A lot of analysts and fans considered this a fork in the road for the Bears. With Detroit and Green Bay playing good football with a lead, it would be hard for the Bears to make it into the playoffs had they lost this game. Many picked against them including 7 of 8 Monday Night Football Analysts. The only analyst to pick the Bears to win against the Eagles was Da Coach, Mike Ditka. The Bears came away with a 30-24 victory over the Eagles. All the more impressive, it was a road victory.
With the Bears improving to 5-3, they can tie for 2nd place in the NFC North with a victory next Sunday at Soldier Field over the Lions. The Detroit Lions will be coming off their bye week at 6-2. I expect analysts to pick against the Bears once again, so the Bears can prove them wrong.
What exactly went right for the Bears? In a night where LeSean McCoy couldn't be tackled, Matt Forte picked up big yards but fumbled twice, points were hard to come by. The Bears sputtered but every couple series would explode with big plays. Most of these coming in the form of Matt Forte runs or clutch Earl Bennett receptions on 3rd downs. Here is a list of my observations from the game.
Matt Forte is very good. Despite losing 2 fumbles, 1 before halftime for an easy TD to tie it up at 10-10, he is the reason we won the game. The Eagles defense is full of ball hawks like Asomugha and Samuel, having our run game show up helped Cutler tremendously. Forte rattled off 133 yards on 24 carries.
Robbie Gould had 3 Field Goals on the night, the 3rd coming from 22 yards out to extend the Bears lead to 30-24 with 4 minutes left to play.
Bears came up with huge plays when they needed them. Lance Briggs chasing Vick down from behind, Major Wright's interception, stopping Philly on downs with 2 minutes to go to seal the victory.
Biggest reason the Bears won? Eagles idiocy. Around mid-field the Eagles tried a fake punt where rookie punter Chas Henry misfired to a wide open Colt Anderson. This gave the Bears the ball at mid-field up 27-24 with 9 minutes remaining. Although even if the Bears were up 27-24, they still stopped the Eagles on downs before field goal ranges.
The tides of the game turned in the Eagles' favor after LeSean McCoy had a very impressive 33 yard touchdown run. This gave the Eagles their first lead of the game at 24-17 with 6 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.
Earl Bennet's return was huge for the passing game. He had 5 catches for 95 yards and a very important touchdown in the 2nd half. Expect Cutler to keep up his great play with Bennett back in the passing game. On the other hand despite a couple nice catches (3 catches for 46 yards), Roy Williams had an abysmal game. He dropped a bomb from Cutler when the Bears were backed up in own endzone. He also had another seemingly easy to catch drop. Fans' patience are wearing thin on Williams. Bennett's return highlighted Roy's miscues.
Michael Vick was held without a score. Vick has always played poorly against the Bears. He is now 0-4 lifetime against the Monsters of the Midway. If teams stay true to their pass rush lanes, Vick is easy to contain. You gotta make him throw the ball teams!
Cutler was 18 of 32 for 208 yards and 2 TD's. He wasn't helped much as he had several drops *looking at you Roy Williams*. It's amazing what Cutler can do when he has time to throw!
Bears offensive gave up zero sacks. I have nothing witty to say here but holy cow! First time of the season and it felt great!
Devin Hester was shut down. Besides 1 catch for 12 yards, he did nothing in the return game despite having a couple opportunities to house one. Before the game Andy Reid said he didn't plan on kicking to him but they did. Late in the game Hester hobbled off the field with an ankle injury.
Bears play the Detroit Lions next Sunday at Soldier Field.