Since losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots and Tom Brady have been close to perfect with a revived, potent and destructive offense. For the Chicago Bears, things haven’t been going so well, as their defense seems to be unable to stop anything, while Jay Cutler is certainly not the quarterback to help them out of this mess.
Brady led the Patriots to a humiliating 51-23 win over the Bears with an almost perfect game from him, as he completed 30-of-35 passes for 354 yards and five touchdown passes, posting a 148.4 passer rating. Just like in that Chiefs game, he was taken off at one point, but this time it was because there was no need for him to be on the field anymore, giving Jimmy Garoppolo a chance to complete some passes.
The Patriots have now won four consecutive games since that loss that looked like the end of the world, three of those wins coming at home. They did have some trouble beating the New York Jets (27-25), but otherwise they’ve been more than slightly dominant while beating the Bengals, Bills and now the Bears, who have sunk to 3-5, losing for a fourth time in five games.
The protection around Brady was perfect, and that seems to be the entire difference between a good and bad Patriots team. When Brady has time to throw, it takes a much better defense than the one the Bears have to disrupt him. He wasn’t sacked once, and was able to complete his short and long passes without a lot of trouble, finding Rob Gronkowski for touchdowns three times. Brandon LaFell and Tim Wright also caught touchdown passes from him.
The Bears turned the ball over twice – once an intercepted throw by Cutler to the hands of Darrelle Revis and another time with 55 seconds left in the first half, as Jay Cutler, who once again couldn’t handle the pressure coming at him very well, fumbled the ball and Rob Ninkovich returned it 15 yards for the touchdown. Eventually the Bears did almost post 400 yards, scoring three touchdowns, but that was garbage time yardage, and really didn’t matter much with a defense that allowed the Patriots to score on all but one of their drives, excluding the kneeling at the end of the game.
The Bears? They scored on only three of their 11 drives. Jay Cutler did throw three touchdown passes, but looked shaken up and edgy every time he saw the pocket collapsing or was unable to find open receivers. Even with another good performance from the running game (Matt Forte with 114 yards), it’s simply looking like a mess most of the time for the Bears, who are going in a very different direction, especially defensively, compared to their expectations when the Marc Trestman era began.
The Patriots have weaknesses. A good pass rush can make it difficult for them. Teams with a dual-threat offense won’t be easy to handle for them. But with Tom Brady playing like the best quarterback in the NFL or something along those lines since the KC game (100-of-144, 1268 yards, 14 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions), it’s once again hard to believe that this same team looked hopeless, lost and so easy to criticize only one month ago.