After a Week 6 loss to the Washington Commanders, the Chicago Bears will be back in front of a national audience when they play the New England Patriots on “Monday Night Football.”
Barring an unforeseen flex game, this will be the Bears’ final prime-time game of the season and another chance to show progress. In the lead-up to Monday night’s game, here are a dozen eye-catching facts and figures.
Bears-Patriots. Jan. 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 moved Belichick into a tie for second on the NFL’s all-time wins list with Bears legend George Halas. Don Shula holds the all-time victories record — regular season plus playoffs — with 347. Halas still holds the distinction of winning the most regular-season games with one franchise with 318. Belichick has won 257 regular-season games with the Patriots.
Games started by Justin Fields — 10 as a rookie in 2021 and six this season. Fields’ career numbers (which include a cameo against the Los Angeles Rams and a relief appearance against the Cincinnati Bengals last season): 57.7% completion rate, 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 fumbled 19 times, losing six.
Passing yards by Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in his first 16 starts, all as a rookie last season. Jones was the No. 15 selection in 2021, taken four picks after the Bears traded up for Fields. His numbers over 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 to ride with rookie Bailey Zappe, a fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky who has been impressive in three appearances.
Average points scored by the Bears in Fields’ 16 career starts. The Bears have topped 23 points only three times and have been held below 10 four times, including last week’s 12-7 home loss to the Commanders.
Completions per possession by the Bears offense through six games. We promised a recurring update on this statistic — at least until the Bears could push the number north of 1.0. Over the last two games, with 29 completions in 18 possessions, the Bears have made progress in this department. But the struggles in the passing game persist. The Bears’ 122.8 net passing yards per game ranks last in the NFL. Their four touchdown passes through six games is tied for last 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. For comparison, during Tom Brady’s 20 seasons in New England, the Patriots used five starting quarterbacks total: Brady (283 games), Drew Bledsoe (18), Matt Cassel (15), Jimmy Garoppolo (two) and Jacoby Brissett (two).
Length of Khalil Herbert’s second-quarter run last week, the longest of his career and the longest play of the Bears season to date. Herbert has five runs this season of at least 15 yards. His 6.4 yards per carry ranks first in the NFL among running backs with at least 40 rushing attempts.
Tackles this season by Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, which is tied 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 of Carson Wentz. Smith has 15½ career sacks.
The Bears’ record in their last 25 appearances on “Monday Night Football,” dating to December 2007. That does, however, include an active four-game skid. The Bears lost twice on Monday night last season, falling 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 win at Soldier Field. Running back James Allen scored two second-half touchdowns and the Bears defense held Bledsoe and the Patriots to 245 total yards. The Patriots have won the last five meetings by an average score of 35-21.
Points scored by the Patriots during a 57-second stretch of the teams’ last 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 remaining before halftime, the Bears went three-and-out, then gave up a 42-yard punt return 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 sacked and stripped on the next snap, with Rob Ninkovich returning Cutler’s fumble 15 yards for another touchdown.