New England Brought Out Worst In Grossman

When the New England Patriots defeated the Chicago Bears on Sunday, one thing rang loud and clear -- turnovers killed both teams' chances to put the game away. Although Tom Brady had a pair of interceptions, it was Rex Grossman's third of the afternoon that determined the outcome. As Chicago fans have become accustomed to, when Grossman has a bad day, it's usually really bad.

Rex Grossman is no Tom Brady.

That was the biggest difference in the Bears' 17-13 loss to the Patriots.

After Brady did what he's become famous for, driving the Patriots to the eventual game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to snap a 10-10 tie, Grossman and the Bears could only counter with a field goal. And then, after the Bears' defense forced its fifth turnover of the day to give the offense one last chance, with 1:52 left, Grossman tossed his third interception of the day -- all to cornerback Asante Samuel -- on the first snap. Grossman also lost a fumble in the red zone, and one of his interceptions occurred inside the New England 20-yard line.

"Offensively, it's tough to win when you have four turnovers," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "It's kind of as simple as that."

In almost every other phase of the game besides quarterback play the Bears were equal to or better than the AFC East-leading Patriots, who improved to 8-3. But Smith quashed any potential quarterback controversy before it could gain much momentum.

"We didn't complete the job tonight, but Rex is our quarterback," Smith said. "I'll say it right now, 'Rex is our quarterback.' We'll make necessary corrections, which we've done in the past. We're 9-2 right now with Rex leading our football team. He had a couple bad passes tonight. I made a lot of bad calls; we made a lot of bad calls. You could go across the board. We had an opportunity still to win the football game. We're not going to put it on one guy."

The Bears ran the ball more effectively than any team has all season against the NFL's best run defense, piling up 153 yards on 36 carries. The Bears also prevented the Patriots from running, allowing just 85 yards on 34 carries for just 2.5 yards per attempt. The defense never sacked Brady, but the Patriots only got to Grossman once.

"Our defense took the ball and did a great job of that," Grossman said, "but we didn't so such a good job, and I'm talking about myself."

Grossman completed just 15 of 34 passes for 176 yards with no touchdowns and a passer rating of 23.7.

New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel, right,intercepts a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Desmond Clark (88) in the third quarter during their football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

"We had a lot of opportunities to make big plays," he said, "but a couple times they did a good job of taking it away. So credit them, but we have to get better in that regard."

It was the second-worst performance of Grossman's career. Only his four-interception debacle on Monday night last month against the Cardinals was worse.

On Samuel's final pick, he was able to steal a deep jump ball from Rashied Davis with a great athletic play, but the blame for the first two interceptions rests with Grossman, whose accuracy was more the problem than his decision making.

"I don't think any of them were real bad decisions," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "The first one (that sailed slightly beyond Berrian's reach on a slant route), they were in man coverage, and Samuel got a great jump on it, and he just beat him to the inside. The second one (late in the third quarter intended for tight end Desmond Clark inside the Patriots' 10-yard line) was a little bit underthrown. The timing wasn't great, and it was a little behind him."

After posting passer ratings of 98 or higher in four of the first five games while throwing 10 TD passes and just three interceptions, Grossman has been picked off 11 times and thrown eight TD passes in the last six games.


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