By: Denny Hackett
Despite some inconsistencies on defense, the Patriots were able to survive another shootout against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
For the Patriots defense it was a tale of two halves. In the first half and the first Bears’ drive of the second half, the Patriots defense looked terrible. Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was running all over the Patriots defense, including a 39-yard rush to set up an early third quarter touchdown. Undrafted rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson looked awful and had several penalties called on him throughout the first half but he was able to redeem himself in the third quarter with an interception of Trubisky. In the end, the Patriots’ defense finished the game with two interceptions.
Despite some hiccups, including two fumbles, the Patriots’ special teams unit had a solid outing on Sunday against the bears. In the second quarter, Patriots’ return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson was able to take a Bears’ kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Then in the third quarter, Patriots’ linebacker Dont’a Hightower was able to block a punt that was recovered by linebacker Kyle Van Noy and returned for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 31-24 lead.
Despite losing Sony Michel to a knee injury in the second quarter and Rob Gronkowski not making the trip to Chicago, the Patriots’ offense was excellent against the Bears. Brady had an excellent day and finished with 277 yards and three touchdowns. Julian Edelman was also able to find the endzone for the first time in almost two years. The offensive line was excellent all game and kept Brady safe for most of the game. The Bears were only able to get to Brady once for a sack all day.
Josh Gordon once again showed that he is building a strong rapport with Tom Brady and the offense. Every week Gordon makes a big play that keeps a drive going for the Patriots. Against the Bears he was able to go up and beat a defender on fourth down to keep a second quarter scoring drive alive. In the fourth quarter he caught a 55-yard pass from Brady to set the offense up for James White’s second touchdown of the game. On the day Gordon was able to finish the day with his first 100 yard game as a Patriot.
It is concerning to see the Patriots have to score almost 40 points a game in order to get the win. Going forward it is going to be nearly impossible to sustain those types of numbers on a week to week basis. They need to figure out a way to get their defense to start playing complete games, in the past two weeks the defense has been excellent in one half and horrendous in the other and they cannot expect to continue to win if their defense is allowing over 30 points a game.
The Patriots have some extra time to work on the defense before they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills next Monday.