Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wrap-up: Eagles 24, Bears 20
By Dan Graziano
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy fumbled early in the fourth quarter, but he got a chance to atone for it by running for the game-winning touchdown. McCoy fell victim to one of Charles Tillman's three forced fumbles on the evening after a 17-yard run. But the Eagles blocked Robbie Gould's 48-yard field goal attempt and immediately drove for the winning score.
The game ended with Sean Jones intercepting a Jay Cutler pass. Tracy White caused the interception by reading Cutler's eyes and tipping a ball intended for Bears tight end Greg Olsen. It was a huge win for the Eagles (6-4) because it keeps them tied for second place in the NFC East with the Giants, one game behind the Cowboys.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was 23-of-32 for 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. DeSean Jackson had eight catches for 107 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown in the second half. Jackson ran a simple post pattern and used his speed to race past a Bears safety.
With Asante Samuel having to leave the game with a stinger, the Eagles were seriously compromised at cornerback. But the Bears couldn't capitalize. In the fourth quarter, Bears receiver Johnny Knox got behind Sheldon Brown on a fly pattern but Cutler overthrew him.
The Eagles featured a balanced attack on offense with 30 running plays and 32 passes. Given a full week of first-string reps, McCoy had 20 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. He ran through tackles and he also showed good vision. Jackson and rookie Jeremy Maclin both got it rolling in the second half. Last week, the Eagles' offense waited too late to get going. On Sunday night, the offense showed up just in time. There aren't many players who can stay with Jackson and Maclin, so the Eagles need to find ways to get them involved earlier.
The Eagles need to learn from this game. Jackson and McCoy need to secure the ball -- especially against defensive backs such as Tillman, who's known for stripping the ball. I thought the defense did a good job of staying in Cutler's face. Trent Cole had a sack and he also did a nice job of pursuing plays from behind.
I had sort of forgotten about Jeremiah Trotter, but he did a really nice job against the run, ending up with four tackles. He looked a lot more comfortable in this game. Now the Eagles will host the Redskins before playing the Falcons and Giants.
There's a chance the Eagles and Giants could be 8-4 when they see each other in three weeks. The NFC East lead could be on the line. But first, the Eagles have to take care of business against the Redskins. The Cowboys were outplayed by Washington on Sunday but escaped with a 7-6 win.
I thought safety Quintin Mikell and Brown both had courageous performances. Mikell was in one-on-one coverage more than usual because of all the injuries in the secondary and it was obvious that Brown wasn't himself because of a hamstring injury. Fortunately for the Eagles, Cutler missed wide-open receivers on at least three occasions.