CHICAGO -- For those who believe in worrisome parts of football schedules, and trap games, and the pendulum of emotion that is the result of those forces, the Eagles' game against the Chicago Bears was proof positive. It looked like a bad spot coming into the game and it was: Bears 31, Eagles 26.
Everbody knew the deal. The Eagles had just played three emotional games in succession, including two within the NFC East, and won them all. They are in the middle of an odd stretch: Monday night, Sunday night, Sunday afternoon, then Thursday night upcoming against Houston. This looked like trouble all along. And it was.
For the people who calmed their concerns with this mantra -- "But it's Jay Cutler playing for the Bears" -- it turned out that Cutler played about as well as people around here have seen him play. He did it against an Eagles defense that was missing injured cornerback Asante Samuel, and it really showed. Anybody who can doubt Samuel's value to this defense should be forced to watch a tape of this one on a continuous loop. Without Samuel, both sides of the field were suddenly open for attack, and Cutler did just fine, thanks: 14 for 21 for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was beaten up for the second consecutive week, and there were long stretches where he looked pretty ordinary under the Chicago assault. On a day when very few Eagles people played well, Vick was still good (but no better than that). He missed some throws, he seemed very reluctant to throw the ball at other times, and at least twice, he was chased down from behind by Chicago defense end Julius Peppers on scrambles out of the pocket.