Here are four things we learned in Sunday's 51-23 loss to the New England Patriots:
1) The Bears were no match for Tom Brady. The future Hall of Fame quarterback toyed with the Bears, completing 30 of 35 passes for 354 yards with five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 148.4 passer rating without being sacked. Brady threw as many TD passes (5) as incompletions. His fifth touchdown came just 2:18 into the second half and gave the Patriots a 45-7 lead. The three-time Super Bowl champion might have broken the NFL record of seven had New England not taken its foot off the gas pedal after building a comfortable 38-point lead.
"[Brady] was meticulous with his throws," said coach Marc Trestman. "We had people covering very close. [There were] a lot of contested throws. He was almost perfect with every throw."
Brady led the Patriots to five touchdowns and one field goal on their first six possessions. Coincidentally, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers did the same thing in a Week 4 win over the Bears.
"It was a fun day," Brady said. "We didn't punt there until the middle of the third quarter, so it felt good at halftime. Everything was working."
2) The Bears defense resembles the 2013 edition. The Bears allowed at least 50 points for the second time in 10 games, something they had done only five times in the previous 1,342 games in franchise history. In four losses over the last five weeks, the Bears have permitted an average of 37 points. They've given up 222 points in eight games this season, third most in the NFL behind only the 1-7 Jets (228) and 1-6 Buccaneers (223). That puts the Bears on pace to yield 444 points this year, which would be the second most in franchise history behind the 478 they allowed last season.
"This was tough," linebacker D.J. Williams said after Sunday's rout. "They're all tough, but personally I'm embarrassed with the performance. It's personal. We've got to take this bye week, refocus and come back and fix the problems."
3) Kyle Long provided more evidence that he's the Bears' best player. Forte had six receptions to increase his season total to 58, the most by a running back after the first eight games in NFL history. Forte had 114 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving against the Patriots, surpassing 150 or more yards from scrimmage for the fifth time this season and 22nd time in his career, tied for the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2008.
With 1,052 yards from scrimmage, Forte became the first player in Bears history to top 1,000 yards in that category in each of his first seven seasons.
4) The season is slipping away. Beating the Patriots in New England is nearly impossible; they're now 41-3 at home since 2009. But the difference for the Bears heading into the bye week at 3-5 versus 4-4 is substantial. Given that it likely will take a 10-6 record to make the playoffs, it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out the degree of difficulty has increased substantially.
As the great John Blutarsky famously said, "Nothing is over until we decide it is." But if the Bears want to climb back into playoff contention, they need to put together a string of victories, starting after their bye week when they face Aaron Rodgers and the arch rival Packers in Green Bay.