No Westy, No Win

Donovan McNabb and the Eagles got into the Chicago red zone three times in the second half, but failed to convert any of those chances into touchdowns. (Ron Cortes/Inquirer)

Four cracks at the goalline from the Bears’ 4, three from the 1.
No points.
That was the epitaph on a 24-20 Eagles loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, a game the Eagles should have won, and surely would have won if Brian Westbrook had been able to play.
But Westbrook and his injured ankle were watching from the sideline, and the Eagles didn’t have the offensive weapons to win the game, despite an amazing series of opportunities provided by four Bears turnovers.
On first and goal from the 4, after driving from their 24 in six plays, the Birds got a 3-yard run from Correll Buckhalter. On second down, Tony Hunt seemed to have a hole inside but didn’t go there and lost nearly a yard. On third down, Buckhalter tried to leap the pile, the way Westbrook does so effortlessly, and he came up short.
Fourth down, three minutes and 40 seconds left, instead of a sneak or a roll by Donovan McNabb, the Eagles sent Buckhalter into the middle again, and defensive end Alex Brown got penetration, grabbing Buckhalter by the neck as he leaned into the pile. Not quite there, by an inch or two.
The Bears basically derailed the Eagles’ offense in the second half by shutting down DeSean Jackson, who caught just one pass for 7 yards after catching 4 for 64 and a touchdown in the first half.
Several questionable Andy Reid decisions aside, we learned two disappointing things about the Birds.
1. Without Westbrook, Jackson is THE weapon. This became painfully apparent when the Birds could manage just 6 points off those four Bears turnovers.
2. Jackson really is just a rookie, as McNabb has persisted in trying to tell us since early in training camp.
Jackson fumbled away a punt, leading to a Bears touchdown. Then he broke the wrong way on a pass pattern, leading to a Bears interception. He also let a 67-yard punt bounce out at the Eagles’ 4, and dropped a catchable pass, before disappearing from the offense down the stretch, even as Chicago kept losing cornerbacks to injuries.