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Patriots Bear-ly lose - again 24-17

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            **Chicago –** Like most of the season, coming up short was the name of this game as the New England Patriots dropped their 10th game of the season against four wins, 24-17, to the Chicago Bears.  

Trailing by seven with 1:05 left in the game, the Patriots had a chance to tie with one timeout remaining and 62 yards to go. Drew Bledsoe had to that point a decent day (he finished 25 for 46, 225 yards and two touchdowns) while New England's running attack (38 yards) was basically non-existent.

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            On first down, Bledsoe found Kevin Faulk, throwing over two onrushing defenders, and Faulk gained 10 yards. As Bledsoe was being dragged down on the next play, he hooked up with Curtis Jackson for 12 yards. After an intentional spike to stop the clock and with :38 left, Jackson was again the recipient of a pass for 9 yards.  

The next play was a killer. A completion to Troy Brown brought the ball down to around the 20 but a flag was thrown; Jackson was in motion at the time of the snap. By this time there was only :10 left in the game. Since Chicago accepted the penalty negating the play, by rule :10 was to be run off the clock. Game over and on that kind of anti-climactic note, the Patriots dropped their tenth game of the season to the now 4-10 Bears.

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            It looked like the Patriots had the game's first turnover on Chicago's first drive when James Allen was stripped. New England claimed he was on top of a pile of players and the refs at first agreed. But a challenge on the part of the Bears proved Allen was down and Chicago retained possession.  

That turn led to the game's first score, a 24-yard field goal by Paul Edinger.

The Patriots bounced back after stopping the Bears in its second possession. Working from the no-huddle and primarily to his top two receivers, Glenn and Brown, Bledsoe marched the offense from its own 17.

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            The scoring pass went to Glenn from 12 yards out on a ball No. 88 made a nice adjustment for.  

New England came a hair away from adding another touchdown to their lead in the second quarter when newly-acquired tight end Jermaine Wiggins pulled down a pass in the end zone. Although it appeared he had possession and then lost the ball on the ground, the ref ruled the play incomplete. The Patriots challenged the play but no overrule was granted and Adam Vinatieri booted a 40-yard field goal after Bledsoe was sacked for a loss of 7 on third and 10 from the 15. That drive began after Chicago's Allen fumbled around his own 34 when Chad Eaton forced and Ted Johnson recovered the ball.

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            Down by 7, the Bears took over with around five minutes left in the first half. Quarterback Shane Matthews marched his team downfield passing for 6-6 for 63 yards and hitting Eddie Kennison, Marty Booker and Kaseem Sinceno along the way. On second and goal from the 9, Matthews found Kennison in a crease between Lawyer Milloy and Antonio Langham around the 2-yard line. Kennison dove forward for the score and with the point-after, the game was tied at 10 with 30 minutes remaining.  

The second half opened with Chicago starting from their own 36 and making it look easy. Matthews used two players, Allen on the ground and Kennison through the air and in seven plays had seven points. From 16 yards out, Allen went around left end untouched for the score.

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            New England's offense could not get into any kind of rhythm and the Bears took advantage, adding seven to their lead on a Matthews to Allen 6-yard touchdown pass. Allen either caught or ran the ball eight times during the drive. Matthews was having a game of his own. At that point he was 20 of 22 passing with two touchdowns. He also broke the Chicago record for consecutive completions with 15 before missing one in the next drive.  

New England began to make things interesting when, with 10:53 left to play, Bledsoe found Troy Brown in the end zone. The 13-play drive was all pass minus one 4-yard Raymont Harris run.

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            The scoring play came on fourth and 7 after the Patriots tried and failed three times from the same spot to punch it in. On second down, Glenn was knocked out of the game on a hard hit to the neck area. He did return.  

With the loss, the Patriots record stands at 4-10. They travel to Buffalo next Sunday to take on the Bills.

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