CHAMPAIGN—If the Bears had some questions of game officials after being called for 12 penalties last week, they had even more Sunday after a bizarre sequence of events that officials refused to explain at the time or afterward.
With 40 seconds left in the game, referee Bob McElwee stopped the clock after a New England first down but did not see fit to call for a measurement to confirm the first down. His actions gave the Patriots time to set themselves for a final sequence of plays, culminating in the Patriots' winning touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to wide receiver David Patten.
Contrary to NFL policy, McElwee then refused to answer questions from an authorized NFL pool reporter.
Marcus Robinson's 44-yard touchdown catch on a pass from fellow wide receiver Marty Booker was his first score since Nov. 7 last season against the Atlanta Falcons. That score also came on a pass from Booker and covered 34 yards.
Quarterback Jim Miller handed off to Booker, circling around from left end. Booker continued around right end, pulled up and then showed the form that made him a standout high school quarterback in Louisiana.
"It's something that's been in the game plan for a couple weeks and [offensive coordinator John] Shoop decided to use it this game and it worked for us," said Robinson, who finished with three catches for 44 yards.
Fullback Stanley Pritchett's TD catch was his first since 1999 when he was with the Miami Dolphins. He ran off the field keeping the ball from the score, his first as a Bear.
"It feels good to be a part of the offense, but it's bittersweet because we're not winning," said Pritchett, who started in place of Daimon Shelton, out with a sprained left ankle.
The Patriots repeatedly burned the Buffalo Bills last Sunday with screen passes and did more of the same to the Bears, if not with quite the same results. New England hit the Bears with a 25-yard gain on a screen to set up a field goal at the end of the first half and added a 19-yard gain on another in the third quarter.
Patriots backs caught 15 passes for a combined 162 yards and two touchdowns, both by backup tailback Kevin Faulk.
Paul Edinger's field goals of 32, 39 and 40 yards gave him 10 consecutive conversions. Edinger's only misses in 16 tries this season have been from 43, 50 and 58 yards.