Rob Gronkowski’s absence may slow Patriots down in Chicago

Tyler Owen
October 22, 2018

The New England Patriots were dealt a brutal blow in the first half of their Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears.

Barner has played no more than 12 percent of the team's offensive snaps since Week 4 (when Burkhead was out).

Following their meltdown in Miami last week, the Bears embraced the chance to bounce back against a team like the Patriots.

The five-time Pro Bowl tight end missed the game because of ankle and back injuries.

Trubisky's impressive heave covered 62 yards in the air, and referee Clay Martin reviewed the play to confirm that White - who turned quickly to his left after making the catch in an attempt to barrel through Patriots defenders Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Jonathan Jones - was stopped short.

The Bears were 1 yard short from tying or beating the just-too-good Patriots.

"Just tried to fight and get in", he said.

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Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns with one interception on the day, but all he could do was watch on the final play.

But when it was over, nobody on the Bears was kidding himself thinking that one yard was so decisive on a contest that they viewed as a litmus test agagainst a perrenial championship contender. The game was a battle of momentum swings, that might have come at a significant cost to the Patriots.

After a three-and-out on New England's next drive, they would not see the ball offensively until the Bears had countered with a field goal and (following a fumble on the kickoff) a touchdown. It was the 32nd time in his career he led the Patriots to a win after trailing by at least 10 points. Credit the Bears' front for stopping the Patriots in that phase, even shorthanded as they were. "It's always tough when you play [Brady]".

Chicago's (not very) special teams got progressively worse from there.

Meanwhile, Harmon, one of the Patriots' safeties, said that while the play didn't necessarily unfold the way the Patriots would have liked, one positive was that everyone knew their role. Brady was intercepted by Kyle Fuller when FB James Develin couldn't reel in a catchable ball. He's so good on the move and escaping from a collapsing pocket, but his receivers didn't seem to be ready to capitalize on the extended plays.

"For us to get a win on the road was something we needed, something we've been talking about", Brady said. But it was just enough to help close things out. It was a great play for him, definitely.

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