Shepkowski: Bears To Face Peaking Patriots, Brady
By Nick Shepkowski–
Consider it a week off for Lovie Smith’s lucky horseshoe as the Bears welcome the New England Patriots to Soldier Field this coming Sunday. So far the Bears have been blessed in getting to face the likes of Jimmy Clausen, Tyler Thigpen, and Drew Stanton as opposing starting quarterbacks in 2010. Unfortunately for the Bears, instead of a career backup it’ll be MVP front-runner Tom Brady taking snaps on Sunday.
Brady has had a solid season from week one but his last four starts are especially eye-opening. Since losing at Cleveland on November 7, the Michigan alum has completed 91/124 (73.4%) passes for 1203 yards and 13 touchdowns while failing to compile a quarterback rating lower than his 117.4 effort against the vaunted Steelers defense.
Despite the rating of “only 117.4” in Pittsburgh, Brady was still able to throw for 350 yards while tossing three touchdown passes in a 39-26 win in which the final score didn’t give justice to the domination New England showed the majority of the night.
The current four game stretch marks the second time in Brady’s 11 year career that he has had a quarterback rating of 100 or higher in four straight starts. The only other time was the first eight games 2007 when he wound up setting the NFL record for touchdown passes in a single season.
What’s just as impressive as Brady’s quarterback rating or yardage numbers is the fact he hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 247 pass attempts which dates back to week 6; a home overtime win versus Baltimore. The Patriots as a team haven’t turned the ball over since losing two fumbles in the Cleveland loss.
Turnovers, or the lack thereof, could prove costly for the Bears who rank 4th in the league with 26 takeaways.
After last nights drubbing of the Jets, the Patriots improved to 34-5 in December since Brady took over as the Patriots quarterback in 2001. By comparison the Bears have lost 13 December games since Lovie Smith took over the head coaching reigns in 2004.
The Bears allowing only 16 points per contest make it seem that this is the week that Brady and the Patriots are finally slowed down from the 40 points they’ve been averaging the last four contests.
Then again, the Jets were allowing only 17 points per game before the Patriots hung a 45 on them last night.
Keep the Bears and their five game winning streak, I’ll take my chances on Brady in a meaningful game in December.