Tom Brady tried to scramble but ended up in the arms of Brian Urlacher and Israel Idonije for a two-yard loss on the Patriots first series.
It was a good sign at the time. Pressure would be paramount to stopping Brady and the prolific New England offense.
Unfortunately for the Bears, it would be the last time they would sack Brady until the game was long decided. The three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback had so much time he was able to consistently covert third-and-longs while picking apart the Bears cover-2 defense en route to a convincing 36-7 win on a snow-swept late afternoon at Soldier Field.
"Even when you get pressure on him he'll find guys open," said defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who started for the first time since Week 2. "It was a tough deal. We have to get back to the drawing board."
With Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins back after a lengthy holdout, the Patriots have one of the better offensive lines in the league and perhaps the best unit the Bears have played against this season. Whether it was the Patriots line or the smaller, quicker Bears defensive line struggling to get a first-step advantage on the snowy field, the competition up front quickly turned into a mismatch.
Brady had plenty of time to covert a third-and-10, third-and-12 and a third-and-7 on their first scoring drive.
"The footing was difficult, especially when you're trying to get off," defensive lineman Henry Melton. "Their offensive line was coming off and pushing us back."
The Bears finished with three sacks but two came during mop-up time in the fourth quarter.