The bad vibes started tonight when the Bears took the opening kickoff and drove 79 yards in 12 crisp plays. The Eagles weren’t stopping the run or getting pass rush pressure; Jay Cutler had all day to find little-used target Matt Spaeth from 5 yards out on second and goal. Chicago had the ball for the first 5 minutes and 42 seconds of the game.
The Bears converted their first four third-down situations, but misfired on the fifth, and the Eagles mounted a drive. LeSean McCoy busted loose for an 18-yard inside run on third and 3 against a very tough run defense, for a first down on the Bears’ 19. But on the next play, the “old” Eagles were back with a vengeance. Vick tried to force a pass to DeSean Jackson. Lance Briggs tipped it to Major Wright. The Bears then drove for a 51-yard Robbie Gould Field goal that made it 10-0.
The Eagles then put together a decent drive, rookie Alex Henery squeaking the longest field goal of his NFL career over the crossbar, a 47-yarder.
Then, with the Bears facing third and 10 from their 20 with 1:48 left, the Eagles’ defense did something the bad D of the first month of the season couldn’t do. Bears runner Matt Forte took a screen, and not only did he not get the first down, rookie linebacker Brian Rolle poked the ball out of Forte’s hands, picked it up and ran 22 yards for a touchdown. It was 10-10.
When the D dominated the ensuing Bears possession, the Eagles seemed to have all the momentum again. Then DeSean Jackson tried to field a punt , was sandwiched between Corey Graham and Zackary Bowman, and fumbled the ball away at his 9-yard line.
Incredibly, the Eagles stopped the Bears there, too. But on third and goal from the 4, after a Cutler screen to Forte flew way wide of the mark, Jason Babin was flagged for a late hit on Cutler that gave the Bears first down at the 2. Marion Barber ran it in from there for a 17-10 Chicago lead.
Earlier: It would have been a huge surprise if the Eagles hadn't activated Brandon Graham, after adding him to the 53-man roster over the weekend. Sure enough, Graham is active for the first time in 2011.
Inactive are DEs Juqua Parker and Philip Hunt; Parker is having more trouble with that high ankle sprain he suffered Week 2 in Atlanta.
Also inactive are third quarterback Mike Kafka, a bit of a surprise, and corner Curtis Marsh, safety Jarrad Page, and guard Julian Vandervelde.
LB Akeem Jordan, who suffered a concussion last week, is active, but so is Keenan Clayton, who was inactive last week. Unusual for the Birds to activate 6 linebackers.
Stay tuned for more.