In one of the best performances of his brilliant career, the New England Patriots quarterback threw five touchdown passes and completed 30 of 35 passes. And four of the incompletions were drops.
And he did it against a Bears team trying to rebound from a tumultuous week that began with a 27-14 home loss to the Miami Dolphins. Afterward, wide receiver Brandon Marshall was heard screaming in an emotional locker room. Coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler downplayed the postgame scene during the week.
After Sunday's defeat, Marshall told reporters waiting to enter the locker room, "put your ears closer to the door." But no outbursts were heard.
New England (6-2) scored on all five of its possessions in the first half - and one of Chicago's. The Bears (3-5) fell behind 45-7 early in the second half and lost for the fourth time in five games.
Brady passed for 354 yards with a completion percentage of 85.7, third best in his 227 games during the regular season and playoffs. His passer rating of 148.4 was his eighth highest in his 15-year career.
"There's a lot of (defensive) looks I've seen over the years," he said, "so it's hard to really surprise me with certain things."
That stretch was "agonizing," said Cutler. "I think everyone's surprised. You don't expect to get out and beat like that."
Chicago was 3-1 on the road and had hope after last weekend's implosion. So imagine how the coming week will be after the blowout.
The defense got into the act when Darrelle Revis intercepted Cutler's desperation pass on the last play of the first half.
The Patriots started the second half with an 80-play drive capped by Brady's 46-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski.
The tight end is "a big, physical guy," Bears linebacker Sean McClellin said. "He can run well. He had great hands. And when you put that with a quarterback like tom Brady, he's going to be tough to defend for anyone."
Gronkowski had nine catches for 146 yards before leaving midway through the third quarter with dehydration, and LaFell had 11 receptions for 124 yards.
"We just stuck together as a team," Gronkowski said. "When we win, we stick together. When we lost we stick together."
Cutler finished with 20 completions in 30 attempts for 227 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
NOTES: Forte rushed for 114 yards after entering the game as the NFL's fifth leading rusher. He began the day as the league's top pass catcher with 54 receptions and added six. .. Brady improved to 99-16 at home, including playoff games. ... The Patriots won their 13th straight game against an NFC North opponent.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press