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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Patriots Turn Back the Clocks With a Good Old Fashioned Ass Kicking of the Bears, 51-23

It's safe to say that nobody saw Sunday's result (a 51-23 beating handed out by the Patriots to the Bears) at Gillette Stadium coming. New England (6-2 overall, 4-0 home) was last seen in a very sketchy 27-25 win over the Jets on Thursday Night Football. Plus, Chandler Jones is out for maybe the entire season so that temporarily cast a dark cloud over the team. Chicago (3-5 overall, 3-2 away) had lost to Miami 27-14 last Sunday so they desperately needed a win to turn their season around.

You'll never find me falling into the same trap that too many people do by getting wrapped up in a single win or loss. Yes the Pats looked incredible and the Bears appear headed nowhere fast but that doesn't mean anything once they snap the ball next weekend against different teams. That's what makes the NFL so great: each week and game counts so if you lose focus for a second, you'll fall off the map.

Tom Brady (30 of 35 for 354 yards, 5 TDs) was flawless, finding Rob Gronkowski (9 catches, 149 yards) for three touchdowns. Brandon LaFell is really coming along as a weapon, he set a career-high for catches (11) and receiving yards (124), he also added a touchdown. Finally, Tim Wright (7 catches, 61 yards) caught the other touchdown and New England's defense produced a score as Rob Ninkovich scooped up a fumble by Jay Cutler (20 of 30 for 227 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) and returned it 15 yards to the end zone.

This was like a high school game between a top team and a bad team since the Patriots were up 7-0 after the first quarter before they exploded for 31 points in the second quarter (including three TDs in 57 seconds). The Bears had no idea what hit them and that made the second half nothing more than a preseason game in October. Stephen Gostkowski hit three field goals in the contest and Jimmy Garoppolo even got to take a few snaps at the end.

Gronk's most impressive touchdown was a 46-yard catch and run that was vintage Gronk. He broke a few tackles then outran some Bears defensive players that wanted no part of him. With his wide variety of injuries suffered the last couple seasons, I'm hesitant to play doctor and say "he's fully recovered" but he sure looks like a different guy than the tentative one that we saw earlier in the season.

Darrelle Revis shadowed Brandon Marshall (3 catches, 35 yards) into obscurity and added an interception at the end of the first half when Cutler threw an ill-fated hail mary. Another interesting aspect of the victory for New England was the emergence of Jonas Gray (17 carries, 86 yards) who looks like he could be Stevan Ridley Jr. while he's out for the season. In other words, he's the running back that can get those tough yards between the tackles that nobody else can (with Ridley out).

It'll be funny, at least for a few days, to hear everyone locally (and nationally) jump back on the Patriots' bandwagon. Let's not forget that Chicago is much more of a mess than we expected and it turns out that New England is in much better shape than we could have imagined. There is no doubt that the next team coming to Gillette-Denver (6-1 overall, 1st in AFC West)-on Sunday (4:25, CBS) will present a formidable challenge. The Broncos are the best team in the AFC, again, so the Patriots need to proof that they can beat them. Odds are, this outcome could decide home field in January. Let the Pats-Broncos hype begin!

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