The Patriots lost their top running back, Sony Michel, to a knee injury, and committed three turnovers, but they somehow came away with a win.
“It came down to about one yard,” Tom Brady said at his postgame news conference, “but I think for us to get a win on the road is something we’ve been talking about and something we needed to do.”
It was a week that had started with people trying to debate if Chicago’s Khalil Mack had reached the level of Coach Bill Belichick’s former star, Lawrence Taylor. But Belichick brushed off the comparison, and once the game actually began Mack was a non-factor, regularly dropping back into pass coverage and looking severely limited as a result of a lingering ankle injury. The star linebacker finished the game with just one tackle.
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Brady, who was sacked just once thanks to Mack’s off day, threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns, outdueling Trubisky who kept his team in the game even though he missed a few big opportunities to capitalize on New England mistakes and threw a pair of interceptions, one of which set up New England’s final touchdown.
But with the game in its final minute, Trubisky nearly pulled off a miracle. He completed three short passes to get the Bears to New England’s 45-yard line and then launched a beautiful pass into the air that White was able to haul in despite tight coverage from a group of players that included New England’s star wide receiver, Josh Gordon. The pass, which happened as time expired, ended when White was swarmed by defenders on the 1-yard line, just barely short of breaking the plane and potentially tying the game.
Trubisky said after the game that he initially thought White had gotten into the end zone, and Brady was complimentary of how well Trubisky handled the pressure New England summoned on the drive, and the quality of the pass attempt, but Belichick was not nearly as impressed.
When asked for his impressions of the play, the veteran coach shrugged, and said “It looked like we tackled him before he got in.”
While the Patriots are undoubtedly happy that they put to rest the idea that they cannot win on the road, the team will have to hold its collective breath while they await word on Michel’s condition. The rookie had emerged as their go-to running back recently, with 316 yards and two touchdowns over New England’s last three games, but he twisted his knee awkwardly in the second quarter, leaving the field on an injury cart. An update on his condition has yet to be announced.
It would be easy for the Bears to take solace in the fact that a game against the vaunted Patriots had come down to the final play, but Trubisky did not entertain that notion.
“Close doesn’t cut it,” he said. “ There’s a new standard here. Coming up one yard short and not tying the game and going to overtime, that’s not good enough anymore.”