Blown Away: Bears Buried by Patriots 36-7

Brian Urlacher hangs his head in defeat after a 36-7 loss to the Patriots (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

It was like sitting inside a snow globe.  So what if it was a Jetsons meet the Flintstones called Soldier Field, it was still a sight to see.  The scene was set for a showdown of first place teams but only one team showed up and it wasn’t the home team.  The New England Patriots came into Soldier Field and snow-blowed the Bears 36-7.  If you want to relive the painful memories, you can check out the highlights from NFL.com here.

The Bears closest competition in the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers had just fallen to the lowly Detroit Lions, providing an opportunity for the Bears to go up two full games in the NFC North with three to go.  Maybe that was the worst thing that could have happened?  Maybe the notion that they had a little breathing room in the division instilled a sense of complacency.  Maybe it was a team that thought they could sleepwalk through another half of football.

The Bears played the first half as if they had never seen snow and didn’t know how to deal with the elements.  Before they knew what hit them, they were down 33-0 at halftime.  Tom Brady and the Patriots offense exposed the Cover-2 defense while Mike Martz’s offense was never known as the Greatest Show on Skis for a reason.  Let’s start with Brady vs the Cover-2 after the jump.  The Bears defense has been the biggest key to the team’s success in 2010.  People have speculated which player has had the biggest impact – Julius Peppers or the return of a healthy Brian Urlacher.  Given Sunday’s result, you might say neither.  As we’ve discussed ad nauseum, the Cover-2 works when the front four defensive linemen can generate pressure.  On the bad Soldier Field track, there was no pressure coming at Tom Brady, so he had all day to sit back and pick apart the Bears’ secondary. To a seasoned quarterback with the accuracy of Tom Brady, that much time to pick apart the zone coverage just isn’t fair.

Brady was able to get mismatches all over the field.  It seemed he could just go out and play catch with Wes Welker whenever he wanted to.  I will single out DJ Moore specifically as having a horrible game, but he’s hardly alone.  There were breakdowns throughout the Bears’ secondary but the most egregious was the Deion Branch TD reception with just seconds to go in the first half.

With the Patriots comfortably ahead 27-0 and just 1:38 left in the half, one would think the Pats would be content to just run out the clock and go into a locker room with a comfortable lead.  Maybe I’ve just too many Ron Turner-led offenses is my day because Brady and the Pats marched it down the field for a last second TD.  With 9 seconds left, Brady heaved a bomb down the near sideline for a 59-yard touchdown.  It looked to me like Peanut Tillman already had his mind on halftime rather than playing until the final whistle.

My defensive player of the game has to go to Brian Urlacher.  He was all over the field once again, registering 11 tackles, 3 passes defensed and a couple of tackles for loss.  He came to play.

On the other side of the ball, there’s not much to say.  The Bears’ offense just felt like they were ill-prepared to play in these conditions.  We’ve known all along that Mike Martz’s offense relies on precision cuts and perfect timing.  Well, when you’re playing in the RCA Dome circa 1999, that’s great.  On the snow-covered Soldier Field, the offense is pretty useless.   On a day like Sunday, the Bears needed to run the ball but couldn’t get it going.  The weaknesses of the offensive line was clear.  They couldn’t get any push up front and allowed the Patriots to push them around.  On a day when they needed to run between the tackles, the Bears couldn’t.

Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots was supposed to be a statement game for the Bears, trying to earn the respect of the national media.  With a win, the Bears would legitimize their surprising record and cement their status as playoff contenders.  After the 36-7 loss, it appears the Bears will keep the pretenders status a bit longer.

Topics: Bill Belichick, Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, New England Patriots, Tom Brady, Wes Welker

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  • Phil

    Lovie continues to show that he can’t put wrinkles into a gameplan to try to outcoach the great coaches in this league. Any average football fan knows that Brady can carve the cover two (remeber Seattle), especially when there is no pressure from the d-line. So, what does Lovie do? NOTHING!
    This game looked a lot like games last year where Lovie’s team was not prepared for the team they were facing. Terrible job on the coaches and players in this one. Plenty of blame to go around.

    • Phil

      FIRST! HA!

  • oldfanmike

    this seemed to be a horrible replay of our last SuperBowl when our front 4 just didn´t get traction/pressure on a great QB. The rest doesn´t really matter. But keep faith kids, Green Bay isn´t good enough, Minnesota is on life support. Just rethink a few wrinkles and let the dogs loose. We ain´t done yet!!!!!

    • Boomer

      Good point. We’re far from done, but it sure seems like we can’t win in our own stadium when the weather gets ugly. Maybe we’d be better off going on the road in the playoffs?

  • Mr. Pickles

    At least Green Bay lost, that’s about all I got to say on this one.

    • Boomer

      Do you think that it hurt the Bears knowing the Packers had lost just before they kicked off? Think they let their guard down a little?

      • Mr. Pickles

        Perhaps a bit of complacency but I chalk this one up to being woefully under-prepared for a team you need to play damn near perfect to beat. This felt like the Cincinnati/Arizona debacles from last year, didn’t look ready and couldn’t adjust quick enough to avoid a rout. However, I maintain a bit of optimism as, and it pains me to say this, I feel Lovie & co. have actually done a pretty decent job of planning and adjusting this season. Hopefully this was nothing more than catching a great team at the absolute worst possible time.

  • windy Cynic

    I seem to remember Brian U giving up an easy toss for a TD, boom. And the Patriots D didn’t seem to have any trouble applying pressure.

    The Retreat 2 defense will fail against quality quarterbacks. The soft zone is too easily exploited…. two eighty yard drives to start the game should have signaled some form of coaching adjustment.

    As for the offense, we should have been able to run the same short slants that they did except their defense wasn’t retreating off the snap and creating space. Our opening series was too conservative, 3 runs. The Pats have a rookie secondary and once we were down big, might as well open her up and let our receivers make plays.

    Nice read Boomer. I think though that our problem(s) are virtually the same as we expected to begin this season. The Patriots have a coach, we have a stubborn scheme that dictates our coach. Offensive line gets confused easily, but is getting better physically. Defensive line benefits on short distance from great linebackers playing the line of scrimmage instead of retreating downfield. Our corners are exposed playing off the ball and small and where the heck is Bowman…. still in a doghouse?

    On the positive side, Daniel Manning is looking better at safety and is great on KR’s. Our linebackers converge well and if we had ANY push, Forte can run.

    First round playoff losers and god forbid, a Lovie extension.

    • Boomer

      Urlacher essentially got boxed out on the TD to Gronkowski (I think off the top of my head). Very easily could have been called offensive pass interference. He just bowled over ‘Lach and turned around in the end zone for an easy 6.

      As for the Cover-2 (or Tampa-2), I think there’s a reason the Bucs went all those years without winning a cold weather game besides not being used to the cold. A post is coming to talk about our “Home Field Disadvantage” on both sides of the ball, so stay tuned.

  • windy Cynic

    One more thing Boom. Since Mike Browns departure, we have had issues with Safety. I believe it’s a development failure. DManning is supposedly our best athlete and the same criticism that Major Wright is receiving plagues DManning. Somehow, we allowed the Panthers to have Chris Harris’ best years and the Lovie faves (Archuleta, Steltz, former Saint) are always out of posiiton.

    For some reason, we can’t develop our talent while New England coaches up rookies into contenders.

  • DeCon

    The magic number is 2…we win next week and GB loses and we can crown ourselves…we need to focus on that. Sometimes a little humble pie tastes good down the road. I am not saying we are Superbowl bound, but if we happen to make it, we will have to face the Pats. No one is going to beat them.

    • Boomer

      Humble pie was served cold with a side of snow flakes.

    • Boomer

      PS – I actually think it would be more fun if we had Dennis Green crown us whenever we win a title – division or otherwise.

  • windy Cynic

    Yeah, Dennis had the fire, eh?

    And De Con…. If you settle for second, you’re basically a euphoric Cubs fan. The Patriots are not in another league talent wise, the point of my rant. Yes, they have contributing rookies all over the field, something we never seem to have room for. But the problem isn’t talent.

    It’s player development, drafting and gameplan. If we do make the playoffs and we should given the gift of Aaron Rodgers concussion among other inter division contributions to our record, we will be underdogs to Atlanta, New Orleans, NY, Philly, etc. Our long term growth is compromised by the impression that Lovie INc is somehow succeeding. AFter our playoff drought, that can’t be the impression.

    Getting there is not enough, not the goal.

    • DeCon

      who is settling for second? i am not saying the Pats would beat us in the Superbowl. I just meant that if the Bears get there, they will be facing the Pats, because no one will beat the Pats BEFORE the Superbowl. if the Bears meet them again in Dallas for a celebration of the 25 year anniversary of Superbowl XX, then anything can happen!!!

  • oldfanmike

    hey gang, remember (or hope) these leaders of ours aren´t dumb. Beware of a rematch! Take an asskicking with a dose of vinegar on week ## but not in the playoffs. Bri-guy played his ass off and he ain´t done. The D will reign supreme but not in slop. ATL is on my radar as a cute prize for 2010 and that´s a warm up. Reality is often painful but that God it is. Brady is a cut above all but he ain´t God.

  • windy Cynic

    OldfanMike….. your argument works against you. If we play the Patriots again, they will have a completely different gameplan because they are dynamic. You won’t play that same team twice unless they want you to.

    As for the Bears, we’ll trot out the same scheme and if it doesn’t work, we have no capacity to implement a plan B if there was one.

    We will play the same, they will grow. Simple.

    And DeCon…. that sentiment of just getting to a certain game is what held us back last time… we entered the SB hoping for a miracle and somehow forgot to keep running Thomas Jones down their throat.