After a week 6 loss to the Washington Commanders, the Chicago Bears will be back in front of a national crowd when they play the New England Patriots on “Monday Night Football.”
Barring an unforeseen flex game, this is the last prime-time game of the season for the Bears and another chance to show progress. In the run-up to Monday night’s game, here are a dozen striking facts and figures.
Bear Patriots. January 26, 1986. You know what it is.
Career coaching victories for Bill Belichick, including the postseason, during his 23 seasons with the Patriots and six with the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots’ 38-15 victory over the Browns on Sunday put Belichick in a tie for second on the NFL’s all-time win list with Bears legend George Halas. Don Shula holds the all-time record of wins – regular season plus playoffs – with 347. Halas still holds the distinction of winning most regular season games with one franchise with 318. Belichick has 257 regular games season with the Patriots.
Games started by Justin Fields – 10 as a rookie in 2021 and six this season. Fields’ career numbers (including a cameo against the Los Angeles Rams and a relief appearance against the Cincinnati Bengals last season): 57.7% completion percentage, 2,739 passing yards, 11 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions, 59 sacks and a 73.1 passer rating . Fields also has 702 rushing yards and three touchdown runs and has messed up 19 times and lost six.
Passing yards by Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in his first 16 starts, all as a rookie last season. Jones was the number 15 roster in 2021, four picks made after the Bears traded for Fields. His numbers on his first 16 starts: 67.7% completion rate, 3,540 passing yards, 21 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions, 26 sacks and a 92.5 passer rating. He also had 125 rushing yards and fumbled six times, losing two. (Jones made 17 starts last season and has made three this season.) It remains to be seen whether Jones will return to his starting role this week after recovering from a high ankle sprain or whether the Patriots will continue riding with rookie Bailey Zappe, a choice of the fourth round from Western Kentucky who was impressive in three appearances.
Average points scored by the Bears in Fields’ 16 career starts. The Bears went over 23 only three times and were kept under 10 four times, including last week’s 12-7 home loss to the Commanders.
Bears offense completions per possession over six games. We promised a recurring update on this stat – at least until the Bears could push the number north of 1.0. In the past two games, with 29 completions in 18 possessions, the Bears have made progress in this area. But the struggle in the passing game continues. The Bears’ 122.8 net passing yards per game rank last in the NFL. Their four touchdowns through six games were last shared with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers.
Starting quarterbacks used by the Patriots in the first six games. Jones started the first three, Brian Hoyer jumped in to start week 4 and Zappe has started the last two weeks. In comparison, during Tom Brady’s 20 seasons in New England, the Patriots used a total of five starting quarterbacks: Brady (283 games), Drew Bledsoe (18), Matt Cassel (15), Jimmy Garoppolo (two), and Jacoby Brissett (two).
The length of Khalil Herbert’s second quarter last week, the longest in his career and the longest game of the Bears season to date. Herbert has five runs of at least 15 yards this season. His 6.4 yards per carry ranks first in the NFL among running backs with at least 40 hasty attempts.
Tackles this season by Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, who ties for the NFL lead with Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin. Smith was credited with a game-high 12 tackles against the Commanders and recorded a first-half sack from Carson Wentz. Smith has 15½ career sacks.
The Bears’ record in their last 25 appearances in ‘Monday Night Football’, dating back to December 2007. However, that does include an active four-game skid. The Bears lost twice last season on Monday night, 29-27 in Pittsburgh in week 9 and 17-9 at home to the Minnesota Vikings six weeks later.
Year of the Bears’ last victory over the Patriots, a 24-17 victory at Soldier Field. Running back James Allen scored two touchdowns in the second half and the Bears defense kept Bledsoe and the Patriots at 245 in total. The Patriots have won their last five games with an average score of 35-21.
Points scored by the Patriots during a 57-second stretch of the teams’ final regular season meeting at Gillette Stadium. That was part of a 51-23 blowout in Week 8 of 2014. After Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:52 left before halftime, the Bears went three-and-out and then got a 42-yard run back to Julian Edelman. Brady threw another touchdown pass — 9 yards to Brandon LaFell — on the first snap of the next possession. And after a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Jay Cutler was fired and stripped on the next snap, with Rob Ninkovich’s fumble bringing Cutler back 15 yards for another touchdown.