By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots didn’t have the services of Rob Gronkowski when they took the field in Chicago on Sunday, but that didn’t stop them from hitting the ground at 100 mph when the game began.
The Bears won the coin toss and elected to defer, thus giving the ball to Tom Brady’s offense to begin the game. That proved to be a problem for the Bears.
On the first snap of the game following a touchback on the opening kick, rookie running back Sony Michel ran up the middle then bounced it outside to the right side for an easy gain of 18 yards.
Brady threw a screen pass to Michel on the next snap, again to the right side, with this play going for 13 yards.
Brady then threw to James White, this time on the left side, for a gain of 14 yards.
It wasn’t until their fourth play — a six-yard run by White — that the Patriots didn’t pick up a first down. But they did on the next play, when Michel ran for six yards, to get the Patriots to the Bears’ 18-yard line.
Brady then connected with Julian Edelman for a 9-yard gain. Center David Andrews and guard Joe Thuney allowed defensive tackle Bilal Nichols to run untouched at Brady on the second-and-1, forcing a rushed spike by Brady to avoid the sack.
The Bears had a chance to end the drive on the resulting third-and-1, but Brady threw a quick pass to Edelman on the left side to pick up the first down.
But Edelman decided he wanted more. The receiver broke the tackle attempt of Khalil Mack, then bulldozed his way through bodies and into the end zone, putting the Patriots up early.
Brady went 4-for-5 for 45 yards and a touchdown on the drive, with his lone incompletion coming on the emergency spike.
Michel ran for 24 yards on two carries, and he picked up 13 yards on his lone reception of the drive. White caught a pass for 14 yards and rushed for six, while Edelman had the two catches for 18 yards and the touchdown — his second score of the season.
It was bully-like behavior from the Patriots to start this game.