Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports that the Pats 17-13 victory over the Bears yesterday was "not exactly the way you draw them up," according to coach Belichick. There were tremendous highs, then sudden lows, and plays that simply don't take place in many football games. Reiss details some of the unusual occurrences in the game.
The Boston Herald's John Tomase reports on the game. "Bill (Belichick) said all week, Thanksgiving has come and gone," said fullback Heath Evans. "Good teams step up and play good football now. We didn't play all that well, but we made just enough plays and forced our will just enough to get out of here with a win." Tomase explains that the game was one the Pats will be able to hang their hats on come January.
Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal explains that the Pats aren't calling this win a "statement game." "Oh man, I am not saying anything about the 'S' word," said cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Hobbs wasn't the only one. Manza Young explains that the game didn't go exactly according to plan, but the Pats pulled out a win, anyway.
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant explains that the Patriots made a much-needed stand at home yesterday. The Patriots, invincible at Gillette on the way to winning Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005, had done a lousy job of defending their home field entering this game. Greenberg says that the Patriots re-established themselves as a top-tier team in the AFC by beating the NFC's best team, the Bears.
Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe reports on cornerback Asante Samuel, who had a career-high three interceptions against the Bears. "[Grossman] kept coming at me, trying me, and I made the plays," said Samuel, whose six picks on the season are the most since Ty Law and Tyrone Poole both had a half-dozen in the 2003 season.
The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald calls Samuel the Player of the Game for his outstanding defensive effort. "They like to go deep," Samuel said of Sunday's opponent, the Chicago Bears, "and it was something we were expecting."
The Boston Globe's Jackie MacMullan reports on a scrambled pass play by Tom Brady. Brady stared down all-everything linebacker Brian Urlacher, gave the defender a fake and slipped by him for an 11 yard first down. MacMullan argues that it was a play indicative of the quarterback's ability. Brady and the offense scored a game-clinching touchdown on the drive.
The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley also reports on the scramble play by Brady, but wonders just how good rookie running back Laurence Maroney will be someday. Maroney didn't have the most impressive game on the ground, carrying the ball 13 times for 33 yards. However, he also caught four passes for 45 yards. "Each week, we see bits and pieces of his talent, along with the results of his inexperience," explains Buckley.
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News reports that Urlacher wants another shot - not just at Brady, but at the Patriots. "I would love one," Urlacher said. "That would mean we're in the Super Bowl. It's tough to get into the Super Bowl, I know they have a tough road ahead but so do we. We'd love to play them again, neutral site." Urlacher knows that his missed open field tackle against Brady could've meant the game, but that was far from the only mistake the Bears made. "We learned we can't make mistakes at critical times - that's what it comes down to," Urlacher said. "We played hard, you can't fault our effort. We made plays, we got the ball back there at the end, we had big takeaways, we had five against a pretty good offense. We gotta turn those into points somehow, maybe score or do something on defense."
Ron Borges of The Boston Globe argues that the Patriots win over the Bears was what football is all about. "If one didn't see it and reads there were nine turnovers, their conclusion would be that the game was sloppy. Well, it wasn't sloppy. It was bone-jarring. It was mind-numbing. It was teeth-rattling, turnover-forcing football," says Borges. The writer argues that the Pats-Bears game was all about defensive execution.
Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports on the potential loss of linebacker Junior Seau, who "appeared to break his right arm" after making a second-quarter tackle on the Bears Cedric Benson. Also included is a story on running back Kevin Faulk, who broke the Patriots franchise record for most catches by a running back yesterday.
The Boston Herald's John Tomase also speculates about the injury, saying that "Word on the sideline was Seau suffered a broken arm in the Patriots' 17-13 victory. His season - and probably his career - appear to be over." Bruschi explained that the air cast Seau left the field wearing is usually an indicator that the injury's severe. "I had a great time playing with him," said Bruschi. "When you see an injury like that, he's going to be missed. I thought he played great for us this year, in the locker room, as a teammate. He's going to be missed."
Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that kicker Stephen Gostkowski lined up to make a 52-yard field goal attempt, but it went wide right. Luckily, Bears coach Lovie Smith called a timeout at the last second, so Gostkowski had another chance. He sealed the second one, booming the longest field goal of his young career.
Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal reports on the play of defensive end Richard Seymour, explaining that the last few weeks have been a bit interesting for Seymour. He's been playing with an elbow injury, his playing time was cut against the Jets and he was even fined by the NFL for stepping on a Colts lineman's head. But his performance yesterday was a reminder of what makes him great.
Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe reports that the Patriots won this game in the trenches, with Seymour grabbing a fumble, blocking a field goal, and getting the only sack in the game. Fellow defensive linemen Vince Wlfork and Ty Warren combined for 15 tackles in the game. "In the second half, this game was basically line up and smashmouth," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said after the game. "They came out running the ball three times consecutively on the first drive of the second half. That kind of tells you what they were saying in their locker room: 'We're going to line up and we're going to run it down their throats and we're going to get yards, guys. This is what we're going to do.'They stuck to their game plan, but our defensive line, I think that's the strength of our team. We welcome that challenge whenever a team wants to do that."
Bob Duffy of The Boston Globe reports that last night's game exposed the Bears offense, showing they're "as maddeningly unreliable as the car you figured wouldn't need antifreeze on that sunny day just before the year's first snowfall." The Bears defense was ravenous for the ball, but their offense just couldn't hang on to it.
The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald offers analysis on each team's offensive and defensive play in the Bears-Pats game. The Pats were the first team to put together 300 yards of offense against the Bears this season.
Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle wasn't convinced by the Pats win. "Sunday's 17-13 victory over the 9-2 Chicago Bears still fails to establish whether the 8-3 Patriots are true contenders or just pretenders. Ditto for the Bears, who may have been exposed Sunday as just the best of a bad lot in the NFC," says Farinella.
Don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant on the Patriots for a look back at what was on the line in this game. It hasn't been updated in three days.