The Patriots punted away after Tom Brady was sacked on third down, and Brady shouldn't take anymore snaps Sunday. This game is in hand, and there's obviously no reason to let him get whacked around again. Plus, after Julius Peppers brought him down, Israel Idonije landed on Brady's head. Bill Belichick shouldn't be worrying about weird stuff like that.
Fourth quarter, 12:30, Patriots 36-7: The Patriots announced Ron Brace has left the game with a head injury, and his return is questionable. By the way, check out this member of the Jets intentionally sticking out his knee to trip up and injure a Dolphins returner. This is going to get some play for awhile.
End of third quarter, Patriots 36-7: Ho hum, the game's rolling along and little has changed. It's pretty amazing how the weather has affected certain plays. Tom Brady has struggled with a number of short throws in the second half, with four of them hitting the ground shy of the intended receiver. Yet, Brady has 314 passing yards and two touchdowns, so he's obviously having another outstanding game. The weather has been so weird that you wonder just how much the Patriots can take out of the game tape.
Third quarter, 0:16, Patriots 36-7: Gary Guyton intercepted Jay Cutler, and the Patriots take over at their 29. That was a horrendous pass by Cutler. Guyton simply sat back in the zone and cherry picked the throw to no one. Seriously, no one was in the area, and Cutler delivered the ball with a purpose. I think he just wanted to get back to the heaters on the sideline.
Third quarter, 2:40, Patriots 36-7: The Pats turned it over on downs, and the Bears will take over at their own 23. On the failed fourth down, tight end Aaron Hernandez did a nice job to rock defensive end Julius Peppers at the line — Peppers didn't see it coming and got knocked out of the play due to the solid block — and Hernandez later caught a pass for five yards.
Third quarter, 8:43, Patriots 36-7: Devin Hester set up the Bears with another big return, and Chester Taylor put Chicago on the board with a one-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal. Defensive lineman Ron Brace was slow to get off the field after the touchdown, but it didn't look like it was anything overly concerning. Either way, injuries are the biggest concern as the Patriots play out the string in Chicago.
Third quarter, 10:56, Patriots 36-0: Shayne Graham hit a 29-yard field goal to add a little more juice to the lead. By the way, there's no such thing as running up the score in the first half. Dismiss anyone who tells you otherwise.
Third quarter, 13:51, Patriots 33-0: Rookie cornerback Devin McCourty has suffered a rib injury, according to the Patriots, and his return is questionable. McCourty has been replaced by Darius Butler. I don't need to tell you how significant of an injury this could potentially be.
Third quarter, 13:51, Patriots 33-0: Gerard Warren is back on the field, but Devin McCourty is not. This is something to keep a major eye on. The Patriots could be resting McCourty, or he might have actually hurt his foot in the second quarter when he forced Johnny Knox to fumble.
Halftime, Patriots 33-0: Adding to that last post, the Bears blew it by not playing a deep zone or a prevent before the half — there's just no excuse for that. But if Tom Brady didn't do an excellent job to look off Major Wright, the Patriots don't score there. So, it's not like the Bears just laid down on that play, because Brady showed his true value in out-smarting the safety.
Halftime, Patriots 33-0: Great googily moogily, the Bears completely broke down on the last play of the half, and Tom Brady hit Deion Branch down the left sideline for a 59-yard touchdown. Cornerback Charles Tillman played a short zone and let Branch run free, presumably because he thought safety Major Wright would take Branch. However, Brady stared down Rob Gronkowski's route and used a slight pump fake, and Wright sold out on Gronkowski, which let Branch fly free down the sideline. Brady hit him, and Branch scored with ease. However, Shayne Graham missed the extra point.
Second quarter, 1:38, Patriots 27-0: Dane Fletcher was called for holding penalty that negated Julian Edelman's punt return for a touchdown. Now, the Patriots take over at their own 19.
Second quarter, 3:20, Patriots 27-0: The Bears put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady, and he didn't have enough time to do much on second- and third-down pass attempts, which both fell incomplete in Wes Welker's direction. Shayne Graham salvaged the drive, though, and beat home a 25-yard field goal. Graham has hit two field goals in 1:16.
Second quarter, 4:22, Patriots 24-0: Eric Moore and the Patriots broke through the Bears' offensive line to surround Jay Cutler, and Moore forced Cutler to fumble. Jerod Mayo dove on it, and the Patriots have a first-and-goal.
Second quarter, 4:36, Patriots 24-0: The train rolls on, as Shayne Graham worked home a 30-yard field goal that somehow had enough to fight through a brutal right-to-left wind. The Patriots can do no wrong here.
Second quarter, 8:00, Patriots 21-0: The Patriots forced another punt, and Julian Edelman's 42-yard return set up the Pats at the Chicago 30. Also, I got a chance to re-watch the last series of the first quarter. Gerard Warren played in each play, and he might have injured his right knee by slipping while working off right tackle Olin Kreutz on the play after Chicago's third-and-18 conversion. Nothing looked bad, and Warren actually won his battle on the decisive third down and hit Jay Cutler. So, we'll see if Warren can return.
Second quarter, 9:45, Patriots 21-0: Consider this: Devin McCourty was credited with a third-down tackle on the Bears' first series, a third-down pass defense on their second series and a forced fumble on their third series. He's a one-man wrecking crew out there.
Second quarter, 9:56, Patriots 21-0: The play was confirmed, and the Patriots have a quick three-touchdown lead after scoring twice in 20 seconds. Also, Devin McCourty appears to have gotten lucky that his foot didn't twist up underneath Johnny Knox. That could have been the most costly touchdown of the year, but McCourty ran down the field after the play and looked fine.
Second quarter, 9:56, Patriots 20-0: Big challenge coming up here. Devin McCourty stripped Johnny Knox, and Gary Guyton picked up the fumble and returned it for a touchdown. That's the ruling on the field, so chalk up an immediate advantage for the Patriots. Upon further review, it looked like Knox would have been down, but by chance, McCourty's foot was underneath Knox's rear end, which kept Knox from touching the ground. The play should stand.
Second quarter, 10:16, Patriots 14-0: Danny Woodhead scored on a three-yard touchdown run, bouncing around in a scrum of much bigger men before diving across the goal line. This is impressive. The Patriots don't even look like they're playing in a windy, nasty, snowstorm, and they're taking it to a good team in their own barn.
Second quarter, 12:37, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots announced Gerard Warren has left the game with a knee injury, and his return is questionable. Warren has a sack in this game, and he's been a really dependable lineman for them this season.
End of first quarter, Patriots 7-0: The Bears moved to midfield but punted it back to the Patriots, who take over at their own 14. The Patriots are going to be angry they let Jay Cutler beat them on third-and-18. They played in a really soft zone, and Cutler delivered a 19-yard missile to Johnny Knox in front of Devin McCourty and behind Jerod Mayo. However, McCourty broke up a third-down pass later in the drive to force the punt. But if the Patriots made that initial stop, they'd have about 30-40 yards of better field position for this drive.
First quarter, 5:47, Patriots 7-0: Snow, what snow? Tom Brady led a 12-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a seven-yard strike to Rob Gronkowski on third-and-goal. The Patriots converted three times on third down on that drive — from 10, 12 and seven yards, and all on throws from Brady, who had 68 passing yards on that drive. Nice job by Gronkowski, who sat down in the zone right in front of Brian Urlacher, and the rookie tight end fell to catch a low pass from Brady.
First quarter, 11:03, 0-0: The Bears answered New England's three-and-out with one of their own. Matt Forte rushed right on third-and-1, but Devin McCourty quickly closed in on the edge and Rob Ninkovich closed in on Forte from behind to wrestle him down for a loss of two. The Patriots will take over at their own 15 after Brad Maynard's punt. If nothing else, the Patriots need to chip away at the battle for field position on this drive.
First quarter, 13:05, 0-0: Snow be damned, the Patriots opened up in the shotgun with an empty backfield, and Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for a five-yard gain. However, BenJarvus Green-Ellis lost two yards on second down, and Brady was sacked on third down and the Pats punted to Devin Hester, who was finally pushed out of bounds after a 16-yard return to the Chicago 46. Hester could give the Bears a big edge in this game, which might not see a lot of offense.
First quarter, 14:55, 0-0: Sammy Morris clutched onto the opening kickoff and returned it to the New England 31. The Pats and Bears are in business in Chicago.
4:14 p.m.: The Bears won the toss and chose to kick off to start the game. Game-time temperature is 26 degrees with 30 mph winds and plenty of snow. The wind chill will drop the temperature into the low teens. Tropical.
3:10 p.m.: Here's a little more detail on the Patriots' inactive list.
2:53 p.m.: Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hip), defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion) and defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back) will all miss Sunday's game against the Bears. The Patriots' other five inactive players are wide receiver Taylor Price, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, tackle Mark LeVoir, running back Thomas Clayton and cornerback Chevis Jackson, who was signed this week to take linebacker Brandon Spikes' spot on the roster. Defensive end/outside linebacker Eric Moore will see his first action with the Pats. More details to follow.
2:41 p.m.: The Patriots' buses have arrived at Soldier Field, according to the team's Twitter account. Some of the Patriots have been at the field longer, but this is a relatively late arrival, I believe. Because the tarp remained on the field until about a half hour ago, the players couldn't get outside to warm up, so there was little reason to be in the building in their typically early fashion. From what I've noticed, most teams start arriving at the stadium about three hours prior to kickoff.
8 a.m.: Most weeks, this matchup between the Patriots and Bears would be tabbed as one of the biggest games of the season, but it seems to be getting slightly overlooked. Maybe it's because the Patriots just finished off a stretch in which they knocked off the rival Steelers, Colts and Jets, and this clash with an NFC division leader doesn't bring the same level of hype. Or maybe people are still unwilling to take the Bears all that seriously, which is somewhat understandable.
But there's no prejudice against a lack of hype in the standings, and this game is still significant for each team. The Patriots can earn a playoff berth with a win, and they're zeroing in on home-field advantage for the postseason, as well. And the Bears are trying to stay a game up on the Packers in the NFC North, while also trying to pull home a first-round bye.
Stay with NESN.com's live blog throughout the day, and we'll let you know how each team tries to accomplish its respective goal.
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