Eagles Fall to Bears 31-26 as Cutler Tears Apart Defense


The Eagles couldn’t overcome a poor first half in a 31-26 loss to the Bears, as Jay Cutler torched a banged up defense for four touchdowns.  Philadelphia mounted a late comeback, down 31-13 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t convert an onside kick with 1:48 left.

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 was right back at it in the third quarter, hitting Greg Olsen for a 9-yard touchdown to put the Bears up 28-13 after the opening drive, set up by a 46 yard kick return by Hester out to the Chicago 46-yardline.  The Eagles went three and out and the Bears used up 10:05 while driving 83 yards on 17 plays before Robbie Gould tacked on a 23-yard field goal towards to make it 31-13.

On the next drive, Vick’s legs took over as he scrambled nine yards on 3rd and 10, then kept it on a designed run to the outside on 4th and 1 to move the ball down to the Bears 29-yardline and get a first down.  Philadelphia stalled out at the Bears’ 4-yardline with 11:56 left, down 31-13 and opted to kick the field goal. Akers connected from 22 yards out, leaving the Eagles down 31-16.

Philadelphia forced a punt, getting the ball back with 8:19 left at its own 24-yardline.  The Birds moved the ball into the red zone again, but opted for a field goal on 4th and goal from the 18-yardline.  Akers was true again, leaving the Eagles down 31-19.

The Birds kicked it deep and forced a punt, driving down field in just over two minutes with Vick hitting Celek for a 30-yard touchdown to leave the Eagles down 31-26 with 1:48 remaining.

Johnny Knox recovered the onside kick, and after some dispute over whether or not he was touched down before he set the ball on the ground, the Bears were given the ball and ran the clock out on a 31-26 win.

Cutler completed 14-of-21 passes for 247 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions while Matt Forte ran for 117 yards on 14 carries.  Philadelphia’s Michael Vick was 29-of-44 for 333 yards, four shy of his career high. Vick threw for two touchdowns with one interception, ran 9 times for 44 yards and fumbled 4 times but didn’t lose any.

LeSean McCoy had 10 carries for 53 yards and 8 catches for 67 yards, while Jason Avant caught 8 passes for 83 yards.