Maybe the Eagles thought they were going to carve up the Chicago Bears defense in the same manner that they disposed of the Cowboys, but the Bears were having it. The Birds showed up with very little fire for the big game. Chicago served them notice on the first drive of the game when took the ball on a long drive to the Eagles end zone for a 7-0 lead.
“I thought we had the energy, we just weren’t hitting and clicking”, Eagles head coach Andy Reid said afterward. “I don’t think it was a matter of energy. We just made too many mistakes.”
Every aspect of the Philadelphia Eagles came up short last night. The Eagles offense, defense, and special teams were all unable to get the job done when they needed step up.
The offense had numerous opportunities to put together drives to put the game away and to come back but they couldn’t get it done. There were too many dropped and errant passes. The Bears picked off Michael Vick in the first half when the Eagles had the football on Chicago’s twenty-three yard line. It was another blown opportunity for the Birds.
Reid was asked afterward if the Eagles could with Vick playing a subpar game. Reid responded, “That’s kind of the way it is. It’s always been that way in this offense. That’s the way that it is in the National Football League with quarterbacks.”
The defense couldn’t get off the field on third down in key situations during the game. The Bears were 7 for 14 on third downs and many of those conversions came during a number of long Bears scoring drives which gave them the lead and allowed them to win the game.
The Eagles potent pass rush wasn’t able to bring jay Cutler down on, single time. The Bears ran at defensive end Jason Babin on the Eagles left side all game long with tremendous success. Chicago running back Matt Forte was the guy the Eagles were committed to stopping, but they had little success in doing so, as he carried the ball 24 times for 133 yards.
The Eagles three Pro Bowl cornerbacks all came up short in key situations. Asante Samuel was beaten for a go ahead touchdown by Earl Bennett in the second half. Unexplainably Samuel was playing well off of Bennett even though the ball was at the five-yard line. Hee was unable to get a hand on Bennett as he released for the scoring route.
Nmandi Asomugha was called for pass interference during a key drive in the fourth quarter. He was jamming the receiver well down field with the ball in the air. It’s a surefire way to get a penalty.
Finally, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was beaten by Bennett numerous times on third downs. He’s a very talented but undisciplined player. It’s amazing that a guy who is one of the fastest players in the league, is unable to accelerate and break up more passes. Too many times, he gives up on plays and shows a reluctance to attack ball carriers and tackle.
The Eagles special teams made some very costly errors. After Eagles linebacker Brian Rolle made a huge play just before the half when he stripped the ball from Bears running back Matt Forte and returned it for a touchdown, DeSean Jackson made an error to give that touchdown back.
Jackson fielded a punt on the Eagles ten-yard line and tried to return it. He was carrying the ball like a loaf of bread and one of the Bears got his hands on the football to knock it out and Chicago recovered the ball inside the Eagles ten yard line. Marion Barber was able to score a few plays later and it gave the Bears a 17-10 halftime lead.
The other costly special teams mistake occurred in the fourth quarter on a fake punt attempt when punter Chas Hunter was unable to get the ball to a wide open Colt Anderson. The Eagles were in the Bears territory and a good throw could have put them in position to regain the lead.
“You guys [the media] saw it”, Reid said. “[Colt Anderson] was uncovered. We tried to throw him the ball, but obviously it didn’t work. We’ll always try to stay aggressive.”
This was a crushing loss which when paired with the Giants dramatic win over the Patriots will make the Eagles’ goal of qualifying the playoffs very difficult.