New England Patriots defeat Chicago Bears, 17-13

There was jubilation when cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted his third pass of the game to seal the victory, then dejection in the locker room when coach Bill Belichick asked his players to keep injured linebacker Junior Seau in their prayers.

There was also relief in several corners, with quarterback Tom Brady calling the Patriots lucky.

The contrast in emotions reflected the many twists and turns packed into the Patriots' physical, mistake-filled, yet entertaining 1...

Forget the individual performances, the blocked field goal by Richard Seymour that would have put the Bears on the board first, and the 15 tackles between Vince Wilfork (8) and Ty Warren (7), because in the trenches, this game was about the defensive line as a whole. It was about the Patriots stopping the run when it counted, preventing enough of the Bears' attempts to shove both the football and Thomas Jones into their faces, and ultimately showing they wouldn't be pushed...

They played football at the Big Razor yesterday.

It might not have been pretty for those who believe the game should play out on Sunday the way it's drawn up at a Tuesday night staff meeting, but for those who understand what football is all about yesterday's rough house, 17-13 Patriots win over the Chicago Bears was the way the game is supposed to be played.

If one didn't see it and reads there were nine turnovers, their conclusion would be that the game was sloppy....

The quarterback -- on second thought, upgrade that to the, ahem, franchise quarterback -- surveyed the landscape of third and 9 from the Chicago 25-yard line in a 10-10 game in the fourth quarter, determined his receivers were covered, and did the only thing that seemed logical at the time.

Tom Brady took off. He took off with the league's most ferocious defender, Brian Urlacher, hurtling toward him with the explicit purpose of reducing him to holiday mincemeat.

Brad...