Report card: Bears at Eagles
Week 16 Report Card: Bears vs. Eagles
The Bears completely abandoned the run game when the Eagles jumped out to an early lead. Matt Forte finished with only nine carries for 29 yards. Michael Bush had seven rushing attempts for 20 yards in garbage time. This is especially disappointing because Forte had topped 100 rushing yards in each of the last three games leading into Sunday night.
Jay Cutler had a handful of beautiful throws, but overall he connected on just 20-of-35 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown, with one interception that Philadelphia returned for a score. Cutler's quarterback rating was 73.8. In defense of Cutler, the Bears' pass protection was miserable. Cutler got sacked five times and was hit countless others. Forte had a particularly bad night picking up the blitz, an area he had really thrived in for the bulk of the season.
Philadelphia ran for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Both LeSean McCoy (133 yards, two touchdowns) and Bryce Brown (115 yards, one touchdown) had monster nights versus the Bears' 32nd-ranked rushing defense. The Bears haven't been able to stop anybody on the ground for much of the year. That is not expected to change.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was near perfect in the passing game: 21-of-25 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a 131.7 passer-rating. The Bears did sack Foles twice, but on most occasions he had way too much time to stand in the pocket and survey the field. Foles is a master of the check-down. The Bears could never figure out how to stop him.
The Bears had one of the worst special-teams sequences in recent memory in the first quarter when Adam Podlesh had a 25-yard punt on the game's opening drive that gave Philadelphia the ball on the Bears' 43-yard line, and then Devin Hester fumbled a kickoff return. Both times, the Eagles scored a touchdown thanks to the short field the Bears' mistakes provided. Robbie Gould did kick a 50-yard field goal.
Even with the opportunity to win the NFC North outright, the Bears came out flat and looked totally unprepared to deal with whatever the Eagles threw at them on both sides of the ball. When that happens, the coaching staff will shoulder a large chunk of the blame.