FOXBORO, Mass. – If losing to the Dolphins a week earlier was unacceptable, what happened to the Bears Sunday in New England can't be described with words suitable for a family website.
In a matchup that looked like men against boys, the Patriots scored five touchdowns and one field goal on their first six possessions and added a defensive TD en route to a 51-23 win over the Bears at Gillette Stadium.
"We got beat in all three phases," said coach Marc Trestman. "We got outplayed and outcoached in all three phases of the game. We started slow and we couldn't keep up the pace. Credit has to go to New England for the job that they did today."
Week 8: Patriots vs. Bears
Tom Brady led the rout, completing 30 of 35 passes for 354 yards with five touchdowns and a 148.4 passer rating. The future Hall of Famer threw for 203 yards and four TDs in the first half.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 149 yards and three TDs before exiting in the third quarter with dehydration. Receiver Brandon LaFell added 11 receptions for 124 yards and one TD. The two combined to catch all 20 passes that Brady threw in their direction.
"He was meticulous with his throws today," Trestman said. "We had people covering very close. [There were] a lot of contested throws. He was almost perfect with every throw."
After falling behind 17-0, the Bears cut the deficit to 17-7 on Jay Cutler's 25-yard pass to Kyle Long with 5:32 left in the second quarter. But the Patriots responded by scoring three touchdowns in a :57 span late in the period to take a commanding 38-7 halftime lead.
After Brady's 2-yard TD pass to Gronkowski, the Bears went three-and-out and the Patriots took over at the Chicago 9 after Julian Edelman's 42-yard punt return. On the next play, Brady's 9-yard TD pass to LaFell increased New England's lead to 31-7.
On the following play, Zach Moore and Dont'a Hightower sacked Cutler, forcing a fumble that Rob Ninkovich scooped up and returned 15 yards for a TD, making it 38-7 with :55 left in the half.
Cutler described the Patriots' scoring barrage at the end of the first half as "agonizing."
"We couldn't convert on third down and they were obviously converting and scoring so we got behind pretty quickly and didn't make it much of a ballgame," Cutler said.
Asked what message he delivered to his team in the locker room at halftime, Trestman said: "I told them that we're going to define ourselves by the way we play in the second half because the first half was inexcusable."
Unfortunately for the Bears, the Patriots (6-2) picked up in the second half right where they left off in the first. On a play that was a microcosm of the game, Gronkowski steamrolled safety Ryan Mundy en route to a 46-yard TD reception that made it 45-7.
The Bears made the game a bit more respectable with Cutler touchdown passes of 20 yards to Martellus Bennett late in the third quarter and 10 yards to Alshon Jeffery midway through the fourth. But by that point it was too little and too late.
The embarrassing loss dropped the reeling Bears (3-5) three games out of first place in the NFC North heading into their bye week. It was their fourth defeat in five games since a 2-1 start.
"I thought we played hard [in the second half] and that's what I told our team," Trestman said. "But I also told our team we're not paid to play the games; we're paid to win the games, so it wasn't enough today. Like I said, we got beat in all three phases and outcoached in all three phases."