There is an old adage in professional football that every successful team must give its maximum effort from the opening kickoff until the final second drains from the clock. Arguably, there is no team that knows this better than the New England Patriots.
Once again, the Patriots achieved victory in wild fashion, on the last play of the game. To their credit, they never let up. However, neither did their opponent, the Chicago Bears.
In a matchup in which the pendulum of momentum swung back and forth numerous times, the Pats hung on to beat the Chicago Bears 38-31 on Sunday.
Despite being without star tight end Rob Gronkowski (who was sidelined with ankle and back injuries) Tom Brady went 25 of 36 for 277 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Julian Edelman and James White were on the receiving end of those touchdowns, with White coming away with two of the three.
Cordarrelle Patterson, who had previously fumbled a kickoff (which led to a Bears touchdown, ) ran a kickoff back 95 yards for his sixth career return touchdown. In keeping with the trend on special teams, Kyle Van Noy became the first New England player in 22 years to return a blocked punt by linebacker Dont’a Hightower for a touchdown.
Josh Gordon caught four passes for 100 yards. In a move that is as athletic as anyone might see on the gridiron, he spun around a tackler on a 55-yard reception early in the fourth that put the ball on the 1-yard line. It would set up a 2-yard reception by James White to make it 38-24 with 8:40 left.
However, the Bears kept their foot on the accelerator for the length of the game and it nearly paid off in the end.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for a career-high 81 yards and a score.
Tight end Trey Burton had nine receptions for a career-high 126 yards, including an 11-yard TD with 4:13 remaining.
And…the Bears had saved the near-best for last.
With time expiring in the fourth quarter, Kevin White got stopped at the 1 on a 54-yard pass from Trubisky. Approximately five Patriots defenders swarmed White after he leaped to haul in that long heave, preventing him from crossing the goal line while preserving the fourth straight win for New England. Safety Duron Harmon was credited with the stop.
With the victory, the Patriots remain in first place in the AFC East and improve to 5-2. The Bears drop to 3-3 on the season.
Tom Brady improved to 5-0 against Chicago. The Bears are one of five teams yet to beat him.
New England beat the Bears for the eighth time in nine games since the 1985 Patriots were steamrolled by Chicago 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.
Khalil Mack was largely held in check by the Patriots offensive line after being listed as questionable because of an ankle injury he suffered last week at Miami.
Rookie running back Sony Michel left in the second quarter with a knee injury.
Michel had to be helped off the field after he got twisted around by Bilal Nichols as he was tackled on the first play of the second quarter. He had lost a fumble on the play. In the previous three games, Michel rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
Information on his condition is expected on Monday.
The Patriots will travel to Orchard Park, NY on Monday, Oct 29 to battle the Buffalo Bills at 8:00pm eastern.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the NFL and the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC