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Matchup Winners: Brady carves up listless Bears

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WHEN THE PATRIOTS RAN


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The numbers here weren't great – and when the Patriots truly needed a yard on the ground they were unable to pick it up on more than one occasion – but considering the situation Jonas Gray's effort was enough to earn the edge. The first-year back out of Notre Dame saw his first extended action of the season and opened with a bang, picking up 19 yards on his first carry of the game. He followed that with runs of 8, 6 and 5 yards among his next five carries, and that production set up some play-action daggers from Tom Brady. Gray eventually slowed down but finished with a solid line of 17 carries for 86 yards (5.1-yard average). As a team New England managed 122 yards on the ground on 32 attempts (3.8-yard average), numbers that were hurt by several failed goal-line attempts late in the first quarter and into the second. Otherwise this was a solid day without starter Stevan Ridley.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

WHEN THE BEARS RAN


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Just by the sheer numbers we're forced to give Matt Forte the edge here but make no mistake: these numbers were the very epitome of irrelevant. Forte picked up 114 yards on 19 carries and averaged 6 yards per rush while the Bears finished with 153 yards on 26 attempts (5.9-yard average). But the problem for Chicago was the final minute of the first half when the Patriots scored three touchdowns and eliminated the run from having any impact for Chicago. The Bears get the edge because Forte was effective even before the game got out of hand, rushing for 59 yards on 10 first-half carries and moving the chains twice on short-yardage runs. But the bulk of this production came with the Patriots firmly in control and Forte – despite the solid outing – was a non-factor because of the incredible offensive production for New England. EDGE: BEARS

WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASSED


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This was as dominant as Brady has been in quite some time. He first took advantage of injured rookie Kyle Fuller trying to cover Brandon LaFell. It was no contest as LaFell caught four passes in the first quarter and tortured Fuller until the rookie left nursing the hip pointer he took into the game. LaFell eventually caught 11 passes (on 11 targets) for 124 yards and a touchdown. Brady then turned his attention to safety Ryan Mundy, who for some unknown reason was asked to cover Rob Gronkowski by himself. That predictable outcome resulted in the tight end catching all nine passes thrown his way for 149 yards and three touchdowns, including a 46-yarder early in the third quarter that ended his day. Brady eventually completed 30 of 35 throws, many into tight windows, for 354 yards and five touchdowns for a 148.4 passer rating. Tim Wright got into the act in the second half and grabbed seven passes for another 61 yards. The lone blip on the radar was a pair of drops by Julian Edelman (1 catch, 14 yards). Otherwise this was another clinic by Brady.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

WHEN THE BEARS PASSED


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Jay Cutler wasn't the problem for Chicago on this day but he did little to serve as the solution either. His penchant for being sloppy with the football manifested itself on a pair of late first-half turnovers but neither had a huge impact on what was already a rout. He failed to get the ball to his stud wideouts, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, with any regularity. He completed 20 of 30 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns (108.6 passer rating) but much of that damage came after the outcome had been decided. He also tossed a pair of two-point conversions and had a nice day working with tight end Martellus Bennett (six catches, 95 yards), who locked up with Brandon Browner on a few occasions. Marshall was the outspoken leader in the locker room heading into the game but did nothing against Darrelle Revis and the rest of the secondary, catching just three of the 10 balls thrown to him for 35 yards. Cutler was also sacked three times, coughing one up for a Rob Ninkovich touchdown.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

SPECIAL TEAMS


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From the first series it was clear the Patriots made good use of their 10 days off. Special teams coach Scott O'Brien unveiled a wrinkle on the Bears first punt, moving the vise blocker on the right side in tight to the formation and went after Patrick O'Donnell's kick. The Patriots applied good pressure and O'Donnell shanked a 37-yarder to set up good field position at the 45. That was likely on O'Donnell's mind on his next kick, which was shanked for another 37 yards. Meanwhile the Patriots kickoff coverage was outstanding, limiting Chris Williams to 18.8 yards on his five attempts. The highlight was a huge Don Jones hit in the second half. Edelman returned only one punt as Danny Amendola stepped in on the first two attempts, but the wideout made the most of it by ripping off a 42-yarder down to the 9 to set up another touchdown. Once again, dominance.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

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