Receivers: Marty Booker (4/65) was a key part of both big trick plays. He threw the touchdown pass to Robinson, and he caught the pass from Johnson. Apart from that, he was called for holding, dropped one pass that nearly got intercepted, and had a drop of a 12-yard pass on 2nd and 15. Marcus Robinson (3/63, TD) had his best game of the year, which isn't saying very much. Although it looked like he might have been down at the one, he got credit for the touchdown on Booker's pass. He caught another pass over the middle that came up just short of the first down. If he would have cleanly caught it instead of bobbling it, there's a good chance he could have converted the third down grab. Dez White (2/8) had a shot at a 15-20 yard pass over the middle that was a touch off by Miller. Ahmad Merritt was flagged for a false start. John Davis (2/17) made a good run on an excellent play action pass. The Patriots run a similar offense to the Bears. They took short passes and converted them when it counted. The Bear receivers had too many drops and did not make enough plays when they got the football to win the game. Watching these two teams pass horizontally all day made it painfully obvious how much better their receivers are and quarterback is than ours.
Running Backs: Anthony Thomas (21-99, 1/4, TD) had his most impressive rushing performance of the season. Thomas broke off several long runs, and did a much better job of being decisive with the football. Even when there was no hole, he pushed forward to get 2 and 3 yards, instead of shuffling his feet and losing ground. Unfortunately, he could not pick up 1 yard on successive plays to put the game on ice. Stanley Pritchett (4/26, TD) started again at fullback and had his finest blocking day as a Bear, leading the way for Thomas. In addition to that, he caught a touchdown pass. He had a costly drop late in the game as well. Leon Johnson (5/10) saw a good deal of action, but was mostly ineffective. At least one time he missed a crease that would have led him to big yardage. Overall, the backs had a good game. The Bears rushed for 125 yards on 28 carries (4.5 per carry). They still need to find a way to get one yard when they need one yard. Perhaps they need to go back to keeping Johnson in as the short yardage back, or do something especially daring and test Adrian Peterson. It can't be any worse than it is now.
Offensive Line: The line had a reasonably solid game. There were two breakdowns for sacks, but passes got out without heavy pressure for the majority of the game. New England plays some strange fronts. They used a lot of over and under shifts. This meant center Olin Kreutz was covered quite a bit. Additionally, at times they would come out with no linemen, and then drop a couple players down on one edge and blitz from a few other places. All of this means blocking assignments are hard to sort out, and communication is big. Through it all they held up well. Chris Villarrial's back spasms did not act up until late in the game. The Bears gained a lot of yards off right tackle, behind a pulling Mike Gandy and leading Stanley Pritchett. This was Thomas' biggest gain, and several others. James Williams and Marc Columbo each committed false start penalties. The offensive line has to find a way to gain one yard when it needs one yard. This falls on them more than the play calling. Overall they had a good game, but came up short when they were needed most.