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Cutler Leads Bears to 21-13 Edge Over Eagles at Halftime

Jeremy Maclin

Jeremy Maclin caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to get the Eagles their first touchdown of the game.

The Bears started and finished strong in the first half, taking a 21-13 lead into halftime thanks to three Jay Cutler touchdown passes, including two to Earl Bennett.  The Bears jumped out to a 14-3 lead, but the Eagles battled back to cut it to 14-13 and appeared poised to take a lead into the half before a Michael Vick interception in the red zone.  Instead, the Bears drove the other way to extend their lead to eight.

To open the game, the Bears forced a quick three and out from the Eagles, stuffing a pair of runs before a third-down sack of Michael Vick.  Philadelphia’s defense had a similar start, with Trent Cole sacking Cutler on 3rd and 10 to force a punt that DeSean Jackson returned 35 yards to the 50-yardline.

The Eagles nearly had a 7-0 lead on a third down play when Brent Celek stayed in to block then released late on the back side of the play.  Michael Vick had him wide open going into the end zone, but overthrew the pass.  Philadelphia was forced to settle for a 3-0 lead on a 45-yard field goal by David Akers.

The Bears answered after a 61-yard run by Matt Forte, the longest against the Eagles defense this year, set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Earl Bennett to give the Bears a 7-3 lead.

After another punt by the Eagles, the Bears capitalized on a slip by Joselio Hnason, who fell down on a double move by Johnny Knox near the end zone. Cutler hit Knox with a 20-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears on top 14-3.

Philadelphia answered with a key 10-play, 65-yard drive spanning the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second.  Jason Avant had a critical third down conversion, making a leaping, fingertips grab on a 3rd and 3 pass for a 15-yard gain.  Vick threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin to cap the drive and cut the Bears lead to 14-10.

The Bears couldn’t get much going on their next drive, with Brandon Graham notching his third sack of the season on third down.  Philadelphia moved the ball smoothly down the field once again, but stalled out inside the 10 yardline afer Vick was sacked on 3rd and goal from the 3-yardline.  Akers kicked a 36-yard field goal and cut the Bears lead to 14-13.

It looked as though the Eagles would take a lead into the half, as the Birds drove deep into Chicago territory late in the half.  A Vick pass was tipped and intercepted though, as Chris Harris was in the right place at the right time in the end zone.  Vick’s first interception since December 24, 2006 proved costly, as the Bears returned it to their own 37-yardline.  Seven plays later, Cutler hit Bennett for the second time in the game on a 6-yard strike to put the Bears up 21-13 going into the half.

Jay Cutler is 7-of-10 for 132 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions while Vick is 16-of-24 for 165 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  The Bears’ Matt Forte has run for 67 yards on five carries, while LeSean McCoy has 34 yards on 7 carries.

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Tags: Bears Chicago Bears Eagles Earl Bennett Jay Cutler Michael Vick Philadelphia Eagles

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