Rapid Reaction: Bears 30, Eagles 24
November, 8, 2011
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Bears overcame a furious Philadelphia Eagles third-quarter onslaught and a couple of their own mistakes on the road to carve out a 30-24 victory Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Bears scored an impressive victory, given the circumstances, to boost their record to 5-3.
Let’s take a deeper look:
What it means: If the regular season came to a conclusion today, the Bears would be the second wild-card team behind the Detroit Lions in the NFC. So this impressive victory over the Eagles raises the stakes for Sunday’s game against the Lions at Soldier Field.
The Lions, who are coming off a bye week, lead the Bears in the NFC North standings by one game. So a Bears victory would tie them with the Lions for second place in the division.
Wright nabs first career pick: Major Wright should send linebacker Lance Briggs a thank you card for helping the second-year safety pick off the first pass of his NFL career.
Briggs tipped a Michael Vick pass into Wright’s hands, which resulted in a Bears field goal after the safety’s 36-yard return.
Despite the big play, Wright wasn’t able to stay in the lineup full time. Veteran Brandon Meriweather replaced Wright in the second quarter, but Wright was back at his strong-safety position to start the second half.
Bennett returns: Wildcat quarterback, chain mover. Yes, Earl Bennett resumed his role as Chicago’s Swiss Army knife of offense Monday night after missing nearly six games with a torso injury, and he didn’t disappoint, racking up five catches for 95 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave the team a 27-24 lead.
Bennett caught just two balls in the first half for 40 yards and took one snap as quarterback in the Wildcat formation.
Look for his role to increase as the season continues. Jay Cutler's comfort with the receiver was apparent almost immediately against the Eagles. On Chicago’s first third-down situation, Cutler completed a 14-yard strike to Bennett.
Forte’s first fumble of 2011 a fiasco: Bears running back Matt Forte racked up 79 all-purpose yards in the first half but made a mistake in the second quarter that nearly caused a major momentum swing. After catching a short dump-off from Cutler, the running back looked to make a move on Brian Rolle, who punched the ball loose and scooped up the fumble for a 22-yard touchdown return.
Rolle’s score helped Philadelphia tie the game at 10 with 1:38 left in the first half.
The fumble was Forte’s first of the season, and interestingly the running back hadn’t put the ball on the ground in 347 touches prior to Monday night. Forte’s second fumble led to another Eagles touchdown, but the running back finished the game with a game-high 133 yards rushing.
Gould booms another bomb: Robbie Gould made his second field goal of the season from 50-plus yards when he banged in a 51-yarder in the second quarter to give the Bears a 10-0 lead.
Gould is 7-of-9 from 50-plus yards over the past three years and 7-of-11 from those distances over his career.
What’s next: The Bears take the day off Tuesday before getting back to work Wednesday in preparation for their second meeting with Detroit. The Bears trail the Lions by one game in the NFC North standings and can move into a tie with them for second in the division with a victory.