As things turned out, the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have to put on a show against the Chicago Bears, because they still need to win on the last week of the season. However, sacking Jay Cutler more than anyone has this season while keeping things interesting in the NFC North for one week longer did work out quite well for the rest of the league.
The Bears were blitzed and stunned, losing 54-11 in Philadelphia. A win, with the Lions and Packers losing, would have given them the division title and a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2010. Instead, they allowed their fourth 40-point game this season, something that happened only four times in the previous nine, and were one point shy from giving up a franchise record in points, which belongs to the guys who lost the Lions in 1997, giving up 55 points.
Nick Foles was good, pretty much perfect. . He completed 84% of his passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. His four incompletions? One pass was dropped, and three were thrown away intentionally, becoming the first quarterback since 2008 to attempt at least 20 passes and not have one thrown off-target for an incompletion or defended. Most of the damage was done by the running game. LeSean McCoy gained 133, Bryce Brown had 115, and the Eagles finished with 289 yards on rushing plays, scoring four touchdowns that way as well, including two by McCoy.
McCoy has reached 2012 yards from scrimmage, becoming the third Eagles player to surpass 2000 yards, joining Brian Westbrook and Wilbert Montgomery. The Eagles gained 207 of their rushing yards before contact, an average of 6.3 yards per rush. Only the Rams in Week 12 had higher totals before contact this season.
There was also the defense side to it. Jay Cutler was intercepted once and sacked five times. Devin Hester fumbled the ball an turned it over for the third time in his career, and despite everyone agreeing they came in to this game with a good gameplan, things fell apart quite quickly. When the Bears scored their first points it was only to cut the lead down to 21 points. They allowed three touchdowns in the first quarter, and allowed three more in the fourth. All unanswered.
Where does this leave us? Beyond the impressive numbers, it’s about making the playoffs, something the Eagles have missed these last couple of seasons. Now, all they need to do is beat the Dallas Cowboys, a team with the worst defense in the NFL, but also a team they’ve lost to this season. Winning six of their last seven makes them quite confident about their ability to do a lot better than their 3-17 loss the last time the two teams met.
The Bears? All they need to do now is win. They are 8-7, playing the Green Bay Packers, and it’s down to that game. Considering what we’ve seen from this team under Jay Cutler and in general this season, it’s hard to say there’s a whole lot of confidence within the organization about being able to pull this one off, especially after blowing a few opportunities along the way, none in a more disastrous fashion than the afternoon in Philadelphia.