For the first four minutes of the game, New England looked like they had this win in the bag. Nonstop first downs and increasing energy led to a walk-in touchdown by Edelman. Then the Bears took the field. Everything went sideways and the Patriots struggled on all ends of the field. Luckily, the team was able to scrape enough points to slide by with a 38-31 win.
Kyle Van Noy
Kyle Van Noy finished the game with 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 touchdown. When Chicago began to gain momentum, Van Noy did an impressive job stopping it. He could be seen predicting running backs’ routes and greeting them before they could gain a yard. His most impressive play of the game came on a punt by the Bears. The punt was blocked by Dont’a Hightower and picked up by Van Noy, who ran it in for a New England touchdown. With this touchdown they re-took the lead with a new score of 31-24. Van Noy held the defense together and pressured Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky to the point where he could barely get a pass off.
Fun fact: Dont’a Hightower is the first player to block a punt in 22 years for the Patriots.
Another player who contributed greatly to New England’s win was Jonathan Jones. Jones finished the game with 2 tackles, 1 quarterback hit, 1 interception, and 1 pass break. The cornerback hustled from start to finish, and never gave up. On Chicago’s first drive, Jones missed a potential sack on Trubisky, but got right back up and chased him down. Trubisky was forced to throw the ball away, resulting in 3rd and 10 for the Bears offense. Later in the game, Jones had prime positioning for an interception that also took a touchdown away from Chicago. Jones had the best performance out of all the cornerbacks on New England.
Offensively, Josh Gordon put up one of the most aggressive performances seen so far this season. Gordon completed 4 passes for 100 yards, the longest reception being 55 yards. The first pass caught by Gordon was jaw-dropping. The receiver jumped over a foot in the air to catch a pass overthrown by Brady as he was being dragged towards the ground by the Bears cornerback. As Gordon held onto the ball, he hit the ground hard. His head bounced off the grass and his helmet flew off. How could he not have a concussion after a play like that? Regardless, he got up and went on to make more catches similar to that one. Gordon is the receiver that can catch almost anything.
Special Mention: Trent Brown (offensive left tackle) shut down Khalil Mack. The highest paid defensive player in the NFL was utterly useless against Brown.
Note: The same group of names usually ends up on this list. Instead of picking on the same players every game, here are a few new names. The Secondary and Brady still played poorly, though.
After making his mark on the Patriots offense, Sony Michel had his season cut short. He began with his usual outstanding set of runs, gaining 18 and 13 yards on New Englands first two plays of the game. The result of his momentum was an easy touchdown to start the game. When the Patriots took over again on offense, Michel got drilled. Fresh off of a turnover by special teams (Patterson), Michel was crushed on a run and dropped the ball directly into a Chicago player’s hands. The running back got trapped between a Patriot and a Bear, who twisted his leg and resulted in him letting go of the ball. Michel was helped off the field and didn’t return. The specifics of his injury are still being determined from Monday’s MRI results, but initial reports indicate that Michel suffered an MCL sprain in Sunday’s game. His absence left a noticeable hole in New England’s offense and that will continue to show until he returns this season.
Cordarrelle Patterson learned his lesson for the day: hold onto the ball. Patterson set New England off on a downward spiral that would last the entirety of the game. With 3:44 left in the first quarter, Patterson returned a punt where he fumbled and lost the ball. He simply didn’t take care of the football, and it cost the Patriots a touchdown as well as their lead. He did go on to redeem himself with a 95-yard touchdown on a different punt return, though a problem arises with this too. As Patterson neared the end zone, he slowed down in order to gloat and high five his teammate before he even crossed the pylons. His attitude was dangerously cocky, and anything could have gone wrong. Belichick wants Patterson to play the game and score touchdowns; only after he does that can he celebrate.
J.C. Jackson has a problem with penalties. Jackson was responsible for 3 of New England’s total 7 penalties, which gave Chicago 64 free yards. The defensive back played slow and lazy. He was beaten multiple times and resorted to pass-interference and illegal contact in order to catch up. Jackson isn’t confident enough in his own athleticism and that has to change. Penalties are something Belichick will not stand for, so he only has one choice: stop drawing flags.
The Patriots have just a week to improve before their next game. Penalties and holding onto the ball are their primary concerns, as well as minor adjustments in attitude and overall defensive performance. The Bills will show no mercy, and the Patriots have to be prepared.
-Caitlyn Allen is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow her on Twitter @caitlyyyn_allen