Matt Forte fumbled twice, but the rushing attack put on a dominant performance. The Bears ran the ball the majority of their 12-play opening drive that resulted in a Matt Spaeth touchdown from Cutler. Forte rushed for a game high 133 yards, and despite the fumbles, carried the ball eight times in the fourth quarter to melt away the clock. Marion Barber chipped in 31 yards on nine attempts.
Quarterback Jay Cutler started off somewhat slow, but turned it on as the game progressed. Cutler sidestepped the Philadelphia pressure, and delivered accurate passes in the second half. In addition, he finished with a passer rating of 96.9, didn't suffer any sacks and didn't turn the ball over. Nine different receivers caught balls from Cutler with Earl Bennett making five grabs for 95 yards.
The Eagles proved why, coming into the game, they were the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense. LeSean McCoy rushed for 71 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. As a team, the Eagles averaged 5.2 yards per attempt and scored two rushing touchdowns. Several of Philadelphia's big runs came on missed tackles by safeties Wright and Chris Conte. But those issues are easily correctable.
The Bears stuck to their tried-and-true formula for stopping Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick. They prevented the deep completions (just two for 20 yards or more) and forced the quarterback to work the ball down the field with short throws. Vick finished with a passer rating of 60.5, and Bears second-year safety Major Wright made his first NFL interception.
The coverage units put forth a decent showing, and Corey Graham forced a DeSean Jackson fumble that the Bears were able to turn into points. Devin Hester wasn't a factor in the return game, but kicker Robbie Gould booted his seventh career field goal of 50-plus yards (51), and Adam Podlesh put one punt inside the Philadelphia 20, and finished with a 37.3 net average.
The offensive game plan was solid, and Mike Martz wasted no time attacking with Chicago's running game. But offensive line coach Mike Tice definitely deserves credit for helping the Bears shut down Philadelphia's widely publicized Wide-9 look up front. Defensively, Smith and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli came together for another shutdown of Vick, who is now 0-4 as a starter against the Bears.
EXPERTS' PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK 9
- DeFalco (5-2)
- J.D. (5-2)
- Jon (5-2)
- Isaacson (4-3)
- Jurkovic (4-3)
- Silvy (6-1)
- Spain (6-1)
- Harry (6-1)
- Waddle (5-2)
- Wilbon (5-2)
- Woj (5-2)
- Wright (3-4)