Final, Patriots 51-23: Either the Patriots somehow got better after suffering injuries to Chandler Jones, Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley, or the Bears are really, really, really bad. We’ll guess the latter, but the Patriots’ dominant performance should help carry some momentum and confidence into next week’s matchup against the Denver Broncos.
The Patriots downed Bears backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen on the final drive of the game, and kneeled to finish the game.
Brady, Gronkowski and LaFell are among this week’s stars of the game.
Fourth quarter, 2:09, Patriots 51-23: Jimmy Garoppolo got a chance to show his skills while the Patriots were up by 25 points.
Garoppolo was sacked by Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston, who then hurt himself while doing an intricate celebration. Houston was carted to the locker room. Nice going, bud.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal, and the Patriots lead by 28 points.
Fourth quarter, 5:16, Patriots 48-23: The Bears scored again and hit the two-point conversion to cut the Patriots’ lead to 25 points.
Cutler hit Jeffery over rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler.
The Patriots recovered the onside kick and have the ball at the Bears’ 42-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 9:59, Patriots 48-15: The Patriots did their best to kill the clock, and had to settle for a field goal.
Brandon LaFell now has a career-high 11 catches for 124 yards with a touchdown. He’s gaining more and more trust from Brady as the season continues.
Third quarter, 0:54, Patriots 45-15: The Bears now trail by just 30 points after a touchdown and two-point conversion.
Martellus Bennett made an incredible catch over Browner, who was called for pass interference. It looked like Bennett was bear-hugging Browner down the field, but Browner initiated contact.
It doesn’t really matter, since the Patriots lead by so much.
Third quarter, 4:10, Patriots 45-7: Punter Ryan Allen finally got in on the fun. His first punt of the game came with a little over four minutes left in the third quarter.
Matthew Slater had to be helped off the field and into the locker room after participating on punt coverage.
Third quarter, 6:28, Patriots 45-7: Is there a way to get a running clock for the second half? The Bears seem to have given up.
Dominique Easley recorded the first sack of his career. He split it with Wilfork.
The Patriots have the ball on their own 26-yard line after Cutler threw an incompletion to Alshon Jeffery on fourth down, turning the ball over on downs.
Gronk went to the locker room after his TD. His return is questionable because of dehydration.
Third quarter, 12:42, Patriots 45-7: Second half, same as the first.
After completions to Wright and Edelman, Brady fired an intermediate throw to Gronk, who then pushed defenders off the rest of the way for a 46-yard touchdown. I’m pretty sure he broke five tackles on the way to the end zone.
Gronk now has nine catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
The massacre continues.
End half, Patriots 38-7: Pretty decent half of football there for the Patriots.
Darrelle Revis ended it with an interception, and the Patriots lead by five scores.
Brady completed 18 of 21 passes for 203 yards with four touchdowns in the first half. He has a 146.5 passer rating.
Gray has 12 carries for 70 yards. Gronk has eight catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and LaFell has seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Second quarter, 0:55, Patriots 38-7: Jim Ross might need to call the rest of this game. “Bah gawd, it’s a massacre!”
Cutler got strip sacked by rookie Zach Moore, and Ninkovich picked up the ball and returned it for a TD.
Second quarter, 1:07, Patriots 31-7: The Bears went three-and-out, then allowed a 42-yard punt return to Julian Edelman. A holding call put the Patriots on the 10-yard line, and Brady immediately threw a touchdown to LaFell.
This game is too easy for Brady and the Patriots.
Second quarter, 1:52, Patriots 24-7: Brady threw his third touchdown of the game to a tight end, and the Patriots currently lead 23-7. The play is under review, however.
The play in question is a 2-yard pass to Gronk.
The Patriots got to the red zone thanks in large part to Gronk, who caught passes for 6, 17 and 25 yards. LaFell also caught a 27-yard pass.
Gronk currently has eight receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He’s been uncoverable. We’ll update you on the challenge.
UPDATE: Call stands. It’s a touchdown.
Gostkowski drills his extra point, and the Patriots lead 24-7.
Second quarter, 5:32, Patriots 17-7: The Bears are on the board.
Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins got burned down the sideline by Bears running back Matt Forte, allowing a long touchdown. Collins has been burned down the sideline a few times this season, but usually the QB will overthrow it or the receiver will drop it. Collins wasn’t so lucky this time.
The Patriots’ run defense started to break down on this drive, as well. It’s worth noting that sixth-round pick Zach Moore was in at right defensive end.
Second quarter, 8:09, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots made the Wright call on first and goal at the 1-yard line (see what I did there?).
Tight end Tim Wright caught a 1-yard pass from Brady in the back of the end zone to put the Patriots ahead 17-0.
LaFell was key again on that drive, catching a 17-yard pass and drawing a pass interference penalty.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown in the game. LaFell has five catches for 62 yards.
Second quarter, 13:36, Patriots 10-0: All the size in the world isn’t helping the Bears’ passing game.
New England’s defense forced another three-and-out against the Bears. Cutler went two for three on that drive for just 5 yards. Revis broke up a pass intended for Marshall.
The Patriots have the ball at their own 24-yard line after the Amendola return.
Second quarter, 14:58, Patriots 10-0: The Patriots got stuffed on a Jonas Gray goal-line carry, but they benefited from a false start, which negated the play and pushed them back five yards. Stephen Gostkowski hit the short field goal, and the Patriots lead 10-0.
End first quarter, Patriots 7-0: The first quarter went by quickly, and the Patriots haven’t been successful getting into the end zone from the 2-yard line on three attempts.
They have the ball on the 1-yard line on fourth down now, and it looks like the Patriots will go for the touchdown.
LaFell and Shane Vereen helped the Patriots get into the red zone. LaFell has four catches for 45 yards, and Vereen has 19 yards on four touches in the game.
First quarter, 7:02, Patriots 7-0: The Bears only picked up one first down on their second offensive drive.
Browner made a nice pass breakup on third down, covering big tight end Martellus Bennett.
Amendola was back returning punts again. He let O’Donnell’s shank go and the Patriots have the ball on their own 27-yard line.
First quarter, 9:41, Patriots 7-0: The Bears might want to wake up. The Patriots just drove down the field without much resistance from Chicago.
Brandon LaFell opened the drive with a 19-yard catch from Brady. First-year running back Jonas Gray ran the ball three times for 30 yards, showing some toughness and burst on a 19-yard carry.
Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski on a 6-yard touchdown to take the early lead.
First quarter, 12:03: The Patriots’ defense came out looking solid early. They held Matt Forte to 12 yards on four carries, and Jay Cutler threw two incomplete passes.
Cutler targeted wideout Brandon Marshall deep down the sideline, but Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner covered him perfectly, forcing him to the sideline.
Danny Amendola returned Pat O’Donnell’s punt, which is a change of pace for the Patriots. Julian Edelman usually returns punts.
First quarter, 15:00: The Patriots won the toss and chose to defer. They’ll kickoff to start the game.
12:57 p.m.: We’re getting ready to game time here. I’m not sure if this will have an effect on the team, but I haven’t seen as much pregame emotion out of the Patriots as in past home games.
Quarteback Tom Brady and receiver Julian Edelman weren’t quite as fiery as usual.
12:38 p.m.: It looks like Dominique Easley is in line for this second career start.
The Patriots’ starting defensive line was Rob Ninkovich and Easley at defensive end and Vince Wilfork and Chris Jones at defensive tackle. Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Deontae Skinner were the team’s starting linebackers. Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis were at cornerback, and Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty lined up at safety.
The starting offensive line was Solder, Connolly, Stork, Wendell and Vollmer, as expected.
12:19 p.m.: Danny Amendola added some energy to Patriots kick returns last week, but he wasn’t catching kicks during pregame warmups. Amendola and Julian Edelman handled punt return duties while safety Patrick Chung, running back James White and wideout Matthew Slater caught kicks.
It’s still possible Amendola returns kicks today.
12:09 p.m.: The Patriots’ offensive line should be pretty easy to predict today, with Nate Solder at left tackle, Dan Connolly at left guard, Bryan Stork at center, Ryan Wendell at right guard and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle, so I’ll be concentrating on how the defensive line combinations looks during pregame warmups.
I predict the Patriots’ starting front seven will be some combination of Rob Ninkovich, Dominique Easley, Vince Wilfork, Chris Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and possibly Deontae Skinner, though Akeem Ayers also is a possibility.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Ayers limited to third-down pass-rushing snaps. Rookie defensive end Zach Moore is likely to see some snaps against his childhood favorite team.
11:40 a.m.: The Patriots’ inactives have been released, and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard is the biggest surprise on the seven-man list.
Either Dennard reaggravated his shoulder injury, or he’s a healthy scratch against the Bears. That means we’ll see a lot of Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan on the field with Darrelle Revis.
Offensive linemen Jordan Devey, Chris Barker and Cameron Fleming, defensive end Chandler Jones, safety Nate Ebner and wide receiver Aaron Dobson round out the inactives for the Patriots.
That means linebacker Akeem Ayers will make his Patriots debut after being acquired from the Tennessee Titans in a trade Wednesday. Rookie running back James White will play in just his second game and offensive linemen Bryan Stork and Dan Connolly return from concussions. Both players are likely to start alongside Nate Solder, Ryan Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer.
10:45 a.m. ET: The battle between Vereen brothers reportedly will go down as planned on Sunday regardless of an illness that kept New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen out of practice Friday.
Vereen will play this afternoon, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported in the morning. Vereen should see a lot of action, as he did last week, with starting running back Stevan Ridley out for the season with a knee injury.
Vereen’s brother, Brock, plays safety for the Chicago Bears, and he could start for the second straight week at free safety. Shane has a tendency to split out at wide receiver, and Brock has played cornerback this season, so we could see a 1-on-1 matchup between the siblings.
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