On the 28th anniversary of the famous snow plow game between the Patriots and Dolphins, the Patriots clinched a playoff spot and won their 11th straight game with snow falling (includes 3 playoff games, dating back to 2001). Below are more facts and figures from New England’s 36-7 blowout victory in Chicago:
For Brady and Patriots, the streak goes on
• Tom Brady had his 6th straight game of 2 or more touchdowns without an interception, matching an NFL record set by Don Meredith in 1965-66. He has 19 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in his last 8 games and has now thrown 268 straight passes without an interception.
• With all due respect to the Patriots’ points total, Tom Brady’s yardage and Shayne Graham’s streak of consecutive field goals, Sunday’s biggest statistical story for New England—perhaps the biggest in the entire NFL—is that the Patriots set an NFL record by committing no turnovers for a fifth consecutive game in their 36–7 rout of the Bears. And they did it under difficult circumstances, battling snowy conditions and freezing temperatures at Soldier Field. (Elias Sports Bureau)
• Before allowing a second-half Bears touchdown Sunday, New England had scored 14 touchdowns without allowing any, dating back to the third quarter of the Patriots’ 45–24 win at Detroit two weeks ago and including last week’s 45–3 rout of the Jets and the first half of Sunday’s win at Chicago. Only one other team in the last 20 years scored 14 “unanswered TDs” in one season (that is, regardless of any other scoring on field goals or safeties): the Eagles in 2004. (Elias Sports Bureau)
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
• The 33-point halftime deficit was the WORST first-half deficit in Bears history (previous worst was 31, done most recently on Oct. 31, 1999 vs Redskins)
Snow doesn’t deter Brady’s frozen ropes
• NEXT-LEVEL: Tom Brady has posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating on throws at least 15 yards downfield in four of his last five games, including Sunday against the Bears. Brady was 5-for-6 for 140 yards and a touchdown against Chicago on throws at least 15 yards downfield.
• NEXT-LEVEL: Since 2009, Tom Brady had struggled throwing the ball downfield in games in which the temperature was 30 degrees or colder. In 3 such games entering Sunday, Brady completed just 18.8 pct of his passes and averaged only 4.4 yds per attempt. On Sunday, Brady was 5-6 on passes of 15 or more yards and averaged more than 23.3 yds per attempt.
Four not a magic number for Bears against Patriots
• NEXT-LEVEL: Tom Brady did not shy away from the challenge of throwing into a crowded Chicago secondary on Sunday. Entering Week 14, the Bears led the NFL in lowest passer rating allowed when bringing four or fewer on pass rushes this season. Against the Patriots, the Bears allowed their worst such passer rating in their last 18 games.
Brady and Cutler differ in the snow
• NEXT-LEVEL: Tom Brady and Jay Cutler entered Week 14 ranked one and two in passer rating on passes 10 yards or shorter this season (min. 80 attempts). The two quarterbacks combined to throw 10 yards or shorter 76.9 percent of their attempts on Sunday, with drastically different results.
Brady and Gronk continue to shine
• NEXT-LEVEL: Entering Week 14, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were connecting for an NFL-best 144.9 passer rating (min. 10 attempts). The trend continued Sunday as Brady and Gronk connected on five of six attempts, a touchdown and a 136.1 rating.
Brady left Bears in the cold
• NEXT-LEVEL: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was deadly throwing down the left sideline on Sunday. Brady threw for a season-high 197 yards toward the left sideline, including 94 of Deion Branch’s season-high 151 yards. Targeting Branch, Brady was 4-4 for 94 yards, 3 first downs and a touchdown throwing to the left sideline.
Bears’ running game stalls
• NEXT-LEVEL: Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combined to run for just 25 yards on 11 rush attempts (2.3 yards per rush) when the Patriots showed seven or fewer defenders in the box on Sunday. Entering Week 14, the Patriots had allowed 4.3 yards per rush to opposing running backs with seven or fewer in the box.
Compiled by John Parolin, Dan Riccio and John McTigue.