FOXBOROUGH, Mass. With a pair quick touchdowns in the second quarter, the New England Patriots made it look like they were going make life difficult for the Chicago Bears.
Justin Fields, the Bears’ quarterback, led Chicago to a victory of 33-14.
The Patriots and Bears both enter Week 8 with identical records of 3-4.
The Bears excel at weather games. They beat the San Francisco 49ers in a torrential downpour to open the season. Monday’s win over the Patriots was a 33-14 victory. The heavy fog and slick turf at Gillette Stadium did not affect their win.
The Bears ended a three-game losing streak that had been going for 10 days. Chicago coaches promised personnel changes during the mini-bye week. They also promised to make adjustments to their scheme. Justin Fields’ rushing ability was a key factor in the offense’s energy, but not in the usual way. The Bears’ second-year quarterback was a fan of designed runs, not scrambles. Chicago’s 33 points in Week 7 was the most scored game in which Fields started.
Ryan Poles, general manager of the Bears, held an emergency news conference just hours before kickoff to discuss the current state of the Bears as they approach the halfway point of the season. His message? Although this team is young, the Bears must learn to win games. They have been close in six of their first six games. Chicago’s victory on Monday Night Football is a positive step towards a motivated and well-coached team.
QB breakdown: Chicago had a simple game plan: Fields must be moving. Fields finished the first half with 12 rushes and 55 rushing yards on designed runs. This included a 3-yard touchdown. The Bears were able to use their quarterback’s greatest asset, his legs, and score five consecutive drives for Chicago. This streak is the longest in the Bears’ history. Fields had a record-breaking 82 yards of rushing and was 13-of-21 for an impressive 179 yards. He also scored a touchdown and an intercept. Fields looked the most relaxed he has ever been all season. He was patient and waited for the plays to develop. And he went through his progressions in a way he had not seen before this season. The 23-year old quarterback can take Monday’s victory as a learning experience.
An eye-popping stat: Fields is the only player in the past 30 seasons with more than 100 yards passing and 70 rushing yards, along with at least one passing or rushing touchdown in an opener half. According to ESPN Stats & Information research. Russell Wilson was the last player to achieve this feat in 2014.
Promising trend: After their loss to Washington in Week 6, the Bears made some changes in personnel and in their scheme. Chicago’s offense was set by a series of streamlined runs, RPOs and quick throws. The Bears were just short of the highest number of third-down conversions allowed in a Bill Belichick defense with 11-17. Fields was able to avoid pressure by using moving pockets, something he wasn’t able do before. Equanimeous Brown, wide receiver, led the team with seven targets. He also clocked four receptions for 48 yard. Dante Pettis took over as Velus Jones Jr.’s punt returner and the result was a 27-yard return. This is Chicago’s longest punt return of the season.
Sell or buy based on a breakout performance. The Bears were criticised for choosing to take defensive backs with their top 2 draft picks rather than addressing the needs at wide receiver, a move Poles defended Monday. In Chicago’s first win at Foxborough, both their top rookies — safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon — were successful with interceptions. For many years, the Bears’ secondary will be in good hands.
Next game: at Cowboys (1:00 pm. ET, Sunday)
New England Patriots
Are the New England Patriots facing a quarterback controversy? Mac Jones’s return from a high left ankle injury didn’t go according to plan. Newcomer Bailey Zappe gave the offense an extra spark in the second quarter, before the offense lost its momentum in the second half.
ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters was told by Coach Bill Belichick that it was the plan to play both quarterbacks when entering the game. Jones was able to play the first three series and threw his sixth interception of season to stop Jones’ third drive. The pass was suspended in the air, and the home crowd started chanting “Zappe!” Zappe! Zappe!”
Jones was 3-of-6 for 13 yards with the pick. Zappe was 14 of-22 for 185 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
The biggest hole in the game plan is accounting for Justin Fields, quarterback and runner. The defense, which had been strong in wins over the Lions or Browns, was suddenly vulnerable and struggled to move off blocks throughout. After being granted extra time, Fields ran 10 times for 74 yards, and scored a touchdown. This was the Patriots’ most allowed rushing yards in a half since 2000 (present). In the first half, nine designed runs were called by Fields by the Bears.
It’s an under-the-radar stat that really matters: The Patriots defense couldn’t move off the field on third-down, allowing 11 conversions, while the Bears took a 33-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
Two words can describe the game: Blonked out. The Patriots’ home stadium was invaded by the Bears, who dominated them with surprising ease.
Troubling trend: Trent Brown, left tackle, was penalized for three offenses within the first two drives. He was also called for holding twice and false start. Isaiah Wynn was the starting right tackle. He had eight penalties for the season before he went.
Next game: at Jets (1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday)