Entering Monday night's game, it looked like the Eagles would have a big advantage with their defensive line going up against the Bears' offensive line.
But, as the saying goes, that's why they play the game.
Jay Cutler was not sacked for just the second time in 41 games with the Bears.
So, what happened?
A few different things. The Bears' coaching staff recognized the mismatch and adjusted their gameplan accordingly. They rolled Cutler out and moved the pocket to avoid pressure. And they kept extra blockers in to protect him. By my count, Cutler dropped back to pass 33 times. The Bears kept six men in to block nine times; seven men 13 times; and eight men one time. Only on 10 of the 33 dropbacks did they go with just five offensive linemen in protection.
Often times, the Bears would have a running back or tight end to Cole's outside shoulder, and he would try an inside move, which wasn't very effective.
Cutler, meanwhile, deserves credit for making plays. When the Eagles did pressure him, and there were times when they did, he showed good awareness, extended plays and found receivers.
Keeping that in mind, here's the player-by-player breakdown after having re-watched the game:
Jason Babin - An up-and-down game for Babin. As a pass rusher, he didn't have a sack, but did get pressure on a few occasions. Babin got around Matt Forte, who tried to cut him, and hit Cutler, but not before he got a pass off to the fullback for 4 yards. He fought through a double team and got to Cutler on the play where Brian Rolle forced the fumble and scored. He pressured Cutler in the second and forced him to make a bad throw that was nearly intercepted by Nnamdi Asomugha. He pressured Cutler on the play where he fell down and got back up before completing a pass for 8 yards to Marion Barber. And on what could have been a big play had the Eagles’ offense scored, Babin got to Cutler on third down late in the fourth and forced an incompletion. Against the run, he was the only player who really had a shot on Forte’s early 25-yard run, but Babin couldn’t bring him down. He got blocked to the ground by the tight end on Forte’s 17-yard run in the third. And Forte’s 14-yard run in the third went right between Babin and Mike Patterson. The good moments against the run: He got good penetration as Forte was dropped for a 2-yard loss in the first. And Babin brought Forte down for no gain in the first. The biggest play involving Babin was when he got called for roughing the passer in the second quarter on a third down in the red zone. Instead of settling for a field goal, the Bears ended up scoring a touchdown. It looked like he got pushed into Cutler, but the refs didn't see it that way.
Mike Patterson - He was OK, but didn't really have the impact he had in the previous two games. Patterson broke through and got some pressure on Cutler up the middle, but not before he completed a 14-yard pass to Roy Williams on third down. He brought Forte down after a gain of 3 on the strange 3rd-and-14 call in the second. And he dropped Barber for a loss of 1 in the fourth.
Cullen Jenkins - He provided some pressure up the middle, but again, Cutler was able to get away or get rid of the ball in a timely manner. Jenkins forced Cutler out of the pocket as he threw a deep incompletion to Devin Hester in the second. He broke through in the second, but Cutler rolled to his right and threw incomplete on a deep ball. And he got pressure up the middle in the second on an incompletion. Against the run, Jenkins and Patterson brought Forte down after a 3-yard gain in the second.
Trent Cole - I thought Cole was due for a monster game, but the Bears game-planned to contain him, and left tackle J'Marcus Webb did a good job when he was one-on-one with Cole. Cole missed a tackle on a Forte cut-back run that went for 14 yards on the opening drive. And he missed another one on Forte’s 9-yard run in the fourth. He made a nice play to strip Forte in the third on the fumble that Patterson recovered. As a pass-rusher, he got through on a stunt when the Eagles went with five defensive linemen, but Cutler side-stepped him and completed to Johnny Knox for 14 yards and a first down. Cole got some pressure off the edge in the second, but Cutler stepped up and threw incomplete. He got around the edge and nearly got to Cutler on the play where Rolle forced the fumble and scored. And in the fourth, Cole dropped back into coverage on the blitz where Nnamdi Asomugha was called for pass interference.
Brandon Graham - He played about 21 snaps in his return to the lineup and had some good moments, filling in for Babin at left defensive end. Graham fought off a Forte block and got in Cutler’s face on an 8-yard completion in the first. He got around Barber’s cut block and pressured Cutler, but not before he hit Williams for 14 yards on 3rd-and-2 in the fourth. He got around a cut block by Forte and got in Cutler’s face on a fourth-quarter incompletion. Against the run, Graham got blocked upfield on the 17-yard Barber run in the third. On the next play, though, he stopped Barber after a 4-yard gain.
Darryl Tapp - Quiet game for Tapp. He and Jamar Chaney dropped Forte after a gain of 3 in the second, but I didn't notice him too much other than that. Except of course when he was called for unnecessary roughness for hitting Hester late in the fourth, setting up 1st-and-goal for the Bears. Tapp played 21 snaps.
Trevor Laws - Quiet game for Laws also. He and Rolle stopped Forte for no gain in the second. But Barber’s 17-yard run in the third went right between him and Graham. Didn't hear from him as a pass rusher.
Derek Landri - He had a couple nice moments against the run. Landri got good penetration on a Forte run that was stopped for no gain in the second. And he made a great play against the run, dropping Barber for a loss of 2 in the third.
Jamar Chaney - Chaney had his missteps, but overall, was at least very active. Early on, he didn’t come close to making a play on Forte’s 25-yard run. But after that, he had some good moments against the run. Chaney stopped Barber after a 3-yard gain in the first. He helped bring Forte down for no gain. And he and Tapp brought Forte down after a gain of 3 in the second. In coverage, Chaney had trouble keeping up with Forte on a 10-yard completion in the second. I’m really not sure what his role was on the 14-yard completion to Earl Bennettin the first. It was kind of a half-blitz, but Chaney was pretty much stuck in no man’s land at the line of scrimmage. Initially, I thought maybe he was waiting for Forte to release into his route, but it looked like Rolle was on Forte. Later, Chaney was right on Matt Spaeth, but Cutler completed it past him for 8 yards.
Brian Rolle - He had the huge play, stripping Forte and scoring in the first half. There were ups and downs throughout the game though. I couldn’t tell if Role was responsible for Spaeth in the end zone on the first touchdown, but Jon Gruden seemed to think so. Against the run, Rolle and Laws stopped Forte for no gain in the second. He joined Babin, bringing Forte down for no gain. He got into the backfield and helped slow Forte down on a play that picked up 0 yards. And he stopped Forte after a gain of 4 in the second. But Rolle couldn’t get off his block on Forte’s 17-yard run in the third. He got blocked by an offensive lineman on Barber’s 17-yard run. And he got blocked on Forte’s 14-yard run in the fourth.
Moise Fokou - Fokou was on the field much more this week (about 35 snaps). I’m not sure if his responsibility was to keep Forte from getting outside or if he was just blocked out of the play on the 25-yard run. Fokou got blocked by the fullback on Barber’s 5-yard run in the red zone. He helped blow up a Forte run that lost 2 yards in the red zone. And he dropped Kellen Davis for a loss after a short reception in the fourth. Some good plays, some bad plays. Not much different from other weeks with Fokou.
Casey Matthews - He came in for three short-yardage plays.
Akeem Jordan - Same with him.
Asante Samuel - He got beat for the touchdown to Bennett, causing Gruden to announce that he had no idea what Samuel was doing on the play. Jaws agreed. Earlier, Cutler misfired on a throw to Williams, who had Samuel beat. He gave up a 14-yard completion to Knox on 3rd-and-6. Hester had him beat on a deep ball in the second, but Cutler underthrew him. Not a very good game for Samuel. The numbers could have been much worse had Cutler been on-target on a few other throws.
Nnamdi Asomugha - I couldn’t tell what kind of coverage the Eagles were in, but Bennett got behind him for a 26-yard gain on 3rd-and-16 in the second. Asomugha was lined up in the slot on the play. He did a good job playing zone and reading Cutler in the second, but dropped a potential interception. There was confusion on 2nd-and-12 in the fourth as Cutler hit a wide-open Bennett for 22 yards. Can’t say for sure who was at fault, but Gruden suggested it was Asomugha. He was also called for a 17-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-11 in the red zone in the fourth.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - Terrible game for Rodgers-Cromartie. He got beat by Bennett in the slot for 14 yards on 3rd-and-7 on the Bears’ first scoring drive. After the catch, Rodgers-Cromartie just kind of yanked at Bennett’s jersey. He later explained he thought he had batted the ball down, but I doubt the coaches will be pleased with that excuse. His missed tackle on Bennett allowed the Bears to pick up 9 or 10 more yards. He got beat by Bennett on a 28-yard completion on 3rd-and-8 in the third. And he gave up a 14-yard completion to Williams on 3rd-and-2 in the fourth. I wouldn't be surprised if the Eagles went with Joselio Hanson in the nickel next week until they feel more comfortable with Rodgers-Cromartie.
Joselio Hanson - He played about 11 snaps, mostly in dime, but also some in nickel.
Kurt Coleman - It's always tough to evaluate safety play off TV, but I thought Coleman was one of the Eagles' better players on defense Monday night. He got blocked by an offensive lineman on Forte’s 25-yard run, but after that, made some good plays against the run. Coleman brought Forte down after a 3-yard gain in the first. He later tackled Forte after a gain of 6 and then dropped him for a 2-yard loss. Coleman did a good job getting in Cutler’s face on a blitz in the red zone at the end of the first half. And he did a good job of looking back for the ball on the deep ball to Williams in the third. He also stopped Barber after a gain of 3 in the third. Overall, 12 tackles (10 solo).
Jaiquawn Jarrett - With Nate Allen's injury, he got thrown into the mix. It was tough to tell if Williams was his responsibility, but Jarrett was the closest man to him on a 14-yard completion on 3rd-and-7 in the first. He missed a tackle on Forte’s 17-yard run in the third. And he tackled Barber downfield after a 17-yard run. Not much to go by with Jarrett, but he could be taking reps with the ones this week.
Nate Allen - He left the game with a concussion in the first quarter, and Allen's status going forward is uncertain.
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