By Andrew Seligman, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and the New England Patriots hung on to beat the Chicago Bears 38-31 Sunday when Kevin White got stopped at the 1 on a 54-yard pass from Mitchell Trubisky.
About four or five defenders swarmed White after he leaped to haul in that long heave and spun toward the goal line. Some Bears players tried to push him across. But he got stopped just short of the goal line, preserving the fourth straight win for New England.
“You hold your breath when I saw him jump up and catch it,” Brady said. “I didn’t have the angle on the goal line. He was getting close to the end zone. They were pushing and we were pushing. It was probably a half yard or a yard, pretty close. Good for us to hold them out.”
As for White?
“Just tried to fight and get in,” he said. “Tried to change the game, make a big-time play. So after I caught it, I thought I had a chance, like I said, for a split-second and once I felt a bunch of guys I knew it was over.”
The Patriots (5-2) also got two special teams touchdowns and came out on top even though they were missing Rob Gronkowski.
The five-time Pro Bowl tight end missed the game because of ankle and back injuries. But New England squeezed past the Bears (3-3).
Brady improved to 5-0 against Chicago, one of five teams yet to beat him. He was 25 of 36 for 277 yards and an interception.
Cordarrelle Patterson ran a kickoff back 95 yards for his sixth career return TD. Dont’a Hightower blocked a punt and Kyle Van Noy returned it for a touchdown, becoming the first Patriots player to return a blocked punt for a touchdown in 22 years.
Josh Gordon caught four passes for 100 yards. He spun around a tackler on a 55-yarder early in the fourth that put the ball on the 1 and set up a 2-yard reception by James White to make it 38-24 with 8:40 left.
White had 57 yards receiving and two TDs. He also ran for a team-high 40 yards.
Julian Edelman had a touchdown catch. Rookie running back Sony Michel left in the second quarter because of a knee injury. But the Patriots beat the Bears for the eighth time in nine games since the 1985 team got routed in the Super Bowl.
Chicago has lost two in a row after winning three straight to take sole possession of the division lead for the first time since 2013. Star pass rusher Khalil Mack was largely a non-factor after being listed as questionable because of an ankle injury he suffered last week at Miami, and Trubisky struggled with his accuracy.
The second-year pro completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for a career-high 81 yards and a score.
Trey Burton had nine receptions for a career-high 126 yards, including an 11-yard TD with 4:13 remaining.
There were no protests by either team.
Patriots: Michel had to be helped off the field after he got twisted around by Bilal Nichols as he was tackled on the first play of the second quarter. He lost a fumble on the play and had to be helped to the sideline. In the previous three games, Michel rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
Patriots: Visit Buffalo on Oct. 29.
Bears: Host the New York Jets on Oct. 28.
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