Big Plays Put Birds in Hole
The Philadelphia Daily News - Eagletarian
Big Plays Put Birds in Hole
Les Bowen, Daily News Staff Writer
Updated: The biggest disappointment, as the Eagles stare at a 31-16 hole with 11:51 left, is the defense. Along with Asante Samuel, the entire notion of tackling seems to have stayed in Philadelphia. Really poor, unfocused effort. Run defense terrible, for the first time since early October. Jay Cutler has become the first QB to throw for four touchdowns against the Eagles since Kurt Warner in the NFC Championship game 2 years ago. Before that, it hadn't happened since Jake Plummer in Denver in 2005.
The Eagles got within 14-13 and seemed poised to take their first lead of the day, on second and goal from the Bears' 4, but Michael Vick's pass was tipped by Tommie Harris and intercepted by Chris Harris. It was an especially poor time for Vick's first pick as an Eagle, not that there are a lot of great times for that.
The Eagles' defense seemed to have stiffened nicely after a bad start, but the turnover changed momentum drastically. Now the tackling issues are back front and center, and the Bears have just driven for a touchdown, Jay Cutler hitting Earl Bennett, past Quintin Mikell, from 6 yards out.
You'd have to call that a 14-point swing, and a 21-13 Chicago lead at the half. No way this Chicago offense should get three first-half touchdowns, even with the pick. Huge step backward for the defense so far, without Asante Samuel. Cutler looks like an All-Pro, with 7 completions in 10 attempts for 132 yards, three touchdowns, and a 152.1 passer rating. Again, three of his seven completions are for TDs.
Vick, meanwhile, is 16 for 24 for 165, a TD and a pick, 82.8 passer rating. He has been sacked three times, Cutler four times; o-lines have taken turns looking agtrocious.
The Birds have 13 first downs to the Bears' 8 and have outgained them, 196 yards to 180.
Earlier: The Birds' defense was gouged for a 61-yard run when Stew Bradley missed Matt Forte in the backfield and Forte rambled to the Eagles' 9.
Two plays later, Jay Cutler hit Earl Bennett and the Bears were ahead 7-3.
Next defensive sequence, Cutler caught the Eagles in a blitz and hit Devin Hester on a 39-yard screen, which set up a TD pass to Johnny Knox on which Joselio Hanson, subbing for injured Asante Samuel, seemed to fall down.
But the Eagles came back, going 65 yards on 10 plays, a drive that carried into the second quarter. Michael Vick, not sharp early, hit Jeremy Maclin for eight yards and a TD on third and goal.
The Bears' lead was cut to 14-10.
Now, Brandon Graham has notched his first sack since the SF game Oct. 10, forcing a punt.
Earlier: Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, who let Thursday's practice with an abdominal strain, is active for today's game in Chicago. Dixon didn't practice Friday. Defensive end Juqua Parker, who didn't practice all week, is inactive.
Also inactive are RB/WR Chad Hall, OL Austin Howard, new corner Brandon Hughes, OL Reggie Wells and TE Garrett Mills. Mike Kafka is the third QB. The Eagles announced Saturday that corner Asante Samuel wasn't traveling to Chicago, with a left MCL sprain. Joselio Hanson is scheduled to start in his place.