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Patriots 'defend' home turf against Bears

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Nov. 26, 2006) -- Tom Brady 's decision to run on two key plays was a surprise. That he didn't fumble may have been more of a shock.

Cutting on new artificial turf instead of the mud that was there two weeks ago, Brady set up New England 's decisive touchdown in a turnover-filled game, and the Patriots beat the Chicago Bears 17-13.

"Must be the turf," Brady said. "I don't think that would have happened a few weeks ago."

The Patriots (8-3) persevered despite five turnovers against the Bears (9-2), who had allowed the fewest points in the NFL going into the game with 120. New England was the second stingiest with 131.

"Our defense took the ball, did a good job of that and we didn't do such a good job with it," Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman said.

On third-and-9 at the Bears 14, Brady took off running for 11 yards, a scamper that left star linebacker Brian Urlacher behind.

"I'll tell my kids one day I slipped Brian Urlacher," Brady said with a grin. "They won't believe me."

Brady also had a 3-yard run for a first down at the 3, capping the drive with his 2-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson that gave the Patriots a 17-10 lead with 8:22 left in the game.

Before that drive, the Patriots had turned the ball over three times inside the Bears' 20-yard line against a team that leads the NFL in takeaways.

But the Bears committed four turnovers, three on interceptions by Asante Samuel. The last came with 1:46 left, clinching the victory just six seconds after Chicago's Alex Brown had recovered Corey Dillon's fumble.

"This is prime time against the team with the best record," Samuel said. "They like to go deep and it was something we were expecting."

The Bears didn't expect to be so sloppy.

"It's tough to win when you have four turnovers," Chicago coach Lovie Smith said.

The Patriots won with five -- three fumbles and two interceptions by Charles Tillman.

"It wasn't pretty, not at all," New England safety Artrell Hawkins said.

The Bears capitalized on their fourth takeaway, Tillman's second interception, and tied the game 10-10 just 7 seconds into the fourth quarter on Cedric Benson's 2-yard run.

The Patriots then moved 73 yards and went ahead on Watson's catch. On one play, Brady scrambled before completing a perfect 40-yard arc to Watson. Three plays later, Brady made his run and his footing was secure enough for him to get up, plant his cleats and deliver an emphatic first-down signal.

"I saw that and I said, 'Oh, Tom. Oh, Tom,"' Watson said with a laugh. "But he put a move on Urlacher and made a great play."

That put the ball at the Chicago 14, and Watson scored five plays later.

The Bears' hopes ended with Samuel's interception of Grossman's 40-yard heave toward Rashied Davis.

With both teams coming off shutout wins, the game shaped up as a defensive struggle. Not even the new FieldTurf, installed after season-long problems with the natural grass caused players to slip, made much difference for running backs trying to shake loose for big gains.

The first half ended with a bizarre set of plays. Two passes by Brady that were ruled completions on the field were overturned on video review.

That left rookie Stephen Gostkowski with a 52-yard field goal attempt that went wide right. But Chicago had called a timeout before the kick and Gostkowski's second try made it over the crossbar. His longest kick of the season gave New England a 10-3 halftime lead.

Both teams had trouble holding onto the ball early. On their first three possessions, each team lost a fumble and an interception. On Chicago's other series in that stretch, Robbie Gould missed a field goal attempt for the first time in 25 tries this year, when defensive end Richard Seymour deflected the 45-yard try.

Notes: Linebacker Junior Seau, who came out of a brief retirement to join the Patriots, didn't return after hurting his right arm in the second quarter. ... Chicago had the leading gainers in receiving and rushing -- Bernard Berrian with 104 yards on five receptions and Thomas Jones with 99 yards on 23 carries. ... Kevin Faulk set the Patriots record for career receptions by a running back. His six catches Sunday gave him 262, one more than Tony Collins. ... Chicago's losses have come against AFC East teams New England and Miami.

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