One that got away

During a now seven game losing streak the Bears have lost in a variety of ways, but none more frustrating then a 33-30 decision to the Patriots.

Paul Edinger's third field goal of the game gave the Bears a 30-19 lead with 5:22 left in the game.

It all fell apart from there.

A 36-yard touchdown reception by Kevin Faulk cut the lead to 30-25 with 2:46 left. A two-point conversion was stopped by Urlacher meaning the Patriots still needed another touchdown to win the game.

With two timeouts at their disposal the Patriots elected to kickoff rather than go for an on-sides kick. Anthony Thomas gained nine yards on first down leaving the Bears 2nd and 1. However, Chicago couldn't convert on either second or third down and punted the ball away following the two-minute warning. A 32-yard punt by Brad Maynard coupled with an 11-yard return by Troy Brown allowed New England to take over near midfield.

Tom Brady completed a 19-yard pass to David Patten moving his squad into Bears territory. It only got more hectic from there. On third and three Brady appeared to be intercepted by Bryan Robinson, but the ruling was overturned. So, on 4th and three Brady lunged for the first down. With the clock running the Patriots lined and spiked the ball. For some reason a whistle blew before the snap stopping the clock, which basically gave New England an extra down and stopped the clock. Then on third and three the Bears elected to take a timeout with the clock running.

"Clearly that should have been a fourth down play," said head coach Dick Jauron about why the Bears choose to take a timeout. "We were trying to figure out why it wasn't. I can never call for a measurement but I can ask for one. I've never seen a game-deciding fourth down play not measured. It clearly should have been measured. It gave them an extra down and stopped the clock. I don't understand how that happens."

With time to draw up a play Brady went to Patten in the back of the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown with just 21 seconds left in the game.

The play was reviewed, but stood because the receiver just got his second foot down before going out of bounds.

"From the looks of it, the receiver's foot was past the line," said R.W. McQuarters, who was defending Patten on the score. "I thought that second foot was questionable. It looked half-and-half, and I guess it could have gone either way. It hurts though. It reminds me of the Saints game, only tougher."

New England tacked on a two-point conversion to make it 33-30 and to force the Bears to kick a field goal to tie the game, which never occurred.

The game started off in the Bears favor following a scoreless opening period turned into a battle of field goals in the second quarter. The Bears got on the board on the second play of the second quarter. A 39-yard field by Paul Edinger gave Chicago a 3-0 lead capping a 13-play drive that consumed over seven minutes of clock.

The Patriots answered the Bears field goal with a 57-ayrd effort by Adam Vinatieri, which is the longest in the NFL this season and set a team record for New England. On a 4th and one from their own 39-yard line the punting unit came on, but backup quarterback Damon Huard took the snap and moved forward for a first down.

The Bears were also aggressive going for a 4th and one from their 41-yard line. Chris Chandler followed Olin Kreutz for a first down, but took a knee to the helmet and left the game with a neck strain. Jim Miller came in for Chandler. However, it was a 27-yard halfback pass from Leon Johnson to Marty Booker that set up another Edinger's field goal this time a 40-yard conversion made the score 6-3.

The Bears were unable to move the ball before the half, which gave Tom Brady one more chance to do something before heading to the lockerroom. Brady hit Kevin Faulk on a screen pass and the shifty back made his way into Bears territory for a 23-yard gain. The Bears defense tightened up and forced New England to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Vinatieri to end the half tied at 6-6.

Alex Brown continues to make an impact in his rookie year. The end reached Brady for a sack and knocked the ball loose in the process. Phillip Daniels recovered at the Patriots 14-yard line.

It took just two plays for Chicago to find the endzone on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Stanley Pritchett reclaiming the lead for the Bears at 13-6 early in the third quarter.

The Bears continued to keep the Patriots guessing. Following a punt which gave the Bears the ball at New England's 44-yard line Jim Miller faked a handoff to Anthony Thomas and gave to Marty Booker. The former high school quarterback rolled right and threw a strike just out of the reach of Tebucky Jones to Marcus Robinson for a 44-yard touchdown pass.

Trailing by two touchdowns Brady dropped back to pass and threw into zone coverage. Brian Urlacher read the quarterback and leapt in front of Brady's pass for his first interception of the year.

Starting deep in New England territory the Bears turned to Anthony Thomas. The "A-Train" broke his longest run of the year a 34-yard burst that brought the ball to the two-yard line. Thomas then took the ball in for a score on the following play. His fifth touchdown of the year extended the Bears lead to 27-6.

New England didn't hang their head and matched the Bears score with an eight-play 75 drive capped off by a 15-yard touchdown catch by Kevin Faulk. Brady completed all seven of his pass attempts on the possession for 69 yards.

It took less than a minute for the Patriots to put three more points on the board. Miller was picked off by CB Otis Smith, who the ball 22-yards to the Bears 25. Chicago's defense held off the New England threat and forced the visitors to bring on their placekicker for his third field goal of the game. A 42-yard kick by Vinatieri cut the Bears lead to 27-16.

Going into the fourth quarter the Patriots continued to cut into the Bears lead, but couldn't find the endzone. Vinatieri's fourth field goal of the game brought them within one score and a two-point conversion at 27-19.

On the ensuing kickoff Ahmad Merritt returned the ball 44 yards to the Bears 48-yard line. A 13-yard completion to Marty Booker gave the Bears a third down conversion. From there the offense turned to Thomas, who carried the ball seven times for 25 yards leading Edinger's third field goal of the game and a 30-19 advantage.

With two touchdown passes in the final minutes the Patriots won a game in similar fashion to the 2001 Bears squad that went 13-3. However, with a seven game losing streak and a 2-7 overall record the Bears fortunes seemed to have reversed.

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