The Bears offense came alive on Monday night, racking up 390 total yards, while the defense generated four takeaways in a dominant 33-14 road win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
The Bears (3-4) snapped a three-game skid with their first win over the Patriots (3-4) since Dec. 10, 2000 and first ever win in Foxborough.
Quarterback Justin Fields led the offense with an impressive performance both through the air and on the ground. Fields completed 13 of 21 passes for 179 yards and a 25-yard touchdown pass to running back Khalil Herbert. The second-year pro also rushed for a team-high 82 yards and a 3-yard TD.
"I think that creates an issue sometimes for the defense, depending on what defense they're in," coach Matt Eberflus said. "Certainly when you have a quarterback that has the designed runs with the run-pass off of it, then also doing some things just to have the ability to scramble and make first downs, I think that's a big piece and it's hard to defend those guys. We've all seen them around the league and Justin did a nice job of executing today."
While Patriots backup QB Bailey Zappe initially troubled the Bears defense with back-to-back touchdown drives in the second quarter, they held New England scoreless in the second half. Interceptions by safety Jaquan Brisker, linebacker Roquan Smith and cornerback Kyler Gordon along with a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Justin Jones shut down the New England offense.
"First of all, the one Brisker had was pretty amazing," Eberflus said. "I mean that was a really good play. For him to have that concentration to get his feet in bounds, that was excellent. Then really the other two interceptions were tips. There were some tips there, but the one that Gordon had, I think it was maybe tipped twice. He had to tip it to himself there. Then the return, he took it up the sideline, did a nice job with that. But that fosters confidence, the ability to take the ball away. I think that's a big part of winning football and [Gordon] did a nice job."
Zappe played all but the first three drives and completed 14 of 22 passes for 185 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson scored the Patriots' second TD with a 4-yard run.
The Bears went up 3-0 after Santos hit a 42-yard field goal on the team's first possession. Fields got the drive going with back-to-back first down completions. On third-and-4, the quarterback rolled right and found receiver Darnell Mooney for a 20-yard gain, then threw an 11-yard pass to receiver Equanimeous St. Brown on the following play.
Fields rushed for a 3-yard touchdown on a designed run play to put the Bears up 10-0 with 2:11 left in the first quarter. Fields came up big on third-and-6, scrambling out of the pocket to find St. Brown for a 19-yard completion. On first down, receiver N'Keal Harry recorded his first reception of the season—against his former team—for a 14-yard gain. On second-and-2, Montgomery pushed his way to the Patriots 3, using a spin move to gain an extra five yards after getting the first down.
"I thought the [designed runs] were good," Fields said. "I thought they brought a whole different element to our offense. So I think we executed that well and there were definitely some explosive [plays] in the designed runs, for sure."
Brisker recorded his first career interception on the next drive, leaping high into the air and making an incredible one-handed snag of a Mac Jones pass intended for tight end Jonnu Smith near the sideline at the Chicago 21 before returning it to the 27. However, the offense was unable to capitalize on the takeaway.
Following Brisker's interception, the Patriots brought in Zappe, who quickly cut the Bears' lead to 10-7 with a 30-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jakobi Meyers. Zappe orchestrated the 55-yard scoring drive with just four plays. On third-and-5, Zappe found Stevenson for a 20-yard completion then connected with a wide-open Meyers for the score with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half.
The Patriots took a 14-10 lead with 6:04 remaining in the half, as they capitalized on their first takeaway with a 4-yard TD run by Stevenson. Cornerback Myles Bryant picked off Fields' pass intended for Mooney, which was tipped at the line of scrimmage by linebacker Matthew Judon. Bryant intercepted the ball at the New England 39 then returned it to midfield.
It took New England just three plays to go 50 yards as Zappe connected on another deep ball, hitting DeVante Parker at the 7 for a 43-yard completion. Two plays later, Stevenson took the handoff and beat the Bears' defense to the left side of the end zone.
The Bears regained a 17-14 lead with Fields' 25-yard touchdown pass Herbert. Fields and Mooney had another big connection on the drive, this time for 16 yards to reach the Patriots 39. On third-and-5, Fields kept the drive alive with his legs again, running for nine yards and the first down. The Patriots blitzed on the next play, but Fields pumped fake the initial screen pass to get a defender into the air, changed his arm angle and threw a quick sidearm pass to Herbert, who ran untouched to the end zone with just under two minutes remaining in the first half.
"They brought all out [pressure] and that was our second time running that play," Fields said. "The first time, the ball got batted down so that D-end came running free, so I saw him and kind of just pump faked it then went sidearm a little bit. We work on that in practice, just maneuvering the screens around the D-ends, so of course it was a great run and catch by Khalil and really just a great play call and great execution by everyone."
Another Bears takeaway led to a 23-yard field goal by Santos as the Bears extended their lead to 20-14 before halftime. Zappe fumbled on a handoff and Jones recovered the ball at the Patriots' 37. Fields took a pair of sacks on the drive, resulting in third-and-16, but Fields rolled right and found Mooney, who made a toe-tapping 17-yard grab on the left sideline to sustain the possession.
A 38-yard field goal by Santos capped off the Bears' first possession of the second half and extended the lead to 23-14. While Fields sustained another drive with his legs, running for 9 yards on third-and-6, a 29-yard jet sweep to receiver Dante Pettis pushed the Bears into New England territory.
The Bears scored on their fourth straight drive as Santos hit another FG, this time from 50 yards out to go up 26-14 with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter. Fields continued to highlight the improvements in the passing game, connecting with tight end Cole Kmet along the sideline for 26 yards on third-and-7. Montgomery had five carries for 19 yards on the drive.
Montgomery then reached the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run, extending the Bears lead to 33-14 with 12:13 left to play. The Bears started the 8-play, 39-yard drive in New England territory as Pettis returned a punt 27 yards to the 39. Montgomery powered through the defense on third-and-1, shedding tackles for a 12-yard gain then found the end zone two plays later.
Smith generated the defense's third takeaway, intercepting Zappe at the Chicago 48 on a tipped pass by defensive end Dominique Robinson . While Smith returned it 15 yards, an illegal blindside block penalty on Mike Pennel Jr. negated the return.
Gordon then capped off the victory by picking off Zappe at the Bears' 48 for his first career interception, returning the pick 42 yards to the New England 10.