Final

Patriots 36

(11-2, 5-2 away)

Bears 7

(9-4, 4-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, December 12, 2010

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 7 26 3 036
CHI 0 0 7 07

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 369 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: B. Green-Ellis (NE) - 21 CAR, 87 YDS

Receiving: D. Branch (NE) - 8 REC, 151 YDS, 1 TD

Tom Brady, Patriots bury Bears on snow-drenched field

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Bad weather didn't bother Tom Brady. The big, bad Bears didn't, either.

He was cool as ever on a snowy, blustery, bone-chilling day, unfazed by the elements and not quite ready to pop the champagne after the New England Patriots locked up another playoff spot.

They're in it for the eighth time in 10 years after a 36-7 dismantling of the Chicago Bears on Sunday in which Brady threw for 369 yards and two touchdowns despite the harsh conditions.

"There's a long way to go," he said. "I don't think anything's really been accomplished yet. We're working hard. I don't think we've got every problem solved. There are plenty of defenses that have kicked us around this year. We don't sit in here and think we've got it all figured out."

So he wasn't ready to celebrate. Nor was coach Bill Belichick.

"Good, we got to keep playing," he said. "I'm pretty sure when the end of the season comes, someone will tell us what we need to do."

The win was the fifth straight for the Patriots (11-2), and this one was no less impressive than their 45-3 rout of the New York Jets on Monday night.

They wasted little time blowing it open, grabbing a 33-0 halftime lead and sending Belichick to his 174th career win. That put him in a tie for 10th place with Mike Holmgren.

Brady picked apart the league's third-ranked defense, completing 27 of 40 passes with no interceptions for the eighth straight game. And the Patriots increased their lead in the AFC East to two over the Jets.

"It was a chess match, and he said check mate," Bears safety Chris Harris said.

Deion Branch caught eight passes for a career-high 151 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown at the end of the first half. Wes Welker had eight receptions for 115 yards and the Patriots totaled 475 yards while holding NFC North leader Chicago to 185.

The Bears (9-4) had won five straight since their bye, saving their season when it appeared to be slipping away. But they were no match for the team that came in tied for the league's best record.

Chicago is still a game ahead of Green Bay in the division, but came out flat with a chance to widen its lead and join the league's elite.

"It happens from time to time, especially against a good football team, but then you go back and this game counts as one loss, no more than that," coach Lovie Smith said. "We went into this game against the Patriots in first place in our division and we still are. We just have to take care of business from here on out."

Jay Cutler struggled, going 12 of 26 for 152 yards with two interceptions and two sacks. He had a 32.9 rating, and the running game was a non-factor.

The game-time temperature was 26 degrees, and with snow and a 30-mph wind swirling through the stadium, visibility wasn't great. The field was blanketed in white and the boundaries, goal lines and yard markers were tough to see. Logos were all but invisible, too.

That didn't stop Brady from throwing for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Patriots put up 33 points, the second most allowed by the Bears in an opening half.

"Whatever the elements are, we've got to be mentally tough to play in them," he said. "Both teams are playing in them. Coach always stresses that the opponent that we're playing is the Chicago Bears -- not the weather, not the refs, not the crowd."

Brady led an 85-yard TD drive in the first quarter, finishing it with a 7-yard strike through the flakes to Rob Gronkowski to put New England ahead 7-0 with about five minutes left.

The game quickly got out of hand in the second, with the Patriots scoring 26 points.

The half ended with the sideline calling for a knee and Brady ignoring the order before hitting Branch with that 59-yarder as time expired.

"There was a lot of yelling and screaming," Branch said. "I do know that I heard one of the coaches saying they wanted to take a knee, but I think Tom's eyes got a little big. He looked over at me like, 'No, take this shot.'"

Game notes


Devin McCourty sat out the second half with a rib injury, and Belichick said he wasn't sure how serious it was. Defensive lineman Ron Brace also suffered a head injury. ... The Patriots scored 45 points in the first half against Tennessee last season in a 59-0 romp. ... They were without LB Brandon Spikes after he was suspended four games without pay for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. ... The 475 yards were the most allowed by the Bears this season. ... Chicago's Nick Roach started at strong side linebacker for the Bears in place of the injured Pisa Tinoisamoa (right knee). ... Belichick and Brady now have 108 wins together, second most for a coach-quarterback tandem. The Dolphins' Don Shula and Dan Marino had 116. ... Brady tied Don Meredith for the most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Meredith also had six in 1965-66.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NE
CHI
1st Downs2712
Passing 1st downs
168
Rushing 1st downs
113
1st downs from Penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
12-193-8
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays7842
Total Yards475185
Yards per play6.14.4
Total Drives1210
Passing351138
Comp - Att
27-4012-26
Yards per pass
8.85.3
Interceptions thrown
02
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-182-14
Rushing12447
Rushing Attempts
3514
Yards per rush
3.53.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-51-2
Penalties4-434-30
Turnovers04
Fumbles lost
02
Interceptions thrown
02
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession39:4120:19

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady27/403699.2203-18
CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler12/261525.8022-14

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Green-E...21874.1017
Woodhead7213.015
CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Forte9252.809
Cutler22110.5014

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Branch815118.915910
Welker811514.402413
CHIRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Bennett35317.70337
Forte23618.00306

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNECHI
neTD05:47Rob Gronkowski 7 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Shayne Graham Kick) 70
SECOND QUARTERNECHI
neTD10:16Danny Woodhead 3 Yd Run (Shayne Graham Kick) 140
neTD09:56Gary Guyton 35 Yd Fumble Return (Shayne Graham Kick) 210
neFG04:36Shayne Graham 30 Yd 240
neFG03:20Shayne Graham 25 Yd 270
neTD00:00Deion Branch 59 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Pat Failed) 330
THIRD QUARTERNECHI
neFG10:56Shayne Graham 29 Yd 360
chiTD08:43Chester Taylor 1 Yd Run (Robbie Gould Kick) 367

Research Notes

Sunday marked the 108th regular-season win for the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick combo. That broke a tie with Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll for the 2nd-most regular-season wins by a QB-head coach combo in NFL history. Only Dan Marino and Don Shula won more games.
  [+]
With the win on Sunday, the Patriots improve to 35-5 in the month of December since 2001. That is by far the best record in the NFL during that stretch. The Eagles are next at 32-10 while the Steelers have posted a 31-12 mark.
  [+]
Over the last 8 games, Tom Brady is putting up MVP numbers. In leading New England to a 7-1 record, Brady has thrown 19 touchdowns against 0 interceptions. He has completed over 66 percent of his passes while maintaining a passer rating of 117.2.
  [+]
NEXT-LEVEL: Since 2009, Tom Brady had struggled throwing the ball downfield in games in which the temperature was 30 degrees or colder. In 3 such games entering Sunday, Brady completed just 18.8 pct of his passes and averaged only 4.4 yds per attempt. On Sunday, Brady was 5-6 on passes of 15 or more yards and averaged more than 23.3 yds per attempt.
  [+]
Tom Brady has posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating on throws at least 15 yards downfield in four of his last five games, including Sunday against the Bears. Brady was 5-for-6 for 140 yards and a touchdown in the snow against Chicago on throws at least 15 yards downfield. Over the last two seasons, in games with a kickoff temperature of 30 degrees or lower, Brady had hit just 3-of-16 passes of at least 15 yards downfield.
From Elias: The Bears were down 33-0 at halftime vs the Patriots. The 33-point halftime deficit is the WORST first half deficit in Bears history. The 33 points allowed by the Bears in the first half is tied for the 3rd-most in the first half in franchise history.
In their last three games with snow at kickoff, the Patriots have outscored opponents 109-0 in the first half (33-0 against the Bears, 45-0 against the Titans in 2009, 31-0 against the Cardinals in 2008).
  [+]

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