17-13 Pats

From Patriots.com The Patriots went three and out on their first drive of the game, but the Bears took the field and didn’t even get to punt. Cornerback Asante Samuel made a nice jump on a pass from Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, intercepting the football on its way to wideout Bernard Berrian.

“He picked off a slant. We were in straight blitz coverage. No help. No one behind him. I mean he’s as man-to-man as you can get,” said safety Artrell Hawkins of the play by Samuel.

Samuel was all grins after the game, carrying the game balls from all three picks with him out of the locker room.

“Asante Samuel’s game was big today. I mean he had a Pro Bowl game today, straight up and down. He could’ve had five picks, I think,” said Hawkins. “He played the pass perfectly.”

“Man, I could have had six,” joked Samuel when he heard that Hawkins estimated five. “I dropped a couple. One on the deep ball, I misplayed it so I left a couple of balls on the field.

“It’s hard to tell [which team was better]. They made a lot of plays. It was a battle. They had a good defense, and we had a good defense. It was a good game. It was just about making the plays at the time when we need them. At the end of the game if they go down and score a touchdown, they win. So we made the plays and it kept us in the game.”

Chicago’s offense struggled in this game.

Grossman threw three interceptions and all three of them went to Samuel, who also led the defense with nine solo tackles. Grossman fumbled another one on a muffed snap only 5 yards from the goal line. The football was grabbed up by Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour, who played an outstanding game and had already blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt earlier in the first half. Seymour also had the game’s only sack when he took down Grossman in the third quarter, bringing his sack total to 4.0 for the season.

The Patriots offense was victim to the Bears attack-the-football style of defense as well.

“They go after that ball,” said quarterback Tom Brady after the game. “Their coaches must really preach that and they must work hard at it at practice. I have never seen anything like that. When you watch them on tape that is exactly what they do. [Coach Bill] Belichick must have stood up there 10 times in front of us this week and said, ‘Of all the teams we play, this team strips the ball more than anybody.’ That is why they get so many turnovers. They just attack the football and they have such great team speed that they get there. It is pretty impressive.”

Brady threw two interceptions in the game, both to Bears cornerback Charles Tillman. The Bears defense has recorded at least two turnovers in every game this season.

“We could have scored many more points than we scored,” said Brady. “When you turn the ball over it just kills you. That is like Denver this year. That is like Indianapolis. We have had a bunch of games where we just haven’t really protected the football. And every time we sit up here we talk about protecting the football, and that is what we have to do a better job of.”

Receiver Reche Caldwell and running backs Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney each lost fumbles in this game for a combined three turnovers – five including Brady’s intercepted passes. The Bears gave up four turnovers, overall.

“This was crazy,” said Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin after the game. “As a defense you go out there and you create turnovers and as an offense you give up turnovers. I think it’s what we expected. We expected them to be physical on both sides of the ball. Guys made plays and guys gave up plays. We’ve just got to keep playing. I think the guys did a good job of that. I think we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. We’ve just got to get back to work this week. It’s a big win for us, but every win is [big] in the NFL.”

Colvin had five tackles and four quarterback hurries, helping to keep the young Grossman under pressure during most of the game.

Very sloppy game with all the turnovers, but we prevailed. It hurt me to see rookie Chad Jackson drop a sure TD, but oh well. Both Dillon and Maroney struggled, but we expected that. Next up, Detroit Lions.

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