Failed fake punt burns Eagles

Eagles punter Chas Henry puts his hands on his helmet after failing a fake punt in the fourth quarter. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles had seen the formation and practiced the play. Only in practice, rookie punter Chas Henry had hit special teams ace Colt Anderson with a pass. Monday night, when it counted, the throw was woefully short, setting up a key Chicago drive that let the Bears increase their lead from three to six.

Instead of kicking and trying to pin the Bears deep, they gave up excellent field position and points that meant Mike Vick needed a touchdown instead of a field goal on his final drive.

Why’d they do it?

The play was one that the team was set to try whenever Chicago left Anderson uncovered. The Eagles had seen the Bears return team do it on tape.

Special teams coordinator Bobby April “saw something on tape that he liked and we knew that we had an opportunity to make a play,” Anderson said.

If the team saw a specific look, they were going for it.

“You guys saw it. (Anderson) was uncovered,” said coach Andy Reid. “We tried to throw him the ball, but obviously it didn’t work. We’ll always try to stay aggressive.”

“We just thought that we could make that play and it didn’t work out,” Anderson said.

Henry said he had to make the pass quickly.

“I just didn’t get a handle over on it and get it over there in time,” he said. “We run it in practice about every day just working on it in case that situation ever happens. We know they had (used that formation) in the past, and (we) just didn’t get it done.”

Henry said the whole team was on the same page once the blocker left Anderson and joined the punt rush.

Of course, his throw was off and the Bears got the ball on their own 42. Eleven plays later they padded their lead and, nearly as importantly, had chewed up 3:58 of fourth quarter clock.

“You’re always concerned a little bit about the fakes, but when you fake it, you have to be sure,” said Bears coach Lovie Smith. “It seemed like they had a couple guys open, but you got to throw and catch.”