Due to NFL contractual obligations we are forced to bring you the start of the Super Bowl XX rematch and miss the end of the Rams-Chargers thriller.
But first CBS will bring you 30 seconds of dead air.
OK, here we go. Champaign, Ill., the Bears, in the midst of a six-game slide, kick off to the Patriots.
A short Tom Brady pass and an equally short run by Antwan Smith brings up third and short for the Patriots on the first drive of the game. ... The Patriots snap the ball directly to running back Kevin Faulk and he's brought down by Brian Urlacher behind the line of scrimmage. ... The Pat's punt rolls into the end zone.
Amhad Merritt is called for false start and the Bears are moving backwards without even running a play. ... Anthony Thomas breaks through the line for a gain of seven. ... Thomas runs left and is brought down close to the first-down marker. ... Chris Chandler drops back to throw for the first time but he's sacked. ... Now rookie Marc Colombo is called for a false start. ... Chandler dumps one to Stanley Pritchett for about a five-yard gain to bring up third and 16. ... It looks like New England jumped before the snap; Chandler throws the ball away. Offsides on the Patriots. ... Chandler hangs around in the pocket and finally has the ball batted down right back in his face. Generally not what you're looking for on third and long. Brad Maynard punts and the Patriots' Troy Brown makes a fair catch around the 35.
The Bears have Brady but he dumps a little quasi shovel pass to Smith who makes a few yards out of the broken play. ... Smith takes off on a long gain but it's called back for an illegal crack back (no idea). That backs up New England to the 25. ... Brown runs right on an end around, see nothing, runs back across the entire field and is tackled short of the first down. Another punt. Leon Johnson fields the punt like a center-fielder and brings the ball to about the Bears' 30.
Johnson gets the ball and, according to some Illinois law, the Bears run up the middle on first down for a small gain. ... Chandler hits Dez White on a crossing pattern and it's close to a first down. Just short. ... Johnson busts through a hole for the first down. ... There's the dreaded wide receiver screen to Booker. Booker tries to make a few players miss but the play nets nothing. ... Johnson follows center Olin Kreutz up the middle for a few to make it third and 5. ... Chandler scrambles and takes off for 14 yards before safely sliding. First down. ... From the New England 35, Chandler rushes a quick pass to Booker, who can't hold on. The ball flew up in the air and could've been picked off by a linebacker. ... Chandler fakes a handoff to Johnson and lofts one to tight end Fred Baxter close to a first down. The Bears are mixing it up on offense. And you get the feeling they've lost a little confidence in Anthony Thomas with Johnson carrying the load here early. ... Johnson again up the middle and he's close. Third and 1. ... No, make that first and 10. Either way, Johnson takes it again and fights for a yard to the 24. ... The Bears set up a screen play to Pritchett on the left side, but there's no one out front blocking and Pritchett is dead meat. Man, that was a quick first quarter.
Chandler's lob to Booker in the end zone is knocked down by Ty Law. Here comes Paul Edinger and he's good from 39 yards.
Bears 3, Patriots 0
With the end of the quarter, the quick field goal and now the kickoff, CBS has managed to squeeze in an extra 15 commercials, 13 of which were for some form or another of CSI. I've forgotten what I'm watching.
The Patriots pull a page out of the Bears' playbook and run short on first, throw even shorter on second and come up short on third for their third straight three and out. ... And now they run funny stuff on fourth, lining up for a punt but Brady, still on the field, takes the snap and plunges for the first. ... Brady then goes to work, hitting Brown for 16 yards, inside the Bears' 38. ... Smith runs for 5 up the middle. ... Christian Peter, he plays for the Bears, breaks through and takes out Smith for a loss. Third and 8. ... Rosevelt Colvin and rookie Alex Brown combine for a sack on Brady. That's Brown's first NFL sack, or half sack, and it might have moved New England out of field-goal range. ... Well, not quite. Adam Vinatieri kicks a 57-yard field goal. Wind-aided--there's a tornado warning in the area--but a real boot.
Bears 3, Patriots 3
First and 10 from about the 32, Anthony Thomas jumps through a hole for six yards. ... Thomas stumbles right on second down but a hold on Booker negates the play. ... Chandler fires one to Booker, but Booker is hit hard from behind by Tebucky Jones. I've now settled on the name of my first-born son. Dez White jumped up and tipped that pass, which made it difficult for Booker. ... Fourth and 1 and the Bears will go for it. Let's hope this isn't the dumb try-and-draw-them-offsides play. ... It's not. Chandler follows Kreutz to the first down. ... Paging Henry Burris, Chandler is checking the alignment of his jaw. Jim Miller, who couldn't start because of tendinitis in his throwing arm, is now throwing on the sideline. And he's not chucking it lefty. ... Miller takes the field, but in an effort to save his arm, pitches to Johnson, who in turn throws the ball to Booker for a 20-yard gain. You can't do that every passing down, but that was fun. ... Miller throws a short dump to Pritchett for a gain of six yards. The ball traveled about three yards in the air and you get the feeling that's the extent of Miller's range. ... Chandler is walking dazed to the locker room and Edinger is good on a 40-yard field goal.
Bears 6, Patriots 3
The Patriots start from their own 22 and Brady hits Brown for a gain of 14. ... Brady swings it to Smith for no gain. ... Word on Chandler is a neck sprain. ... Reggie Austin blitzes but Smith runs right by him before being taken down by Mike Green after a gain of 7. ... Mike Caldwell knocks down a third-down pass and the Patriots have to punt again. Johnson makes a fair catch at the 13.
Johnson runs for a couple and then Miller finds Davis for nine yards and a first down. Two-minute warning, folks. ... Miller tries to thread one to a covered Booker and it falls incomplete. ... Miller rolls out right and throws to Dez White around the line of scrimmage. You get the feeling the Patriots will get wise to Miller's limited throwing range and start bringing guys up. ... On third down Miller throws another shorty to Booker, who's no where near the first down. ... CBS just showed a shot of Chandler and he's walking like Robert DeNiro in "Awakenings." It's safe to say he's not coming back. . ... Bears punt to the Pat's 33.
Faulk runs for five on first down. ... Faulk catches a screen pass, picks up some great blocks and runs out of bounds after a 26-yard gain. ... Brady scrambles a bit, points out a receiver and then hits Dejon Branch for a eight yards. ... The clock is running and Brady hits Brown for another eight and then calls his last timeout with 25 seconds remaining. ... From the 16 with no timeouts, Brady throws to Brown and then spikes the ball to stop the clock. ... Vinatieri comes on to tie the game.
Bears 6, Patriots 6
Vinatieri's kick bounces over Merritt's head and the Bears have to down it in the end zone as the clock expires.
Let's sum up the first half: four field goals. That ought to do it.
Merritt takes the second-half kick to the 30 and Miller overthrows tight end Fred Baxter on first down with a wobbly pass. ... Thomas takes a pitch right and is dragged down at the line by Ty Law. ... Miller uncorks another wobbler that's well behind Marcus Robinson. ... Brad Maynard punts and the Patriots are called for an illegal block in the back. New England keeps the ball, but 10 yards back.
From the 23, Smith runs for no gain. ... Brady looks to thrown and is nailed by Phillip Daniels and Alex Brown and fumbles the ball. The Bears recover at the 14. Brown knocked the ball out.
Let's see if the Bears can punch this gift into the end zone. ... Thomas runs for a few on first down. ... Miller hits Pritchett on the money for a touchdown. Nice ball from Miller.
Bears 13, Patriots 6
The Pats start at their own 22. Brady fakes a handoff to Smith then throws back to his tight end, who is met by Mike Brown for a loss. ... A false start penalty makes it second and 17 and Smith gets back 10 with a nice run up the middle. ... On third and 7, Colvin jumps way offsides, making it third and 2. ... Brady dumps it incomplete, attempted for tight end Cameron Cleeland. ... Johnson drops the punt but falls on it. There's a flag on the Patriots for a 15-yard facemask, which means New England has to kick again from just inside the end zone. Ken Walter hits a short punt and the Bears gained 20 yards because of the penalty.
Booker takes an end around, pulls up and throws down the sideline to Marcus Robinson, who beats our guy Tebucky Jones and dives into the end zone.
Bears 20, Patriots 6
The Bears find another way around the little complication of their starting quarterback not being able to throw the ball over 15 yards. Robinson catches his first touchdown of the season, a 44-yard pass from Booker.
The Memorial Stadium crowd is as loud as it's been all year, Illinois home games included. And the Bears' defense is keeping the momentum going. Brian Urlacher knocks down a pass on third down and the Patriots punt.
The Bears start at their own 30 and Thomas picks up a couple on first down. ... Miller throws a quick hit to Pritchett, who looks like he had no idea the ball was coming and lets it bounce off his body. ... Third and 8, Miller tries to thread another short one but it's right to linebacker Mike Vrabel, who should've had an interception. ... Punt.
Having already used two plays from the razzle-dazzle page, the Bears need to find some way to move the ball downfield.
New England starts from its own 20. Smith picks up a few on first down and Brady fumbles and then falls on the snap on second down. ... Brady throws over the middle but it's picked off by Urlacher at the 35.
Miller throws on first down and has White wide open around the 10 but throws infront of him. ... Thomas breaks into the open field on a great block from Pritchett and is forced out at the 1. ... On the next play, Thomas walks into the end zone.
Bears 27, Patriots 6
What's gotten into the Bears? Twenty-one unanswered points in five minutes.
On second and 5, Brady throws to Cleeland, setting up third and short. ... Brady then findds Brown for seven yards and the first down. ... And quickly finds Brown again for four more. ... Out of the no-huddle, Brady dumps to Smith, who follows some nice blocking for a 19-yard gain.
Cornerback Reggie Austin injured what looks like his right knee on the play and leaves the game on the back of a cart. Damon Moore sees his first action with the Bears.
Brady fakes a handoff to Faulk and then dumps short pass to him for another first down. Brady and the Pats are picking apart the Bears' defense. ... Faulk picks up six to the 15. ... Faulk takes a screen pass and spins his way into the end zone.
Bears 27, Patriots 13
A penalty results in first and 15 for the Bears. Miller lofts one for Dez White but it's right to New England corner Otis Smith, who returns it to the 25.
Has the crowd left early?
Brady throws it way out of bounds on first down and then dumps one to fullback Marc Edwards for two yards. ... Brown slips and can't come up with Brady's pass. ... Vinatieri's 42-yard kick into the wind is good.
Bears 27, Patriots 16
Thomas runs for three up the middle, Pritchett drops a short pass and Miller throws it away on third down. Three and out is no way to regain the momentum.
Smith fumbles on second down and there's a mass pileup for the ball. Looks like the Patriots recovered but Brady is flagged for shoving someone.
After a first down to Edwards, Brady scrambles and thows incomplete before Bryan Robinson arrives. ... Brady again goes to Edwards for another first down. ... Brown runs for a few and Azumah knocks down a Brady pass. ... Facing third and seven, Brady takes it himself and slides at the 13. First down. ... Brady takes a shot of the end zone but it's high. ... Smith runs for five and then the Bears' Todd McMillion makes a nice play on a pass to David Givens to save a touchdown. ... Vinatieri cuts the deficit to eight with his fourth field goal.
Bears 27, Patriots 19
Merritt takes the kick to midfield, giving the Bears nice field position. A 44-yard return. ... Thomas runs for four on first. ... Thomas jumps into the line for three, quickly bringing up third down. ... Miller hits a wide-open Booker in the flats for a 14-yard gain. ... Just under nine minutes in the fourth, Thomas fights up the middle for seven. ... Thomas cuts the corner and breaks inside for an eight-yard gain and a first down. ... New England blitzes and Thomas is lucky to pick up two. One. ... Thomas runs right and picks up a few more, bringing up third and 6. ... Thomas again runs right but the Bears are called for holding. New England declines and it's fourth down. ... Edinger's 32-yarder clips the top of the right upright and ricochets good.
Bears 30, Patriots 19
I'm convinced this Coors Light commercial with Dr. Dre brings the Bears only bad luck. I'll have to look into this.
Troy Brown busts a decent return to the Patriots 36. ... Colvin nearly gets a sack but Brady is able to get it off. ... Two short passes net only seven yards and Patriots will go for it on fourth. ... Brown catches a pass over the middle and takes a lick from Mike Brown but has enough for the first. (Dr. Dre?) ... A dump to Givens picks up five to the Bears' 35. ... Givens catches a short pass for a second before Urlacher dislodges it incomplete. ... Faulk makes a one-handed grab at the 25 and sprints down the sideline for a touchdown. For the love of Dr. Dre. ... The Pats try for two. Faulk runs right but Urlacher jumps on his back and drags him down.
Bears 30, Patriots 25
Ulacher's play means the Patriots have to score a touchdown rather than kick a field goal. Dr. Dre be damned.
After six dark weeks of bad games I don't know what to do with myself. We've got a good one.
The Patriots defy announcer Kevin Harlan's call for an onside kick and boot it to Merritt, who takes it to the 33.
Thomas runs up the middle for about nine yards and the Patriots call timeout with 2:27 on clock. ... Thomas is stopped at the line and the Pats burn their last timeout. ... New England stuffs Thomas on third down and the Bears have to give it away. I don't have to tell you this, but a first down would've done it. Instead we have the hated punt. The Dr. Dre hex lives.
But first the two-minute warning and a few more CSI commercials.
The Patriots will start from their own 33 with just under two minutes to play and no timeouts on the board. ... Brady drills it to someone (sorry) for a 19-yard gain and then finds Faulk for seven more. ... The clock runs, under a minute to play and Brady's pass is batted and intercepted at the line by Bryan Robinson, who fumbles and then recovers his own fumble. He can do that. Mass hysteria. Of course, the refs will walk slowly to the little peep booth and prolong this a bit more, which prompts the sound guy to cue up the J. Geils Band. They want to know if Robinson ever had possession before he fumbled. I say negative. It will be ruled incomplete. There's 47 second on the clock, in case you're wondering.
Yes, it's overturned because, according to the referee's explanation, "the ball is moving all the time."
I guess the ball is moving all the time.
Anyway, it's fourth and 3. ... Brady takes it himself and then tries to snap the ball again to spike it before the refs can measure. The ref doesn't know whether to jump in or let the play go but eventually blows the whistle to bring out the chains. It's close and it's a first down. ... Brady throws incomplete, stopping the clock at :37 with the ball on the 26. ... Brady is pressured by Colvin but manages to heave it for five yards. ... Brady spikes the ball but Colvin is in the Patriots' backfield further complicating this train wreck of a possession. The Bears called timeout before they could be penalized. ... Third and 3 and Brady throws to David Patten, who's behind R.W. McQuarters in the back of the end zone, and Patten makes a tremendous catch, dabbing his left foot right before going out of bounds. They're reviewing it. But this one's a touchdown.
Brady rolls right and finds Brown for the two-point conversion.
Patriots 33, Bears 30
The Bears have 21 seconds, two timeouts and a quarterback with a bum arm to get a field goal to tie this game.
Merritt catches the kick in the end zone and drops to a knee. To refresh: Twenty-one seconds, two timeouts, bum arm and 80 yards.
Miller tries to get one to Booker but it bounces incomplete. Maybe Booker should take a few snaps. ... Miller is sacked on second down and the Bears make no attempt to stop the clock, finally calling timeout with two ticks. ... Miller throws to Booker who pitches to White who is upended as the game ends.
What's tougher than losing six straight? Losing the seventh in this fashion.
The Bears were up 27-6 in the third quarter and then late in the fourth had two chances to pick up a yard and the resulting first down that would've iced the game. Instead they gave the ball back to the Patriots with two minutes left, gambling that Brady, with no timeouts, wouldn't have enough time to march the Pats down the field for a touchdown. Guess what? He had enough time.
Dr. Dre flies commercial?Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times