FOXBOROUGH, MA – Because they play in different conferences, the number of match-ups between the teams has been limited.
Since the Patriots joined the National Football League in 1970 after the merger with the American Football League, the Bears have only played them 14 times in the regular season and playoffs. Monday night’s match-up will be the first since the 2018 season as part of a four-year opponent rotation.
But when the Bears visit Gillette Stadium for the 7:15 PM kickoff, they’ll be looking to finally get a first in this series: A win on the Patriots’ home field.
The Bears’ four previous trips to New England have all been losses.
The Bears first lost to the Patriots on their home field at the old Foxboro Stadium on October 30, 1988 when they were beaten by the hosts 30-7, one of just four losses they suffered that season.
During the next week, head coach Mike Ditka suffered a minor heart attack at team headquarters in Lake Forest. He would return quickly, however, as the Bears won a fifth-straight NFC Central division title and would advance to the NFC Championship Game.
The Bears wouldn’t go back to New England for a game for nine years, and when they did, the results weren’t much better.
On September 21, 1997, the reigning AFC champion Patriots beat them 31-3 in one of the seven-straight losses the Bears had to open that season. Dave Wannstedt’s team would finish the season 4-12.
The closest game the Bears have had against the Patriots on their home field was their first at Gillette Stadium was on November 26, 2006. It was a turnover-filled contest with New England giving up the ball five times and the Bears four.
But it was Rex Grossman’s interception in the final two minutes that would be the last in a 17-13 loss for the eventual NFC champion Bears, who suffered one of their three regular season losses in 2006 at the hands of the Patriots.
The ugliest loss came in their last visit to Gillette Stadium on October 26, 2014, when the Patriots crushed the Bears 51-23. The eventual Super Bowl champions raced out to a 38-7 halftime lead and the visitors didn’t have much of a response.
To make things worse, defensive end Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending ACL tear while celebrating a second half sack. It was part of a 5-11 season that led the the firing of head coach Marc Trestman.
Winning for the Bears has been difficult against the Patriots anywhere, as they are 4-10 heading into Monday night’s game in Foxborough. They’ve lost five-straight to New England, with their last win coming at Soldier Field on December 10, 2000.
Of course, one of the Bears’ wins over the Patriots was Super Bowl XX, when technically New England was the home team. Perhaps Matt Eberflus’ team can be the one to finally get the Chicago team at win in Foxborough tonight.