As a result, the Patriots became the first team in the NFL to earn a playoff berth, and they could lock up the division title this week with a win and a Jets loss.
Here are the grades.
Tom Brady will probably be ticked that the offense sputtered in the second half, but he continued his unconscious hot streak. And what Brady did to Major Wright on the last play of the first half was downright unfair.
They forced four turnovers and held the Bears to seven points, and there was never a moment when the Bears’ offense controlled the pace of the game.
Danieal Manning and Devin Hester combined to average 33 yards per kick return, and Hester had one punt return for 17 yards. And take slight points away from Shayne Graham for missing an extra point, despite his three made field goals in the blustery conditions.
Bill Belichick‘s staff gets praise for keeping his team prepared for ugly weather conditions, but Brady played about two series too many.
The Patriots played as though they were completely unfazed by the snowstorm, and they sent a message by starting the game in the shotgun with an empty backfield. They practiced outside in extremely cold conditions twice last week, and Bill Belichick had his team practice in a nasty rainstorm earlier this season — despite that week’s upcoming game having perfect weather — because he knew they’d have to get used to the elements eventually. That’s part of the reason why the Patriots are 10-0 in the snow under Belichick.