Bears-Patriots Primer

Chicago Bears (3-4) @ New England Patriots (5-2) – Week 8 – Sunday, October 26 – 1:00 PM Kickoff – FOX (TV) – 98.5 The Sports Hub (Radio)

The 13th meeting – including postseason games – between the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots will take place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Sunday at 1 PM. The Patriots hold an 8-4 edge in the all-time series, including a 3-0 mark in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. This is the earliest in the season these two teams have met, the previous four matchups taking place in November or December.

The Patriots last beat the Bears on Dec. 12, 2010 at Soldier Field 36-7 behind three fields goals by Shayne Graham and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Gary Guyton. On Nov. 26, 2006, New England defeated the eventual Super Bowl XLI runners-up by a 17-13 margin in Chicago’s last visit to Gillette. Finally, on Nov. 10, 2002, Tom Brady led the Patriots back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, winning the game 33-30 with only 21 seconds remaining on a touchdown pass to David Patten. In these three contests, Brady has slightly exceeded his career average completion percentage of 66.3%, notching it up to 66.4% along with 6 touchdown passes against 3 interceptions.

Sunday’s game will also feature a matchup between brothers, as Patriots running back Shane Vereen will likely be tackled by Bears strong safety, Brock Vereen. While many brothers have competed against each on opposite sides of scrimmage – such as Bruce and Clay Matthews – the ball has rarely been involved. The Vereen brothers will likely renew their childhood rivalry, with Shane hoping for the stiff-arm and Brock aiming for the form-tackle.

Of course, the most famous matchup between the Bears and Patriots took place on Jan. 26, 1986, when the heralded “Monsters of the Midway” and their legendary 46 defense crushed the upstart, underdog Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX. New England opened the scoring on a Tony Franklin field goal, but after that it was all Chicago in every facet. Vaunted defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry got into the act with the Bears’ offense, bulldozing through the hapless Patriots’ front for a one-yard touchdown run; Chicago head coach Mike Ditka later drew criticism for that decision, not for piling on top of a blowout victory, but because it denied future Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton a spot on the Super Bowl scoresheet. Even the Bears’ funky synth-pop “Super Bowl Shuffle” music video made the response from Patriots’ supporters pale in comparison.

The Bears will arrive having lost 3 of their last 4 games and dissension brewing in the ranks. Following Sunday’s 27-14 defeat at Soldier Field at the hands of the Dolphins, the Twitterverse lit up with reports of shouting matches and physical altercations between Chicago players, with wide receiver Brandon Marshall in the thick of it and guard Kyle Long criticizing Bears fans for their negative response to the team’s struggles.

Chicago’s tilt in New England also concludes their 2014 interdivisional slate against the AFC East. In addition to the Miami game, they lost their season opener at home to the Buffalo Bills 23-20 on a Dan Carpenter field goal in overtime, and gained a 27-19 road win over the New York Jets two weeks later.

Sam Rosen, John Lynch, and Pam Oliver will call the game for FOX. Lynch is a Hall of Fame Finalist and concluded his playing career with a training camp release by the Patriots in 2008. Rosen, also the voice of the NHL’s New York Rangers, handles Bears preseason broadcasting duties and presumably knows the team very well. Oliver is a veteran sideline reporter for FOX.

Follow David on Twitter @SoSH_davemc.

David R. McCullough is the Editor-in-Chief of Inside the Pylon. He also writes about the topicsshaping the sport, examines the coaches and players, ruminates on football’s past, and explores the controversial issues facing the game.

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